The Free Methodist Church – USA Board of Bishops and Board of Administration are pleased to announce Mark A. Dowley as the denomination’s next chief operating officer. Dowley — the conference business administrator for the Southern Michigan Conference since 2008 — will take office on January 1, 2018, following the retirement of first-ever COO Larry Roberts.
Dowley and his wife, Diane, an elementary school teacher, will relocate to Indianapolis later in the year. The couple met at Spring Arbor University (from which he received a business degree in 1982) and married in 1985. They have two children, Alex and Hannah.
“I’ve been Free Methodist all my life. My grandfather on my mom’s side was a pastor in the Free Methodist Church, and so it goes deep in our roots,” Dowley said June 1 in a phone interview.
Dowley said he has a lot to learn about the details of denominational operations, but he wants “to emphasize providing excellent customer service to the people we serve, which is basically anyone who’s out on the frontlines for our denomination. … We want to be able to provide the tools from our side so that they can do their job well.”
Dowley has lived in the neighboring Michigan communities of Spring Arbor and Jackson throughout his life. He worked for and then purchased his family’s manufacturing company, which specialized in automotive hand tools. After selling the business in 2001, Dowley focused on real estate investing and development along with website and e-business development.
Through service in a variety of volunteer roles in the Jackson Free Methodist Church such as the finance committee, leadership team and drama ministry, Dowley became close friends with then-Pastor Thomas Ramundo. After Ramundo became the conference superintendent, Ramundo began seeking Dowley’s financial advice and eventually persuaded Dowley to join the conference staff.
Dowley’s hobbies include sleight-of-hand magic tricks. His father learned tricks from his grandfather who toured as a professional magician and became friends with Percy Abbott, who has been called “the Henry Ford of the magic business.”3