Rev. Dennis Adams
United Methodist Pastor, Retired, NC Conference
Dennis is a retired United Methodist Pastor who has served First UMC Roanoke Rapids, Pine Forest UMC, Campus Minister – Methodist College, Campground UMC, St. James UMC – Greenville, and is currently the interim pastor for Westminster UMC. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Atlantic Christian College, his M.Div. from Duke University, and his D.Min. from Columbia Theological Seminary, with a focus on Spiritual Formation. He was trained as a spiritual director through the Sursum Corda Institute and completed a two-year program through the Shalem Institute for leading contemplative prayer groups He has lead Spiritual Formation Groups in the areas of Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer, and Contemplative Prayer. He is an Oblate of the Order of St. Benedict, affiliated with St. John’s Abby in Collegeville, MN.
Dennis is married to Lee Marshburn Adams, his wife of 42 years. She has taught middle school math at Arendell Parrott Academy for the past 22 years. They have a daughter Anna who is married to Michael Petrin. They live in South Bend, IN.
Rev. Lynn Benson
Director of Legacy Giving, United Methodist Foundation
Lynn is a Deacon in Full Connection with the NC
Annual Conference. As a 2013 graduate of Duke Divinity School, Lynn received a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Christian Education. Lynn’s undergraduate degree is in Business Finance from East Carolina University. Lynn served as the Christian Education Director at Rosemary UMC in Roanoke Rapids from 2013 to 2016. The opportunity to serve with the Foundation is allowing Lynn to connect her passion for finance, particularly stewardship, with her education and experience in Christian Education.
Lynn has been married to her high school sweetheart, Marty, for 32 years. Together they have two adult children, Lillie and Lee, and a new son-in-law, Gray. In her spare time, Lynn leads small-group classes in personal finance, spends time gardening, and enjoys Praying in Color.
Rev. Dr. Marty Cauley
Director of Planter and Partner Development, New Faith Communities
Fueled by a love for gourmet coffee, North Carolina BBQ, and a desire to make the world a better place Marty currently serves the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church in the office of New Faith Communities as Director of Planter and Partner Development. He is a professional ministry and life coach committed to helping pastors and congregations more effectively connect with their community. An ordained elder in United Methodist Church, he previously spent five years traveling the Southeast as the Director of Ministry with Young People for the Southeastern Jurisdiction. He has also journeyed to Africa to work with orphans after raising tens of thousands of dollars to fund one of the early empowerment projects with ZOE Ministry. He has volunteered in his local community to build homes with Habitat and build community by working with a local low-income school and as a board member for Peacemakers Family Center. A blogger, speaker, and motivator he uses humor and story telling to engage his audience and help them find hope during difficult times.
Rev. LuAnn H. Charlton
Associate Pastor, Hayes Barton UMC, Raleigh
As associate pastor at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, LuAnn’s ministry focus is Spiritual Formation. Prior to her appointment at Hayes Barton, she served as the Pastor of Bethel United Methodist Church in Snow Camp, NC. She has a Master of Divinity Degree from Duke Divinity School.
Before entering ordained ministry, LuAnn served as a Christian Educator at First United Methodist Church of Cary and Apex United Methodist Church. She also served as the Associate Director for Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries of North Carolina. LuAnn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master’s Degree in Training and Development from NCSU. She has also attended the Upper Room’s Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation.
Rev. Rick Clayton
Senior Pastor, Hayes Barton UMC, Raleigh
Rick was appointed to Hayes Barton in June 2004. He began his ministry within the United Methodist Church in September 1977 as Youth Director of First United Methodist Church in Wilson, North Carolina. During his tenure in Wilson, Rick completed a Master of Religious Education degree from Southeastern and a Master of Divinity from Duke. He was appointed as associate minister to First Church during his nine year tenure. It was in this pastorate that Rick married Joy Butler from Clearwater, Florida. The two of them graduated from Atlantic Christian/Barton College. Joy majored in Music Education with a focus in voice. She started her teaching career at Greenfield School in Wilson. Their two children, Ryan and Alyson, were born in Wilson.
