As the North Central Region of The Brethren Church prepares to vote on its Regional Leadership team, we thought we would share a bit about each of the nominees.
John Swope has been a middle school teacher, youth minister, associate pastor, solo pastor, lead pastor, and interim pastor. Since 2012, he has been the Director of Field Education at Ashland Theological Seminary. He has served regionally and nationally in the Brethren Church, and would like to continue serving the people, pastors and churches of the North Central Region as a member of the Regional Leadership Team.
His partner in life and wife for over 38 years, Catherine, directs a non-profit agency in Ashland County that serves children, youth and families. They have four grown children, two kids-in-law, and one grandbaby! John and Catherine are part of Five Stones Church in Ashland.
A life-long member of Trinity Brethren Church. I serve as Christian Education Chairmen, Secretary, and Sunday School teacher. Married to husband Jim and have 2 adult daughters. I am a Property Claims Adjuster. I currently serve on the North Central Regional Leadership team and I am General Conference secretary. Serving on the committee has broadened my knowledge of us Brethren and how we are continually striving to find ways to help our Pastors, Church Leadership, and Congregations as we go forth into this ever-changing world. By being on the committee it has allowed me to voice concerns, suggestions, and ideas and put them into action for the betterment of our Region.
I’m Stephen Knowlton, and I live in Ashland, Ohio with my lovely wife Kelly, who you may have seen lead worship at Brethren conference. I am father to three amazing daughters and plant dad to 100+ houseplants. By profession, I am Director of Innovation at Spire Advertising, leading our team to offer new solutions for organizations across Northern Ohio.
God is doing great things in our community, and I am all in to support that. Currently Board Moderator of Park Street Brethren Church, I have the opportunity to work with an amazing team as they lead both our church and our preschool to serve local families. In addition, I am Board Vice-president at Associated Charities, a food and utilities assistance non-profit serving hundreds of families in the local area.
The opportunity to empower regional church leaders through connections to Brethren Church family excites me. I know that we are seeking God’s leading toward a fresh shared vision for the Brethren Church, and my experience has prepared me to assist our region in gaining traction in that process.
I am Paul Deardurff, 68 years old, recently retired from 39 years selling John Deere parts. I am a member of the Gretna Church, a deacon, an adult Sunday School teacher, and a praise team vocalist. I've been Brethren all my life and want to give back by serving on the RLT.