Meet the members:
Derek Baum: Clergy, serving as lead pastor at First United Methodist Church in Aberdeen, South Dakota. When I was asked to be a part of the Dakotas Strategy Team, I saw it as an opportunity to work with other pastors and laity who may interpret the scriptures different than I. Even in the midst of those differences, we could show that you can disagree and still love one another. I firmly believe that every local church will have a place to belong, no matter the route they choose as a local congregation. My passion is to help local churches navigate through this difficult season and that even though we may go our separate ways, we can do so in a respectful and amicable way.
Tom Dravland: Laity at First United Methodist Church, Pierre, South Dakota. I am also laity serving as part of a four-person clergy team for the Lyman County United Methodist Parish in Presho, Kennebec, and Reliance, South Dakota. In Pierre, I lead a weekly bible study. In Lyman County UMC Parish, I lead worship at least once a month and a weekly bible study. I serve the Dakotas Conference as a member of the Strategy Team and a lay member of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and the Board of Ordained Ministry Conference Relations Team. After much prayerful consideration I accepted the offer to be a member of the Conference Strategy Team. It has been and continues to be my prayer that God will surround all United Methodists world-wide with a full measure of hope and faith which leads us to a just resolution of the issues our denomination faces at the next General Conference. Until that time, it is my hope the work of the Strategy Team will be a source of knowledge, information and education for the members of the body of Christ in the local churches of the Dakotas Conference. May His will be done!
Bishop Laurie Haller: United Methodist bishop, musician, author, and endurance athlete shares about her life, call to ministry, and how she keeps her spirit in shape. Elected as a bishop in 2016, she serves as the interim bishop for the Dakotas Conference and the resident bishop the Iowa Area of The United Methodist Church. Prior to her election, Bishop Laurie served in the Michigan area since 1982. She was serving as senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Birmingham in the Detroit Annual Conference when she was elected to the Episcopacy. Bishop Laure is committed to the work of the Dakotas Conference Strategy Team. Her wish is that the team will bring the trust, action and community of practicing faith as a life-long journey and press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus to all.
Peggy Hanson: Clergy serving at Trinity United Methodist Church in Lead, South Dakota. I serve on the Conference Council of Youth Ministry (CCYM) and a member of the Southwest District Committee on Ordained Ministry. I serve on the Dakotas Strategy Team because I believe it is important to have these difficult conversations and to help navigate and explore the possibilities of how the Methodist Connection can exist as we look toward the future, so that all may experience the love of God, the power of the Spirt, and the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Jane Hincks: Laity from Legacy South in Bismarck, North Dakota. I am a volunteer leader for prayer team, greeter, participant in small group, discipleship, Shoes of Hope, serve meals at Celebrate Grace Recovery, lead circle and life groups, I deliver the message during worship and help with anything else that I can for local church. As the Dakotas Conference Co-Lay Leader, I serve on the Extended Cabinet, Strategy Team, facilitate Breakthrough Prayer Workshops and Discernment Retreats for discovering your spiritual gifts. I am a delegate to Annual Conference and the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. I also serve on the Northwest District Board of Ordained Ministry Committee, Sessions Committee, and lead lay meetings for the Dakotas conference. I serve on the Dakotas Strategy Team because I am called to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to encourage, love and spread the good news of the gospel to all those God has put in my path with all glory to God!
Jennifer Larsen: Laity, from First United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In the local church, I serve on church council, staff parish, bequest committee. In the Dakotas Conference, I serve as the chair for the Dakotas Committee on Episcopacy and am a member of the Dakotas Strategy Team. I serve on the Dakotas Strategy Team because I believe that all of us are focused on the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, and we all will be more likely to fulfill our mission if we show grace and respect in any denominational split to those who believe differently than us and if we share resources so that all are more effective
Kris Mutzenberger: Clergy serving as the Northeast District Superintendent. I serve as the Dakotas Conference Cabinet secretary, cabinet liaison to the Board of Ordained Ministry, and a member of the Camping and Retreat Council. My favorite conference activity however is serving as a dean for Middle School camp at Wesley Acres. I believe The Dakotas Strategy Team is doing critical preparatory work as we move toward a separation within the United Methodist Church. I believe having these discussions about what we can share, how to help churches navigate decisions ahead and providing as much information we can as it becomes available are key the helping every church and pastor find their place post-separation.
Tiffany Ortman: Licensed local pastor serving as chaplain at Good Samaritan Luther Manor and Sanford Medical Center, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I am also a lay member at United Church of Canistota, South Dakota. I find myself occasionally volunteering with the youth program at First UMC in Sioux Falls. I am serving on the strategy team to help pave the way for expressions of Methodism that remain connectional and compassionate while making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Nancy Oviatt: Laity from First United Methodist Church in Watertown, South Dakota. I serve as the Conference Chancellor, and also share in the music ministry of the bell choir and have served as part of the leadership team at my local church. I serve on the Dakotas Strategy Team to help discern new possibilities for empowering churches with common heritage and missional purposes to share services and ministry opportunities, enabling them to better serve their communities and fulfill their mission to create disciples of Jesus Christ
Jeff Pospisil: Laity from Mitchell Wesleyan and the United Methodist Church in Harrisburg, South Dakota. I am the Dakotas Conference Treasurer. I serve on the Dakotas Strategy Team because for the last 13 years, I’ve been serving our churches. Over that time, I’ve seen our Conference transform into one of the most successful in the United States, and I have the graphs to prove it. It’s an honor play a part in this next transformation as well.
Ross Reinhiller: Clergy serving at Faith United Methodist Church in Williston, ND. I serve on the Dakotas Strategy Team at the pleasure of the bishop as pastor endeavoring to hold personal and social holiness in balance.
Al Roll: Laity from Legacy United Methodist Church in Bismarck, North Dakota. I have served as Operations Director at Legacy. I currently serve as a member of the Dakotas Conference staff, Board of Pensions, and Bishop's Committee on Episcopacy. I serve on the Strategy Team to assist in the transition for pastors, churches, church members, and the Conference Office relating to the outcome of General Conference and the impacts that will have on the Dakotas Annual Conference. To facilitate a peaceful, loving, and healthy transition process regardless of General Conference results.
Rebecca Trefz: Clergy serving as the Southeast District Superintendent and Director of Ministries for the Dakotas Conference. I serve on the Dakotas Strategy Team because I have seen God do powerful things in and through our churches and leaders in the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church across the theological spectrum. I believe the Gospel is still needed and relevant in every corner of our Conference and I want to do whatever I can to support that continuing through the people called Methodists in the Dakotas.
Brandon Vetter: Clergy, serving as lead pastor of Legacy United Methodist Church in Bismarck, North Dakota. I also serve as the vice chair of Board of Ordained Ministry. I serve on the Dakotas Strategy Team because I want to see more people come to know Jesus through the vibrant and passionate work of the Methodists in the Dakotas.
Barry Whipkey: Clergy, serving as lead pastor at First United Methodist Church in Rapid City, South Dakota. I serve as the chairperson of the Human Resources Committee for the Dakotas Conference, and on the Southwest District Board of Ordained Committee. I serve on the Dakotas Strategy team at the invitation of Bishop Ough. I did not seek this opportunity, I believe, as clergy, when selected by the Bishop we must prayerfully do our best to fulfill this commitment in a way that will be helpful and honoring to all who are called to serve.