Pastor Don Archer
In the mid to late 1970’s I began to sense what I believe was God’s call to serve as a pastor. This was a calling that I struggled with for a long period of time. I began Local Pastor’s school in 1978. My first appointment was in June 1978 in the West Virginia Annual Conference. I was ordained as a Deacon in 1984 and as an Elder in 1986. There are still times when I have to stop and ask: “God, am I doing what you want? Am I the right person?” I try to trust in God’s grace and not my abilities or strength.
I began my spiritual life in the American Baptist Church. Later, when my family moved to a new community, we began attending a small, rural, United Methodist Church that was part of a three-point charge. The nurture, encouragement, and trust that I received from that” small congregation helped me to hear and clarify my calling. I cannot point to a specific moment and say: “That’s when I was saved/converted.” I still consider myself a disciple, a student, a learner. There are times when I am more open to following Jesus than others. The sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism serve to remind me that we are completely dependent upon God’s grace. My favorite part of ministry is watching God’s grace unfold in the lives of others.
In my spare time I enjoy riding motorcycles with friends, walking with our dog, Pepper, seeking the wisdom and counsel of our cats: Socks and Ali.
My favorite quote (one that summarizes my theology) is from a Lutheran pastor, Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt (1842–1919):
Rev. Don Archer graduated from Glenville State College in 1980 and completed his M.Div in 1984 at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. He has been serving the congregation of Christ Church since 2006.
Pastor Cheryl Arnold
I was licensed as a local pastor at Christ UMC in 2014. I am receiving my theological training through the required Course of Study program—a 20 course curriculum taken at United Methodist seminaries. Currently, I have 7 classes down and 13 to go.
I grew up a life-long Methodist near Wadsworth, Ohio. I majored in Psychology at Westminster College (New Wilmington, Pennsylvania) and spent the best two summers of my life with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (Rocky Mountain in Colorado and Acadia in Maine). During graduate school at the University of Georgia, I felt God was calling me to teach. Hendrix College in Arkansas hired me in 1991; I taught Psychology and Animal Behavior courses and involved students in my research on golden hamsters and elephants. In 1998, my spouse Bob Westbrook and I moved to Marietta. I served as adjunct faculty in Psychology at Marietta College for the next 10 years.
Christ Church hired me in 1999 to begin our Christ Cares ministry and over the years, more responsibilities were added to my position. This is when I sensed that my call was changing. I entered Wesley Theological Seminary’s Equipping Lay Ministry program in 2006 and believed my position at Christ Church as Lay Ministries Coordinator was right where God wanted me to be. Around 2011, I started feeling like God was calling me to something different—and I was terrified it might be pastoral ministry.
I eventually talked with Pastor Don, who explained the local pastor option and assured me that I could drop out at any time. But the further I went in the pre-licensing process, the clearer God’s call became. By God’s grace, my 27 years in Psychology opened my eyes to discrimination, violence, and mental illness…and throughout my various roles in ministry, the Holy Spirit has increasingly opened my heart to those society overlooks. Clearly, God used my past to prepare me to preach mercy, forgiveness and love.
Following Jesus’ example, I’ve learned to take Sabbath in order to listen to and stay connected with God. I usually do this on Mondays. In my free time I enjoy fishing whether I catch anything or not, gardening even when I kill the plants, snuggling with and singing to my cats, and tending my worm farm in the basement.
Degrees/Certifications: 1985 B.A. Westminster College; 1987 M.S. University of Georgia; 1991 Ph.D. University of Georgia; 2009 Lay Ministry Certification, Wesley Theological Seminary