Clergy, Staff, and Lay Servants

Any time that the doors at Otterbein are open, chances are that you’ll see one or more of these servant leaders.

Pastor Rev. Matthew Garrabrant

What brought you to Otterbein?
I serve the UMC of the East Ohio Conference. As a UM pastor I am appointed to serve the church and community I am appointed by the Bishop. The church is an outpost in the community to provide the good news of Jesus Christ and how Jesus gives hope, joy, love and peace.

How long have you been in the ministry?
The Lord began to call me into ministry in 2004. I said, “Yes” in 2005 and began the work that need to be done and the Lord opened the door of opportunity. My first appointment began in July of 2007.

Tell me about your family.
My family is a growing family. The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful wife who is the mother to our 8 children. The Lord has given us 4 boys and 4 girls.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
I like to be active, outside and working with my hands. I enjoy woodworking, hunting, fishing and coonhounds.

What is your favorite part of your ministry?
The joy of the Lord filling me with the Holy Spirit and that joy filling my cup and running over upon others around me.

What was your first job?
My very first job was doing chores on my parent’s dairy farm as I grew up. My first off the farm job was at the local grocery store and with training I became a meat cutter in the meat department.

What do you feel is the main focus of your ministry?
I feel God has called me to be an encourager, provide the message of hope found in Jesus, be a comfort in time of loss and promote eternal life in Heaven.

What inspires you?
The many blessings, provisions and answered prayers that the Lord has done and continues to do; inspires and motivates me to keep working for the Lord.  Everyday the Lord is so good.

What has God been teaching you lately?
I have had turned to God for direction and insight for parenting my first adult child who is in college. The prayers for your children and trusting God to protect them never end.

What is your favorite scripture?
Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

What are your favorite songs?
“Lord Prepare Me To Be A Sanctuary” is my song of meditation and preparation before preaching on Sunday morning.

Secretary Doris Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Custodian Ken Brown

What brought you to Otterbein?
Came from Grove and have been here ever since.

How long have you been in the ministry?
Since the beginning of time.

Tell me about your family.
My wife is the secretary here at Otterbein. We have 4 kids. One is a paramedic and the others are ministers.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
Camping and bowling.

What was your first job?
Body man in a Ford dealership.

What is your proudest moment?
When my kids decided to be ministers.

What inspires you?
Auto Service.

What has God been teaching you lately?
How to get along with people.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Keeping our church in its best shape.

What is your favorite song?
Amazing Grace

Custodian Dale Lockhart


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Lay Leader Sheryl Seward

What brought you to Otterbein?
My mom and dad were members of Niesz church, one of the 3 churches that combined to form Otterbein.  I was part of the first Youth Fellowship and I remember making many new friends and having good times in the early years of “The Church on the Hill.”  I was away at college for the first few years, but after college I was married at Otterbein in July of 1968.

How long have you been a servant leader?
I was involved in the education department of Otterbein (teaching Sunday School — first 5th grade and then high school) for many years. I have also been involved in VBS almost every year since I moved back after college. The last several years I have been a teacher for 3-4 year olds, and it has been a delight! I love seeing the world through their eyes and introducing them to the Bible characters. I also love singing in the Contemporary choir. I am a member of the United Methodist Women.

Tell me about your family.
Although I am single now and live alone, I have 3 adult children. I recently moved from an 82 acre farm to a home in the village of Navarre. It is an adjustment, but I am enjoying having less to take care of. My oldest son, Jody, is married to Jamie and they have 3 girls (Abby- 13, Julia- 12, and Laura- 10) They will be moving to the farm where they have a herd of sheep. My second son, Jeff, works at the Beach City waste water treatment plant. He has 3 children (Courtney-23, a daycare teacher, Brooke-19, who works at Brewster Park, and Marty, 18 who is a senior in the construction trades class at R. G. Drage. My daughter, Julie, is married to John Roberts, an engineer with ODOT. They have 5 children and another on the way in April (Charles- 12, Clare-9, Benedict- 6, Anthony- 4, and Jude- 2) I love having the grandchildren visit.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
In addition to spending time with my grandchildren, I love reading, gardening, and golfing. I also enjoy the women’s Bible studies at Otterbein.

