How long have you been in the ministry? I have been in pastoral ministry since 2011, serving at Adario UMC as a student pastor, Strongsville UMC as an Associate pastor and now as your lead pastor at Willoughby UMC.
Tell me about your family… I have been married to my bride Cointa “Connie” for over 26 years and we have one son Anthony (12 years old) who celebrates his birthday with Jesus.
What are your hobbies/recreational interests? Personally, I love to golf, fish and bow hunt. As a family, we love to take our ATV’s and go trail riding anywhere we can. Our favorite place to trail ride is in Tennessee where we have property and can enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains. If we can’t ride our ATV’s, you’ll find us walking, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.
What is your favorite quote? “Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:9-10 NLT) This was the first thing I read from the bible after giving my life to Christ. My second favorite is one I created when I owned my own business, “The hard to do will be done, the impossible may take a little longer.” And with God, “All things are possible.”
What was your first job? Opening and closing the pool at the condominium development we lived at when I was 12.
What is your proudest moment? The moment I said yes to Connie’s invitation to go out on a date, and secondly the day that Anthony was born.
What was your childhood ambition? To see how I could get out of going to school, so I could run off to Alaska and live like a mountain man, like Jeremiah Johnson.
What inspires you? Seeing the potential God has for people realized in their own life, and then lived out in God’s world.
What has God been teaching you lately? That His peace is all I need for the moment and all I need to do is to be me, just the way He created me.
What is your guilty pleasure? Alone time in the beauty of God’s creation.
What is your favorite part of your job? You don’t have enough space to include my long answer J…okay, short answer…intersecting the lives of others.
Pastor Hazel is an ordained member of the clergy in the Order of Deacon. Before retirement, she served at Willoughby Hills United Methodist Church for thirteen years, and is now on the WUMC staff as the part-time Congregational Care Pastor. She has been in full time Christian service since 1980. She has been a certified teacher and has taught in public schools, Christian Schools, worked extensively with home-schoolers and served for ten years teaching at a Maternity Home. Her degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Master of Arts in Counseling, a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling and a Doctor of Ministry in Counseling.
Pastor Hazel was the first person in our district to go through the candidacy process and be ordained as a Deacon. She has served as the East Ohio Conference Chair for the Order of Deacons. She has also been on the Western Reserve District Committee on Ordained Ministry and the East Ohio Conference Board of Ordained Ministry to help other candidates clarify their call to ministry.
Much of her work at WUMC involves visitation, performing weddings and funerals, offering premarital training and serving in any way she can to assist Pastor Don. She feels especially called to minister to emotionally wounded women. In her spare time she enjoys writing curriculum for small groups that helps individuals discover their unique identity in Christ.
Hazel was raised on a small dairy farm in upstate New York Milking cows before and after school was a normal part of her life when she was growing up. There was a little Methodist church just down the road, where she began a close walk with Jesus at an early age. Dave and Hazel were high school sweethearts and married in 1965 after he graduated from The University of Buffalo. They have numerous grandchildren from their many children (by birth, foreign adoption, foster care, and others who have found a home with them at critical times in their lives).
Favorite Scriptures: Isaiah 26:3 and Philippians 3:10.