The North Carolina Conference has many certified lay speakers who are ready to step in for a pastor who needs to be away from the pulpit. These speakers have all completed significant training, including six advanced Lay Servant Ministries courses (learn more).
Pastors interested in requesting a certified lay speaker to fill their pulpit should contact their district director of Lay Servant Ministries, who can help match the certified lay speaker who is best suited to meet the given need.
Beacon District Lay Speaker Bios
Please contact district director Tom Santa (email@example.com) if you would like to request a Beacon district certified lay speaker for your church.
Stephanie Beasley is a certified lay speaker from Colington UMC. She loves studying and sharing God’s Word. She is married to Terry and they have one son. She is a retired Dare County school nurse.
Donald Cooper and Susan Cooper are lay speakers based at Wesley Memorial UMC in Columbia. They share that they started out as lay servants just to fill in and help out, and it has grown to where they now fill pulpits across the district.
Ginny Crocker is a lay speaker and certified lay minister who preaches at the Gates County Church Cooperative. She is a lay speaker/CLM because of her passion for serving the Lord by helping others understand the scriptures and grow in faith. Ginny is the co-director of Lay Servant Ministries and serves on the District Committee on Ministries.
Jo Drago is a certified lay minister and lay speaker from Moyock UMC. She is passionate about becoming a light for Christ and helping others grow in relationship with God and fellowship with one another. Professionally, she is retired from the City of Norfolk as an information technology supervisor. She led a choir at Moyock UMC for 3.5 years. She leads two Bible studies. Jo now serves Moyock UMC as a Shepherd Coordinator to her pastor for doing hospital visits and keeping track of the congregation.
David Jenkins is a certified lay speaker currently serving as lay pastor of Robersonville UMC. David is a semi retired educator with 40 years of experience and enjoys meeting new people and speaking at churches to share the Good News.
Rhonda Morris received certification as a lay speaker in 2015. She has been exploring the depths of Christ’s teachings, drawing on the many layers to be uncovered through original languages and ancient mystics, since she was twelve years old. She has been a member of Pilmoor United Methodist Church in Currituck County, where the first Methodist sermon in NC was preached, for all of her life.
Jeanne Murray is a certified lay speaker and certified lay minister. Jeanne serves at Sharon UMC in Poplar Branch in a number of capacities, including lay leader, small group leader, and UWF President. In addition, she serves as the Beacon district UWF secretary and UWF conference book club facilitator. Jeanne’s passion for supplying the needs of those around her spurs her desire to be a lifelong learner and a spiritual seeker.
Marjorie Rayburn is a life-long Methodist who enjoys teaching Bible studies and organizing a summer campground service. She enjoys preaching and sharing God’s word with others and is committed to share her faith through word and action. She is retired from the NC Cooperative Extension Service as an agricultural agent, working with farmers. She is married, has 4 children, 7 grandchildren, and 2 dogs.
Tom Santa is a certified lay minister and lay speaker from Moyock UMC. He is passionate about becoming a better disciple and helping others to grow in relationship with God and with one another. He is the husband of Michelle, who introduced him to the Methodist church, and father of Mary Elysse and Lauren. Tom retired from the Navy after 22 years as an active-duty Nurse Corps officer and now serves as a full-time family and acute care nurse practitioner.
Capital District Lay Speaker Bios
Please contact district directors Janet Groberski (firstname.lastname@example.org) or James Bernstein (email@example.com) if you would like to request a Capital district certified lay speaker for your church.
James Bernstein served a UMC in Raleigh in many roles including short-term mission team leader, youth Sunday school teacher, kitchen volunteer, and liturgist. His membership currently is in the North Carolina Conference Collective and he attends Soapstone UMC. James became a certified lay speaker in 2017 and has spoken at a number of churches in the district, a retirement community (3rd and 5th Sundays) and other gatherings. His messages typically speak to the practical Christian life or use the lectionary. He works in the pharmaceutical industry and enjoys the outdoors.
