The Second University Church Network Gathering

      Huskies and Hurricanes and Terrapins and Cowboys and Pioneers and Shockers and Ichabods and Red Hawks and Cougars and Cardinals and Coyotes and Rams, oh my!  The University Church Network I started last year is still meeting a need, and once again, people from all over the country (from Seattle to Charleston) will be discussing what it means to be in ministry in our particular kind of context.  We’ll be meeting in conjunction with the United Methodist Campus Ministers’ Association too, so we’ll have some great opportunities to have conversations about the relationships between student ministries and University churches as well.  (Our own Wesley associate director, Ron Gentry) is making the trip to that meeting.  Thanks to the registration fees from that first gathering at our own church, and generous contributions from our members to support the University Church Network, my way to attend in Denver is paid!  Seeing this network come to fruition and continue to thrive has truly been one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever developed.  This year, ministers serving churches located on or adjacent to the campuses (listed in order of the mascots above) of the Universities of Missouri, Washington, Tulsa, Maryland, Wyoming, Denver, Wichita State, Washburn University in Topeka, KS, Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, TN, College of Charleston, Otterbein University, Kansas Wesleyan University, and Colorado State will all be participating in the second gathering of the University Church Network at University Park UMC in Denver, July 17-19. The following 24 pastors and ministers (we have grown from 16 participants last October) will be sharing ideas about ministry in the college or university context, especially in relation to Parker Palmer’s vision of “holding tension gently, as we utilize the “Healing the Hart of Democracy” action circles format suggested by our host pastor.  (Those listed in italics are new attendees) 


Paul Kottke, Senior Pastor, Denver, CO (hosting pastor)-University Park UMC

Jeff Rainwater, Senior Pastor, Laramie, WY-First UMC

Nathan Mattox, Senior Pastor, Tulsa, OK-University UMC

Perry Williams-Senior Pastor, College Park, MD-University UMC

Charles Claycomb, Senior Pastor, Wichita, KS-University UMC

Betsey Heavner, GBOD Staff, Nashville

Deb Smith, GBOD Staff, Nashville

Michael McCord, GBHEM Staff, Nashville


Steve Felt, Lay Member – Head of Community Organizing Initiative, University Park UMC, Denver

Anne Mundt, The Evanston Center Program Director,     University Park UMC, Denver

Richard Lang, Senior Pastor, Seattle, WA-University Temple UMC

Cathie Kelsey, Faculty – Illiff, Dean of Chapel, University Park UMC

Amy Gearhart, Senior Pastor- Columbia, MO-Missouri UMC

Brandon Bass- Associate Pastor-Pulaski, TN-First UMC

Dianne Bass – Admin. Asst. at Center for Church Leadership, Martin Methodist College, Pulaski, TN-First       UMC

Debby Lawrence, Congregational Care Pastor, University Park UMC, Denver

Bev Pancoast, Director of Next Generation Ministry, Church of      the Master UMC, Westerville, OH

Daniel Flessas – Senior Pastor–Charleston, SC-Trinity UMC

Carolyn Trimble –Lay Leader– Topeka, KS-University UMC

Karen Myers, Finance Co-Chair – Topeka, KS-University UMC

Kevin Mabry, Director of Student Interns, First UMC, Fort Collins, CO

Mike Rose, Senior Pastor, University UMC, Salina, KS

Victoria Richards, Church of the Master UMC, Westerville, OH

Amy Petre-Hill, Seminary Intern from Iliff School of Theology, University Park UMC, Denver. 


    That is every jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church represented!  Through this network, I hope to continue creating colleagues who are serving churches much like ours so that I can glean ideas for best practices and innovative ministry here at University UMC.  Thanks for all your support in this endeavor, church!