Rick has served as senior pastor at Saint Paul United Methodist in Rocky Mount, Louisburg United Methodist, Saint Francis United Methodist in Cary, and now Hayes Barton. Beyond his ministry in the local church, Rick has chaired numerous boards and institutions within the North Carolina Conference. He served as chair of the board for the Methodist Home for Children during the addition of the Jordan Center, and his gifts were used by the North Carolina Annual Conference for seventeen years in developing annual themes, set designs, and productions for the annual conference gatherings.
Teresa Holder, Ph.D.
Professor of Communication, Meredith College
Teresa Holder is Professor of Communication and Head of the Department of Communication at Meredith College. She has more than 20 years of experience in college teaching, higher education administration, and nonprofit public relations management. She has led more than 100 workshops, including training on conflict resolution for managers. She has also published numerous articles on the topic of managing conflict in leadership roles.
Her volunteer work includes lay leadership at her church, with a focus on small group ministry. From personal experience and having grown up as a preacher’s kid, she understands the unique joys and challenges that come with working in ministry!
Rev. Beth Hood
Senior Pastor, Wesley Memorial UMC, Wilmington, NC
A native of Carrboro, NC, Beth is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill (B.A. in Industrial Relations) and Duke Divinity School. Beth has served as pastor in a variety of settings from a small rural congregation to a mid-sized town church, a staff member of a large membership congregation, a District Superintendent, and lead pastor of a large membership congregation. Beyond the local church, Beth served as delegate to Jurisdictional Conference in 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016; and delegate to General Conference in 2008, 2012, and 2016. Presently, she is a member of the NC Conference UMC Connectional Table, Registrar of the Harbor District Board of Ministry, member of the Harbor District Mission Strategy Team, and co-founder of Passion In Partnership Christian Coaching. Beth and her husband, Paul, have one son, Adam, who is a college freshman.
Korrel Kanoy, Ph.D.
Senior Partner, Developmental Associates, LLC
A college professor for over 30 years, and now Professor Emeritus at William Peace University, Korrel Kanoy has taught many courses on adult development, child development, general psychology, and emotional intelligence.
Through her work with Developmental Associates, LLC, Korrel specializes in helping individuals and organizations maximize their performance by developing emotional intelligence and leadership skills. She also works with educational institutions to select and the best teachers and leaders and to develop programs to infuse emotional intelligence into the curriculum. She has led professional workshops and delivered keynote addresses for educational, non-profit, and public sector organizations. Over 500 people, from students to CEOs, have benefited from individual coaching with Korrel.
Korrel is the co-author (with Steve Stein and Howard Book) of The Student EQ Edge: Your Academic and Personal Success, along with two companion books: The Student EQ Edge: Facilitation and Activity Guide and The Student EQ Edge: Student Workbook. She also authored Annie’s Lost Hat, a picture book for 3-6 year olds that teaches emotional intelligence lessons through the story, and The Everything Parent’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence in Children: How to Raise Children who are Caring, Resilient, and Emotionally Strong.
Ronda Bazley Moore
Organization and Human Performance Consultant
Ronda Moore brings over fifteen years of experience with leading management consulting firms and financial services organizations to the Center for Leadership Excellence. As a consultant, Ronda has partnered with business and community leaders throughout the country to provide solutions related to talent management, leadership development, learning design and development, communications, and stakeholder engagement. Ronda has a passion for working with leaders to solve problems related to human performance, and cherishes her role as a faculty of the Center for Leadership Excellence because it allows her to apply her experience and knowledge to help equip pastors and laity for their important roles in the body of Christ. Ronda is a dynamic facilitator and Fellows have often commented on the high level of engagement and interaction they experience in her sessions.
A native of Charlotte, NC, Ronda completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Ronda also earned a master’s degree in Adult Education from North Carolina State University, where she was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. Ronda is married to Warte T. Moore and has a four year old daughter, Bazley Grace. They live in Raleigh and are members of Edenton Street United Methodist Church.
Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millan
Director, Hispanic House of Studies, Duke Divinity
Ismael A. Ruiz-Millan is originally from Sonora, Mexico. He is an ordained elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, and his first pastorate was in 2004 at “Unidos por Cristo” in Grimesland, NC. In 2010, he was appointed to serve the Brookland-Brooksdale UMCs in Roxboro (now New Brook UMC). Since 2011, Ruiz-Millan has served as the director of the Hispanic House of Studies, and more recently as director of Global Education and Intercultural Formation at Duke Divinity School.