Janet Groberski has been a lay leader and lay servant at Westwood United Methodist Church in Goldsboro, NC, since 2014 and a certified lay speaker since 2020. She has taught an adult Sunday school class for 10 years and is a member of the choir. Before moving to Goldsboro, she served in the Air Force for 30 years.
Latercha McKnight became a certified lay speaker in 2018. She is a mother, a widow, and a pharmaceutical consultant. As she transition from married to widowed, she felt that God was calling her to do more. Her pastor introduced her lay servant classes, and it progressed into being a certified lay speaker. Latercha has a passion to share God with others and to tell about the things that God has done in her life.
Catherine “Cathy” White has been serving in the Goldsboro/Capital district area since before she became a certified lay speaker in 2018. She has been a school counselor in Wayne County since 1996. She has a passionate relationship with Christ and his people where ever she serves: at work, church, and in her community. Cathy currently attends Princeton United Methodist Church in Princeton, NC, where she will serve as a teacher, leader, and a vessel for the spreading of God’s promises in scripture.
Corridor District Lay Speaker Bios
Vicki Ambrose is a certified lay speaker who has had the honor of filling that role since May 2021. She is led to share her personal experience best exemplified in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I AM God.” This is through both personal testimony and the use of scriptures, children’s stories, and devotional sources to illustrate God’s presence in our lives. Vicki currently attends Davis Street UMC in Burlington, NC, where she leads the worship planning team and provides music support.
Allen Burden is a certified lay speaker and certified lay minister whose home church is New Bethel UMC in Rougemont. Allen is retired from the General Electric Company where he specialized in servicing and installing Radiology Imaging Systems. Allen was called to spread the word of the Lord and enjoys serving rural churches. Allen is married to his wife Donna and has two children and one grandchild.
Wayne Dewberry is a certified lay speaker and certified lay minister. He is currently the Lay Leader at Haw River UMC and he is a member of all the committees at HRUMC, including the trustees. He is a past district director of Lay Servant Ministries for the Corridor district. He is happy to answer emergency calls for a speaker when he is not already engaged.
Sandy Quinn is a certified lay speaker who loves to share messages about God’s love to others. She uses scripture when preparing a message, relating God’s word to people in today’s world. Sandy is a long-time member of Pleasant Green UMC in Orange County, where she serves as Lay Leader and Lay Delegate to Annual Conference.
Dustin Satterfield is a certified lay speaker, having received his certification in 2022. Dustin really enjoys studying the Bible, discussing with others, and speaking about how God and the scriptures have and are working in his life. Dustin is a member of Mt. Tirzah UMC where he currently serves as the Lay Leader and participates in other various committees and ministries. Dustin enjoys singing, playing guitar and banjo, and spending time with his wife and three children.
Anggie Thompson is a certified lay minister (CLM) in the Corridor district, currently serving as the facilitator of the Certified Lay Minister Candidate Training Program and a member of the CLM Steering Committee. Her home church is Lebanon UMC in Mebane. Anggie keeps busy serving her community through the Daughters of the American Revolution, New Rattitude Rat Terrier Rescue, and the Board of Directors of her local fire department, all this in addition to working a full-time job. In her spare time, Anggie likes to make homemade soap and skin care products. Her family is the light of her life so she enjoys spending time with her husband, three rescued rat terriers, and two sons and their families.
Page Wingfield received her lay speaker certification in October of 2017. When asked to fill in during a pastor’s absence, she takes very seriously the responsibility of bringing a thoughtfully prepared message as well as leading the worship service to the best of her ability. Page attends Massey’s Chapel UMC in Durham where she is lay leader and a lay delegate to annual conference.
Fairway District Lay Speaker Bios
Please contact district director Pam Strug (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to request a Fairway district certified lay speaker for your church.
Claire Cox-Woodlief has served for many years at St. Francis UMC in a variety of ways, currently on SPRC. She serves on the NCCUMC Board of Church & Society, the Capital District Anti-Racism Team, and as an SEJ Delegate (and alternate for General Conference). She created CCW Transformation Ministries, LLC, and is co-director of the NC Institute for Spiritual Direction and Formation. She enjoys serving as the Retreat Leader of the NC Academy for Spiritual Formation and the Board Chair for NC UM Camping & Retreat Ministries. She serves as a certified facilitator of Sacred Conversations to End Racism, and co-leads workshops and retreats on Race, Church, & Healing. She enjoys inviting others to join in broadening the lens of how we view scripture as we read it through the lens of people on the margins.
