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Letter From Stephen

Hello to each of you. As you know, our Church has a long history of vital ministry within the Toledo community as well as throughout the region and beyond. I am very much looking forward to joining Epworth's talented and hard working staff as your Senior Pastor. My first Sunday preaching at Epworth will be Sunday, April 5.

I am a fourth generation Methodist. My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents have all been leaders within the Methodist Church. I grew up in a ministry home and any success or accomplishments I have attained are directly related to the prayers, commitment and example of my mother and father.

At the age of nine I gave my first sermon and have been involved in some form of ministry ever since. It has been my privilege to serve all types of United Methodist Churches throughout my career from small rural churches to new Church start, county seat, inner city and large Church appointments.

My parents who live in West Virginia, my 9 year old daughter Emily, and I are a ministry family and we all look forward to getting to know each of you personally and sharing the wonderful missional opportunities God has for our Church.

One of the pastors I admired the most growing up was fellow Ohioan Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Here is my favorite of his quotes, "Know that you are yourself a miracle. And believe you can make miracles happen--by thinking, praying, believing, working, and by helping people."

I believe our best days are ahead of us and I can't wait to see miracles unfold as we support, encourage and lift up each other and our community in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am excited to meet each of you and hope that happens soon.

Your new friend and Pastor,
Stephen Lowell Swisher



Message from Staff Parish Relations Committee Chair, Jim Rhollans

On behalf of the Committee, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of our new permanent Senior Pastor.  We had previously communicated that we would have an interim pastor until the normal timing for moves at the end of June, however Bishop Palmer and the cabinet worked very hard on our behalf to accelerate the timing for our permanent pastor.  His name is Rev. Dr. Stephen Swisher, and he’s coming from Etna UMC, near Columbus, OH.  While at Etna, Steve helped that church to grow significantly.  Bishop Palmer, District Superintendent Ocke and your SPRC are very confident that Steve’s many gifts and experiences will help Epworth fulfil the vision God has set out for us. In Scot’s words, “Steve is the person that I would like to have as my pastor.”

Steve earned degrees in the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry programs from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH.   His first two appointments were in Ohio at Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City and Victory United Methodist Church in inner city Dayton before he moved to serve Churches in New Mexico and Texas.  Steve joined the Board of Trustees of United Theological Seminary in 2009 and chaired the Faculty Development Committee for 6 years. He also traveled to Ohio often speaking in Churches throughout our Conference during those visits.   He moved back to Ohio to live full time in 2013.

Steve has served in churches of all sizes, from new start up to one of the largest churches in the United Methodist denomination.  Steve and his 9 year-old daughter Emily are excited and looking forward to joining us at Epworth.

We are looking forward to the strong leadership Steve will bring to the staff and congregation as we continue to further God’s kingdom.  Steve has expressed his excitement to join us and believes our best days are ahead.  He can’t wait to see what miracles unfold as we support, encourage, and lift up each other and our community in the name of Jesus Christ.

Steve’s first day at Epworth will be Wednesday, April 1, and his first Sunday preaching will be Sunday, April 5. Please plan to join us then to embrace Steve with a warm, Epworth welcome. We will also be inviting our congregation to meet Steve through some smaller group meetings so watch for those invitations.