What is your favorite quote?
A favorite quote of mine is:  “Enjoy the little things in life for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”  I don’t know who said it, but I think it is true.  Another one I had up on a poster in my classroom was: “Attitude is the mind’s paint brush; it can color any situation.” You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can always change your attitude, and that makes all the difference.

What is your favorite scripture?
A favorite scripture I try to live by is Philippians 4:4-7.  “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  A pretty good model for living!

What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moments were seeing my children graduate from college.  Now I enjoy watching the grandkids in their many sporting activities:  swimming, soccer, softball, and basketball.

What was your childhood ambition?
As  a child, I used to make my 2  sisters and the neighbor girls play school with me.  More often than not, I was the teacher.  I can not remember ever wanting to be anything other than a teacher.  When I went to OSU, I pursued a degree in education.  I taught French and language arts for 31 years.  There were also some years in there when I was a learning disability tutor.

Church Council Chair Jody Seward

How long have you been at Otterbein?
I’ve been at Otterbein pretty much since birth (1972 for those who prize accuracy).

What brought you here in the first place?
My family brought me here originally.

Tell me about your family.
I’ve been married to Jamie since 2003 and we have three daughters—Abigail, Julia and Laura.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
I love watching my girls compete in sports, singing, playing the organ or piano, and taking care of and showing my Montadale sheep.

What was your first job?
My first job was baling hay on our farm growing up.

What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was when each of my girls was born.

What was your childhood ambition?
My childhood ambition was to become a veterinarian, get married and raise a family.

What inspires you?
Music inspires me, especially classical and sacred music.

What has God been teaching you lately?
God is constantly teaching me patience and reminding me to rely on him and not on my own strength.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Smarties candy

What do you like most about serving?
Directing the chancel choir and playing the organ are a joy. I can offer the gift of music back to God. Chairing church council allows me to facilitate new and existing ministries, which is exciting.

Finance Chair John Feucht

What brought you to Otterbein?
Was married here.

How long have you been in the ministry?
15 years

Tell me about your family.
Twin daughters Katie & Kendra.
Graduated from high school with my wife, Michelle.
Michelle is a nurse and I am a pharmacist.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
Hunt and going to the beach.

What is your favorite quote?
“Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

What was your first job?
Bus boy and dish washer.

What is your proudest moment?
The day my daughters were born.

What was your childhood ambition?
Always wanted to be a fireman.

What inspires you?
God, to be the best.

What has God been teaching you lately?
How to be patient and deal with people in the age of adversity.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Being able to see money used for the mission in the church.

What is your favorite scripture reading/song?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)

Staff Parish Relations Chair Terry Selby

What brought you to Otterbein?
We had moved into Perry Twp. and I was driving through the area and saw the church on the hill. I told Tammy about it and we started attending.

How long have you been in the ministry?
We’ve been members for about 30 years and active in the administrative area for 20.

Tell me about your family.
Tammy and I are approaching our 40th wedding anniversary and we have two grown children, a son and daughter-in-law, Joshua and Cassie and daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Steve.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
Camping and I sing a bit.

What is your favorite quote?
“And this too shall pass.” Nothing in this world is permanent. Regardless of what you’re going through now, good or bad, the situation is bound to change.

What was your first job?
Well, I was raised on a farm so there’s that. My first real job was working at the Mapleton Auction Barn helping move the consignments for the auctioneer and customers. I was 13 or 14.

What is your proudest moment?
There are several of which I am equally proud. My marriage, the birth of my children, the marriages of my children and the celebration of my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.

What was your childhood ambition?
Law school. Didn’t get there (yet).

What inspires you?
People who go out of their way to be helpful to others with no expectation of reward.

What has God been teaching you lately?
Stop worrying, He’s got this.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Blueberry muffins, or actually, anything with blueberries.

What is your favorite part of your day job?
As an architectural draftsman, I get to draw the plans for a person’s dream home.

Music Committee Chair Jody Seward

How long have you been at Otterbein?
I’ve been at Otterbein pretty much since birth (1972 for those who prize accuracy).

What brought you here in the first place?
My family brought me here originally.

Tell me about your family.
I’ve been married to Jamie since 2003 and we have three daughters—Abigail, Julia and Laura.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
I love watching my girls compete in sports, singing, playing the organ or piano, and taking care of and showing my Montadale sheep.