Pam Strug became a certified lay speaker in 2017. She loves connecting people with their gifts and passions to serve God’s kingdom. A lifelong United Methodist, she currently attends Fuquay Varina UMC in Fuquay Varina.
Phillip Edwards has served as a certified lay speaker with the UMC since 2015. Phillip attends Holly Springs UMC in Holly Springs, NC, where he has served in various roles since 2004. Phillip enjoys leading adult small groups and, through them, helping individuals and the community of faith grow in their discipleship of Christ. Phillip and his wife, Lori, have three sons.
Gateway District Lay Speaker Bios
Please contact district director Effie McGill (email@example.com) if you would like to request a Gateway district certified lay speaker for your church.
Paul Baldwin is a certified lay minister currently in membership at Galilee UMC in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Paul’s certification began in 2019 and he has served with boundless joy and excitement as pulpit supply. He is always excited to fill in for clergy in the Gateway district when needed. Paul is married to Rachelle; together they have two sons, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Bret Batdorff is a certified lay speaker, having received his certification in 2023. Bret is a member of Haymount UMC in Fayetteville, where he also serves on the Evangelism Committee.
Charles and Marie Bauer have been certified lay speakers in the North Carolina Conference since summer of 2023. They reside near the Harnett-Cumberland County Line. They are also close to the line between the Gateway and Fairway districts. Charles often speaks about a fresh perspective from the parables. Marie regularly brings a message about the deeper meaning available by looking at the original languages.
Hazel Boatwright is a member of Galilee UMC in Laurinburg, NC. She became a certified lay speaker in 2023 and enjoys serving God’s people using her hands, legs, feet, and especially her heart. She uses her gifts and talents with sincere servitude.
George Hendricks received his certification as a certified lay speaker in 2023. He has a passion for making God’s word relevant for our current world. He is a successful motivational speaker and adheres to the “mind, body, and spirit “ approach to a fulfilling life. His most moving faith experience occurred during his Emmaus Walk weekend, and his favorite quote is Wesley’s “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” He and his wife, Kelly, live in North Fayetteville. They have two grown sons and a Chi-Poo named Hope . He looks forward to sharing the redeeming word of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ with your congregation!
Francilla Hill is a member of Galilee UMC in Laurinburg, NC, and attended the 2023 NC Annual Conference as Lay Leader. Her passions are showing compassion to others, witnessing the Gospel, watching God’s Word unfold, and transforming the lives of God’s people. As a choir member, she loves exalting God’s name as well as telling the Good News.
Effie McGill is a certified lay speaker, certified lay minister, deaconess, and life-long member of Galilee UMC in Laurinburg, NC. Effie serves as the Gateway district director of Lay Servant Ministries. Her ministry is communications coordinator at Galilee UMC; she also serves as volunteer communications, media, and technology at Partners in Ministry in Laurinburg, NC. Effie and her husband, Larry, have a son, daughter-in-love, daughter, son-in-love, and seven granddaughters.
Lorri Shackelford received her certification as a certified lay speaker in 2023. She has a passion for intercessory prayer, Bible study, and sharing God’s Word in the pulpit. Lorri attends St. Matthews UMC in Fayetteville where she is serves as Finance Chair and leads Sunday morning Bible study. Lorri is married to Kenny and has a daughter, son-in-law, and one grandson.
Harbor District Lay Speaker Bios
Please contact district director Sandy Core (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to request a Harbor district certified lay speaker for your church.
Sandy Blake, certified lay speaker, is a member of Burgaw UMC, where she serves as lay leader and a Sunday school teacher. Passionate about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, she is grateful for thirty-eight years of teaching experiences that help shape her ministry.
