Southwest Conference Staff
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The SWC Executive Board unanimously selected the Rev. Dr. William (Bill) M. Lyons as our Designated Conference Minister, and he began his ministry with us on January 1, 2016. Bill was ordained in the U.C.C. on October 13, 1985 and has 30 years of pastoral experience.
Dr. Lyons served St. John's United Church of Christ in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as their pastor for 11 years. During his ministry the congregation adopted new vision, mission and welcome statements, expanded their wedding policy to include all couples regardless of gender, became open and affirming congregation #869, and shifted from beliefs-based to values-based ministry - in that order. Along the way St. John's reconfigured staffing and programs to reflect its identity and size, and crossed the threshold to financial sustainability. While he can't tell you their average worship attendance, he will tell you that since 2013 when the congregation changed the way it measures their success, St. John's has documented at least 365,721 people's lives impacted through the ministry of their 123 members.
"I am coming to the Southwest Conference with excitement, ready to listen and learn how this conference and the national church can empower and equip you for more vital ministry in your communities and congregations. Together we will continue to be the most innovative conference in our beloved United Church of Christ, while we discover what new calling God has placed upon us in our life together."
Administrative Assistant: Sheri Slaybaugh Email Sheri Slaybaugh
Sheri joined the Southwest Conference Staff in June 2015, as an Administrative Assistant. Sheri will be training with both Barbara and Holly as they make plans to retire in 2016. Sheri is a member of East Mesa Christian Church (Disciples) where she serves as Treasurer and Elder. Her background includes Accounting and Finance, Administration, and Elementary Education.
Relational Communications & Administrative Assistant: Eli Johnson Email Eli Johnson
A recent college graduate from the University of Arizona, Eli has grown up in the UCC, working with conference-wide events as well as active involvement with his local church in Tucson, AZ. Eli’s background has included work with local and federal political campaigns, as well as general community development within Pima county and greater Arizona. He joined the Conference staff as the Relational Communications & Administrative Assistant in March of 2016 and will be training over the next few months under Holly as she approaches her retirement this summer.