Ruiz-Millan has developed and taught courses on pastoral care to pastors and laypersons from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru. He has taught at the Course of Study at Duke on Missions and World Christianity, focusing in Latin America. He has developed seminars, workshops, and learning opportunities on Cultural Humility and Leadership for UMC pastors in North Carolina. Additionally, Ruiz-Millan serves in different boards including the North Carolina Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, the Board of Directors of the General Board of Global Ministries, the Executive Committee of the National Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministries, and the Executive Committee of the Hispanic Summer Program. He regularly leads educational, cultural, and language immersion trips to the Mexico-US border and Guatemala.
Patrick Soter O’Neil, Ph.D.
With 25+ years of leadership and communication experience, Patrick Soter O’Neil helps people and organizations create break-through solutions using insights, assets and opportunities. He has collaborated with people from all walks of life – attorneys, news reporters, entrepreneurs, railroad engineers, information technologists, CEOs, non-profit founders, medical technicians, hamburger company mascots, airplane mechanics, government workers, bankers, industry analysts, college professors, race car drivers, politicians and an Ironman Triathlete nun, just to name a few.
He earned a PhD from the University of North Carolina, School of Media and Journalism; a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication from Northwestern University, and a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University. He is a frequent adjunct professor at N.C. State University Department of Communication. Patrick serves on the board of the Kilgoris Project, a faith-based non-profit organization that educates children in western Kenya. He lives in Raleigh with his wife and two children.
Rev. Dr. H. Gray Southern
District Superintendent, Capital District
Gray Southern is the Capital District Superintendent and has previously served as the Durham District Superintendent, the lead pastor of The Apex UM Family, associate pastor at St. Paul UMC (Goldsboro), pastor of Oriental UMC; pastor of West Nash UMC (Wilson); lead pastor of Trinity UMC (Durham); and lead pastor of St. James UMC (Greenville). Born in Winston-Salem, NC, he grew up in Smithfield, NC, and graduated from Smithfield-Selma Sr. High School. He earned his BA in Psychology and Religion from UNC-CH and then attended The Yale University Divinity School, graduating with a M. Div. Subsequently, he earned a D. Min. from The Columbia Seminary in Decatur, GA. Gray has also participated in the Lily Endowment’s Pastor-Theologian Program, sponsored by The Center for Theological Inquiry at Princeton University.
Gray has been involved in ministries of spiritual formation, children and youth ministries, mission efforts, and camping ministries, as well as administrative ministries such as pensions, insurance, and sustainability matters. He and his wife, Susan, a public school teacher, have two children, Kirk, a fourth-year medical resident, and Mary-Gray, who is in a gap year.
Rev. Jon Strother
Senior Pastor, Jarvis Memorial UMC, Greenville, NC
Jon Strother is a former Capital District Superintendent and has served on the North Carolina Conference Board of Ordained Ministry (1994-2012). He ministers regularly in Federal Prison, Butner, NC. Jon has traveled throughout the world ministering and sharing his stories. In 1997, he was invited to Sydney, Australia, to share in school seminaries as a preacher and storyteller. In 2006, he ministered in orphanages in Belarus and preached with ABRO (American Belarusian Relief Organization).
Jon previously served as Senior Pastor of Benson Memorial UMC, and he is the founding pastor of Windborne UMC, established in 1999. Other churches he has served include Hertford UMC, Rose Hill UMC, Hayes Barton UMC (as associate pastor), and Macon Charge. Jon is a graduate of Duke Divinity School, where he completed his Master of Divinity. In 1998, Jon recorded a CD of mostly original music with all proceeds going to Project Agape Armenia. He has three children.
Rev. Lisa Yebuah
Pastor of Southeast Raleigh Table, Edenton Street UMC
Lisa Yebuah is the pastor of the Southeast Raleigh Table, the newest worshipping community of Edenton Street United Methodist Church. She’s a 1999 graduate of Wofford College and a 2004 graduate of Duke University Divinity School. Life in ministry is at the heart of who she is. When asked, Lisa sums up her vocation through the lens of Mark 2: “I’m trying to help people in the pews become less concerned about the holes we make in our roofs and become more holy restless about our friends who’re bound to their mats.” Beyond ministry, Lisa is a professional people watcher, a biscuit-eating CrossFitter, and a seasoned trash-talker during the football season.