Sandy Core, through her love and dedication to the Lord, has been a part of a variety of ministries, including church pianist, choir director, home Bible study leader, Sunday school teacher, and prayer ministry coordinator. After retiring from her career as a teacher and social worker, she now works part-time as a data manager for First Fruit Ministries, a homeless ministry in Wilmington. Sandy attends Ocean View UMC and answered the call to be a lay speaker in 2016. She also serves as the Harbor district director of Lay Servant Ministries.
Don Kluttz is a certified lay speaker attending Ocean View UMC in Oak Island, NC. Don became interested in lay speaking in 2013 when his pastor asked him to be lay leader. He retired in 2011 as an auditor with the state of NC and moved with his wife, Wanda, to Oak Island, where they have had a home since 1999. He volunteers as an Oak Island Beach Ambassador, where he witnesses and invites people to Ocean View, which is his calling from God to be his disciple.
Ernest Leatherman has been lay speaking in churches since 2009 and earned his certification in 2014. He likes to draw on his extensive travels and personal experiences to highlight the love of Jesus Christ. He is a member of Ocean View UMC in Oak Island and has served in most capacities within the local church.
Mel Pitts has been a Harbor district certified lay servant since 2018. Her passion is preaching, and she believes and trusts the Holy Spirit to guide her in composing and delivering sermons. Mel is a member of Wrightsville UMC in Wrightsville Beach, where she teaches adult Sunday school and leads book studies.
Susan Usher has been a lay speaker for more than 30 years and recently became a certified lay minister. She is currently a member of Village Point UMC in Shallotte, where she serves on the Administrative Council and Finance Committee, and as a worship leader and choir member. She loves to share her personal testimony as well as pointing believers to the example set by Jesus Christ on how to live as a Christian day to day.
Heritage District Lay Speaker Bios
Please contact district director Ken Ripley (email@example.com) if you would like to request a Heritage district certified lay speaker for your church.
Sylvia Harrison is a certified lay speaker, having received her certification in 2018. Sylvia’s passion is in bringing the scripture into everyday situations. Sylvia currently attends Oxford United Methodist Church, where she servers on many committees and chairs Stewardship.
Ken Ripley, a member of Gibson Memorial UMC in Spring Hope, has been a lay speaker since 1979 and serves as Heritage district director of Lay Servant Ministries. He is active in prison ministry and has a passion for evangelism. He is also an award-winning journalist active in civic and charitable organizations.
Sound District Lay Speaker Bios
Please contact district superintendent Jon Strother (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to request a Sound district certified lay speaker for your church.
Elizabeth Harrison attends New Song UMC in James City. She became a lay speaker to learn more about the Methodist church and to further her learning of the Bible. She works full time and lives with three cats. Elizabeth loves God and lives by the quote, “Not all who wander are lost.”
Linda Hevner attends Ann Street UMC in Beaufort, where she has several leadership roles. She serves as Council VP, is a small group coordinator, and is a founding member of the creation care ministry founding member. She is also active in the music program and regularly serves as lay liturgist. Linda desires to share the good news about how God is actively at work in her life, which led her to the lay speaker program.
Gail Bailey Lindsay became a certified lay speaker in 2009 and a certified lay minister in 2019. Her ministry grows out of her belief that the United Methodist Church is led by the Holy Spirit to “do unto the least.” Gail’s passion is witnessing that we were created to be quickened children of the Triune God, and she has proclaimed that message in more than fifty pulpits.
Kim Rice Smith currently serves as the Sound District Lay Leader, and she became a certified lay speaker in 2023. Within her home church of Cherry Point UMC, she serves as president of the United Women in Faith and as the communications coordinator. For twenty years, Kim served her local Board of Education and for eight of those years, as the Sound District Congregations4Children Coordinator. Her passion is sharing her faith through writing and she is excited to grow as a lay speaker.
Michael Webb is a member of St. James UMC in Greenville, where he was baptized at 51. He became a lay speaker because he felt the need to share the good news. He is a pediatric dentist and serves as the chair of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics at ECU School of Dental Medicine. Mike plays the banjo and loves to cook.