The Free Methodist Church – USA recently endorsed four chaplains: Assefa W. Gezu, Maria T. McKiernan, William G. Rushik and M. Jay Vincent.
Assefa W. Gezu
On April 19, Bishop David Kendall approved Gezu (pictured above) of Antioch, Tennessee, for endorsement as a U.S. Air Force chaplain. Gezu, a native of Ethiopia, is an elder of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California.
He received Jesus as his savior at age 15 and became passionately involved in local church ministries. After much prayer and fasting, he entered fulltime ministry after graduating from high school. He served as an itinerant preacher in rural Ethiopia and then went to Addis Ababa Bible College and graduated with a B.A. in Bible and theology. He then served as the senior pastor of the Berhane Wongel Church, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with additional ministries such as Bible college teaching and serving as a principal. He moved to the United States in 2008 and joined the Amanuel Ethiopian Fellowship in Los Angeles, advancing through the steps of local ministerial candidate, conference ministerial candidate and elder. He graduated from International Theological Seminary, El Monte, California, in 2010 with an M.A. in theology/ministry. He also served as an intern chaplain at LAC + USC Medical Center.
Maria T. McKiernan
chaplains at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, where she works with
Head Chaplain and South Canaan Free Methodist Church Pastor William G. Rushik.
She entered the Gabriel School of Ministry at the Beach Lake Free Methodist Church in 2005, became a consecrated deacon in 2010 and was appointed to Wallenpaupack Free Methodist Church. She became a conference ministerial candidate in 2013 and an elder in 2015.
William G. Rushik
Rushik was called to ministry in his high school years. He graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College in 1970 with a B.A. in religion and philosophy and was appointed to pastor the Waverly (Pennsylvania) Free Methodist Church. He was ordained an elder in 1972 and appointed in 1973 to the Beach Lake FMC where he served for 10 years. In 1983, he was appointed to the South Canaan FMC where he still serves. He earned an M.A. in counseling at Marywood University in 1988 and later added hospital and hospice chaplaincy to his ministry as pastor. He has served 11 years as head chaplain for Wayne Memorial Hospice and five years as head chaplain for Wayne Memorial Hospital.
During a church camp between his freshman and sophomore year of college, Vincent responded to a strong call to ministry. He graduated from Greenville College in 1991 with a B.A. in pastoral ministry. He served 15 years as a Wabash Conference pastor — 11 years at Spraytown (Indiana) Free Methodist Church and four years at Park Place Community Free Methodist Church in New Castle.
Rex Carpenter, D. Min., is a retired U.S. Air Force chaplain and lieutenant colonel who serves as the chaplain-endorsing agent for the Free Methodist Church – USA. This article is condensed from the Staying Connected newsletter for Free Methodist chaplains.