Medina area churches welcome several new pastors

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 24 October 2022 at 8:00 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Charlene and Jeff Smith, left, are greeted by Norma Jean Foster and MAAC’s new president Barb Vreeland at the October meeting Tuesday night at the First Baptist Church in Medina. A special part of the meeting was welcoming the area’s new pastors.

MEDINA – The Medina Area Association of Churches held its regular meeting Oct. 18 at the First Baptist Church.

The organization, known as MAAC, meets the third Tuesday of September, October, January, February, March or April (excluding the month of Easter) and May.

Amanda Kroening, director of the children’s ministry at OneChurch, talks about the church’s move  to West Avenue.

MAAC is made up of representatives from all the Medina area churches, including Alabama Full Gospel Church, Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God, Faith Bible Baptist Church, Faith Covenant Fellowship Church, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Gateway to Heaven Church, Glad Tidings Baptist Church, the Grove United Methodist Church, Holy Trinity Catholic Parish, New Life Alliance Church, Oak Orchard Assembly of God, OneChurch, St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Trinity Lutheran Church and United Methodist Church of the Abundant Harvest.

MAAC’s ministries are the Medina Clergy Fellowship, MAAC Thrift Depot, Medina Area Christian Theater (MACT) and its biggest program, the MAAC Christmas Barrel Program.

Its outreach ministries include Lenten luncheons, Good Friday Cross Walk, a Thanksgiving service, Advent in the Park, high school scholarships and vacation Bible school.

Newly elected officers are Barbara Vreeland from Holy Trinity Parish, president; Vince Iorio, retired pastor from Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God, vice president; Amanda Pollard, treasurer, from First Presbyterian Church; Pat Payne, secretary, from the Grove United Methodist Church; and Kathleen Samborski, corresponding secretary, from Glad Tidings Baptist Church.

Ministry representatives are Sue Metzo, Thrift Depot; Sherry Tuohey, Christmas Barrel Program; Robyn Watts, MACT; and at-large positions, Norma Jean Foster and Norma Geiger from First Baptist Church and Charlene Smith from United Methodist Church of the Abundant Harvest.

A position is open for a representative to the Clergy Fellowship.

Pat Payne, left, secretary of MAAC, addresses the meeting Tuesday night at First Baptist Church. She is standing behind Pastor Liz Aristy, new pastor of the First Methodist Church of Medina.

Because the area has so many new pastors, MAAC decided at its recent meeting to recognize those pastors, who are: Kevin Lawson at Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God; Rich Damey at Faith Bible Baptist Church; Sam and Sue Hershberger at Faith Covenant Fellowship Church; Elizabeth “Liz” Aristy at the Grove United Methodist Church; Kevin Weigel at OneChurch; and Aktar Sohail at St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The new pastors in attendance shared a little of their background.

The Hershbergers are native Ohioans who came to Faith Covenant Fellowship last year. He resigned a 34-year career to pursue the ministry.

Liz Aristy is a native Dominican, who with her husband Sandy is also a chaplain. She is a conference speaker and missionary with a master’s from Northeast Seminary in Rochester. They have three children. Liz has a degree in organizational management from Roberts Wesleyan and a nursing degree from the University of Rochester. She is founder and president of Redemption Tree International, a missionary evangelistic outreach ministry, sharing the Gospel message in English and Spanish. She also is owner of Self/Care Essentials by Liz and is a selfcare registered nurse in health and wellness.

Kevin Lawson is a Middleport native who is married to Medina native Krista Scholes and has been active in Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God since he was a teen.

Amanda Kroening was introduced as representative of MAAC’s newest member, OneChurch, who took over the building formerly occupied by Grace Baptist Church.  Kroening grew up in Grace Baptist Church and now serves as children’s ministry director for OneChurch.

Sue Metzo gave an update on the MAAC Thrift Depot, which last Tuesday she said had the busiest day in their history.