What was your first job?
My first job was baling hay on our farm growing up.

What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was when each of my girls was born.

What was your childhood ambition?
My childhood ambition was to become a veterinarian, get married and raise a family.

What inspires you?
Music inspires me, especially classical and sacred music.

What has God been teaching you lately?
God is constantly teaching me patience and reminding me to rely on him and not on my own strength.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Smarties candy

What do you like most about serving?
Directing the chancel choir and playing the organ are a joy. I can offer the gift of music back to God. Chairing church council allows me to facilitate new and existing ministries, which is exciting.

United Methodist Women President Bonnie Steenrod

What brought you to Otterbein?
My husband David brought me here.

How long have you been in the ministry?
I’ve been a member for 43 years and United Methodist Women’s President for 25 years.

What is your favorite memory of Otterbein?
My favorite memories here at the church are the Christmas Eve Service and the Easter Egg hunt.

What is your favorite thing about Otterbein?
My favorite thing here at church is the people. They are caring and compassionate.

Trustee Chair John Medley


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A/V Technician Michael Medley


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nurture Outreach Witness Co-Chair Jennifer Huddleston

How long have you been at Otterbein?
I have always attended Otterbein, as my family were members when I was born. Therefore, I grew up attending Otterbein.

What brought you here in the first place?
My mom and dad as an infant.

Tell me about your family.
I am single but have many friends. Along with my mom, I have 2 siblings with their spouses. I also have 2 nephews, 3 nieces along with 2 great nephews and a great niece.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
I like to knit, bake and cook. I also do traditional rug hooking, enjoy dying material to use in my rugs, and do silk painting. I love to learn new things and try them.

What is your favorite quote?
I have two of them. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” and “There are no free lunches, look to where or who is giving and what is there reason.”

What was your first job?
Working for a craft store in Massillon (they are out of business now).

What is your proudest moment?
Receiving my medical coding credential and buying my home all by myself.

What was your childhood ambition?
To travel the world and learn the culture.

What inspires you?
Seeing individuals doing what they love and enjoying it. Also teaching someone a new skill or hobby and seeing the moment they realize they got it and see them smile with delight.

What has God been teaching you lately?
Patience and persistence. Learning to wait is hard for me. Learning that what I want is not always the right path. I am constantly reminding myself that if it is what God wants then it will come to be.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Key Lime pie with unsweetened ice tea while relaxing on a beach or near a lake.

What do you like most about serving?
Seeing and helping Otterbein grow and change in a positive ways. I also enjoy seeing people “light up” when asked to help or do a project, small or large, that no one has asked before to help and see the joy it brings to them. Serving is about people and doing for others and seeing the joy it can bring.

Nurture Outreach Witness Co-Chair Dasha Medley

How long have you been at Otterbein?
I started coming to Otterbein in ’98 or ’99.

What brought you here in the first place?
Michael Medley brought me here.

Tell me about your family.
I share my home with husband, 2 boys and several animals.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
I like to read, be outside in nature, and spending time with cats and dogs.

What is your favorite quote?
“Your not a teacher until you practice what you preach.”

What was your first job?
My first job was a short stint as a hostess at a local restaurant. Then I started as a kennel assistant in a vet clinic while working of obtaining my education.

What is your proudest moment?
I have several through my life so far; graduation, both high school and college, passing my state licensing exam to become a Registered Veterinary Technician, obtaining a 5th year pipestone with Boy Scouts and earning my wood badge beads as well. Also becoming a parent twice and the many animal lives that I have saved or helped save over the years working in a clinic.

What was your childhood ambition?
Being able to help animals.

What inspires you?
Watching those that are lost in their faith slowly regain it and come back to Christ.

What has God been teaching you lately?
To be patient and humble. You never know what someone else is going through an maybe they just need a smiling face or a word of encouragement to help them through.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching a dark and twisted movie or TV series.

What do you like most about serving?
Its not about “liking” to serve, its about being willing to serve as Christ did for us. Put others first before yourself and its not that hard to do.

Financial Secretary Judy Medley

What brought you to Otterbein?
Neighbors

How long have you been in the ministry?
Ever since I’ve been at Otterbein (since 1974)

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
Family activities, knitting and scrap booking.

What was your first job?
Timken Mercy, working in the pharmacy.

