The 2021 January Leadership training, usually held in the districts, became a conference-wide and virtual event on January 10, 2021. The recordings of all five workshops can be found below. Whether you are starting a new leadership role, or have been serving in church leadership for years, we hope this model of leadership training will prepare you for your much-needed ministry. Laity and clergy in partnership with one another is the key to a church’s success in making disciples.
Trustees, led by Gray Southern
Gray Southern is the Capital District Superintendent. He previously served The Apex UMC Family; the former Durham District; St. James Church (Greenville); Trinity Church (Durham); West Nash (Wilson); Oriental; and St. Paul (Goldsboro). Gray grew up in Smithfield, NC, and graduated from Smithfield-Selma Sr. High School. He also holds degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, Yale Divinity School, and Columbia Theological Seminary. Gray was a part of The Lily Endowment’s Pastor-Theologian Program which was also a formative part of his life. He was a member of General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 2008, 2012, 2016/2019. Gray and his wife Susan, a former public school teacher, have two children: Kirk (married to Giselle) and Mary-Gray.
Finance, led by Christine Dodson
Christine Dodson is the Conference Treasurer and Benefits Officer. She has been with the Conference for over 20 years and provides leadership for the overall financial and administrative ministry of the Conference. Christine is a lay member of Mt. Moriah UMC in the Harbor District where she serves as Finance Committee Chairperson. She also serves the wider denomination as Vice-Chairperson of the General Council on Finance and Administration. Christine is a CPA and received her Doctorate in Business Administration, focused on leadership. Christine is married with one child in college and two in high school.
Lay Leader, led by John Hall
John Hall was elected Conference Lay Leader of the North Carolina Conference in June 2020 and previously served as the Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries. He has been an active member of the laity within the NC Conference for many years, including serving as a district president of United Methodist Men and participating in the Leadership Fellows program in 2013-2014 as the lay partner from Aldersgate UMC in Durham, where he continues to serve as a lay minister with a focus on church sound and media. John enjoyed a 23 year career as a R&D development engineer with Hewlett Packard company, retiring in 2006. He then joined SAS as a technical trainer with a focus on computer architecture, retiring in 2018. John is married to his wife Holly and has two children and one amazing grandson.
S/PPRC, led by Beth Hood
Beth Hood is an ordained elder in full connection in the North Carolina Conference, and she began serving as the Director of Ministerial Relations and Assistant to the Bishop June 23, 2020. Beth has served churches in Sanford (St. Luke 1992-1997), Lemon Springs (Lemon Springs 1997-2004), Aberdeen (Page Memorial 2004-2007), and Wilmington (Wesley Memorial 2012-2020), and has also served as Superintendent of the Greenville District (2007-2012). Having grown up in Carrboro, NC, just outside of Chapel Hill, Beth has affection for all things Carolina blue, and especially loves watching the UNC Tarheels play basketball. They are parents to an adult son, Adam, who lives in Wilmington.
State of the Connection, led by Mark Schneider
Mark Schneider is a current member of the NC Conference delegation to General Conference and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. He serves on the NC Conference Insurance Committee and as an alternate on the Committee on Investigation. He previously served as the Capital District Co-Lay Leader from 2017-2020 and prior to that as First UMC-Cary’s Lay Leader, where he continues to lead weekly adult Sunday School and worship with his amazing wife Ellen. Mark graduated from Duke University in 1984 with a B.S. in Computer Science and did post-graduate work at NC State. He worked for five years as a software developer in State College, PA, where he met his wife, before returning to NC in 1989 to work for SAS in Cary.