What is your proudest moment?
When my children were born.

What inspires you?
Family

What has God been teaching you lately?
To love one another.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Helping people.

3-6 Grade Teacher Bill Lenart 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Toddler Teacher Connie Forney

What brought you to Otterbein?
The friendly people.

How long have you been in the ministry?
Started working in 1999.

Tell me about your family.
I have wonderful, loving family.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
Camping, boating, spending time with family.

What is your favorite quote?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

What is your proudest moment?
Kids being born, grand-kids being born.

What inspires you?
When the kids repeat the things that they learned in class or when the kids grow in their faith.

What has God been teaching you lately?
Be kind to others and show kindness when they don’t.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Being with the kids.

What is your favorite song?
Jesus loves me.

K-2 Teacher Tara Maclean

What brought you to Otterbein?
My Dad and family.

How long have you been in the ministry?
Since I was 12 years old helping my dad.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
Sports and movies.

What is your favorite quote?
“You only live once, so do it right.”

What is your proudest moment?
When I became a mom.

What inspires you?
My dad inspired me to be a better person and to be like God.

What has God been teaching you lately?
When you believe in faith, not all good things happen, but faith gets you through it.

What is your favorite part of your job?
The kids make me feel young again.

What is your favorite scripture or song?
Footprints in the sand, Jesus helps you through everything.

Preschool Teacher Missy Trompower


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

High School Teacher Jody Seward

How long have you been at Otterbein?
I’ve been at Otterbein pretty much since birth (1972 for those who prize accuracy).

What brought you here in the first place?
My family brought me here originally.

Tell me about your family.
I’ve been married to Jamie since 2003 and we have three daughters—Abigail, Julia and Laura.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
I love watching my girls compete in sports, singing, playing the organ or piano, and taking care of and showing my Montadale sheep.

What was your first job?
My first job was baling hay on our farm growing up.

What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was when each of my girls was born.

What was your childhood ambition?
My childhood ambition was to become a veterinarian, get married and raise a family.

What inspires you?
Music inspires me, especially classical and sacred music.

What has God been teaching you lately?
God is constantly teaching me patience and reminding me to rely on him and not on my own strength.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Smarties candy

What do you like most about serving?
Directing the chancel choir and playing the organ are a joy. I can offer the gift of music back to God. Chairing church council allows me to facilitate new and existing ministries, which is exciting.

Ages and Stages Facilitator Doris Brown 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FaithKeepers Facilitator Greg Miller 

What brought you to Otterbein?
Not “what”,  but “who”: Mom (Jacque). The church had recently opened and it was lots closer than Westbrook Park, so here we are! I started here in 1965, left for a few years for college and returned with a lovely wife and a couple kids in 1983.

How long have you been in the ministry?
I started teaching Sunday School in the late 70’s while at Groesbeck UMC in Cincinnati, so it looks like about 40 years.

Tell me about your family.
I married my high school sweetheart, the gorgeous Miss Vicky Nicewander, in 1975. Our kids Kelly, Keith, Kyle, and Kris are all grown with kids of their own. Sure, we have our family foibles, but we dearly love our kids, their sig-oths and grandkids.

What are your hobbies/recreational interests?
Adult Christian Education; Amateur Radio; Camping; Stringed Instruments You Might Find in a Bluegrass Ensemble; Diesel Mechanics

What is your favorite quote?
“Take things always by their smooth handle”, Thomas Jefferson. I found this to be particularly true about soldering irons.

What was your first job?
Marketing and sales: I sold marbles to my classmates at Lohr. I bought them in bulk at W. T. Grant and sold them for a penny (300% markup).

What is your proudest moment?
Welcoming our kids into the world in the maternity ward.

What was your childhood ambition?
From about sixth grade, I knew that I wanted to be an “electronical engineer”.

What inspires you?
Hearing someone’s interest in and passion for a subject that I’m also passionate about.

What has God been teaching you lately?
That God *always* has something up His sleeve that is very likely going to wow my socks off.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Reaching 100 Q’s/hr in a CW contest. If you have no idea what that means, then let’s go with chips, dip, and Mountain Dew.

What is your favorite part of your job?
I’m here to serve Jesus, my wife, my small group (FaithKeepers), my pastor, my church, and my community. I love every chance to do that.