District Administrative Team features familiar and some new faces
By Paul Black
In anticipation of moving from 10 district offices to five, effective July 1, a new team of District Administrative Assistants is comprised of two long-serving veterans, a familiar face that is returning to a familiar job and two newcomers that will be succeeding retiring administrative assistants.
The new structure has been built both to facilitate the work on the district offices and its superintendent as well as to provide hands-on, personable service to its members and congregations.
Andrea Roberts, the administrative assistant of the Spoon-LaMoine River District Office based in Jacksonville, will serve as lead Administrative Assistant.
“Andrea Roberts is an ideal administrative assistant,” said the Rev. Nic Showalter, who will oversee the Spoon-LaMoine River District (West District, effective Jan. 1, 2024). “Her many years of experience combined with her high degree of competence and excellent abilities to work with people make her an essential part of the work and ministry of this district. Her steady and faithful approach and her willingness to share in leadership will be valuable as we reconfigure districts.”
With the retirement of Doug and Jill Stone in 2022 and Vermilion River District Administrative Assistant Sandy Shay in 2023,, Roberts will become the longest-serving conference employee, having served in the LaMoine River District office since June 1995. Prior to her service with the Conference, she was an administrative manager for an Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bartlett, Ill.
A native of Sycamore, Roberts is a 1990 MacMurray College graduate.
A second long-time employee, Pat Setzler, will continue serving as administrative assistant of the Embarras-Iroquois River District (East District, effective Jan. 1, 2024) based in Champaign.
An administrative assistant since January 1996, Setzler has been involved with producing and direction of national events for the Boy Scouts of America and she has been involved as a district officer of the United Methodist Women (now United Women in Faith).
“Pat is reliable, professional, organized, and committed. She pays attention to details,” said the Rev. Angie Lee, who will be superintendent of the newly-configured district. “She is a great communicator and hard worker. Her commitment and caring for the churches and the pastors has been genuine and strong. She listens to people’s problems and questions and does her best to find answers for them. It has been a great blessing to have her in Embarras and Iroquois.”
For people in the Illinois River District, Andrea Dean is a familiar face. Dean served as District Administrative Assistant from June 2009 to September 2021 for the office based in Peoria.
She is now returning as Administrative Assistant of the newly-configured Vermilion-Illinois River District (North District, effective Jan. 1, 2024) based in Peoria, effective April 16.
“Andrea's years of experience as an Administrative Assistant for the Illinois River District will provide a smooth transition for the new district,” said the Rev. Mike Crawford, who will be superintendent of the new district. “The gifts she brings and the relationships she has within the Illinois Great Rivers Conference are a great asset to the ministry of the district.”
Crawford added, “As one pastor told me upon hearing the news of Andrea's hire, ‘With Andrea as an Administrative Assistant, you won't have to do anything, Mike.’"
Dean is a graduate of Cuba High School and Illinois Central College.
Sandy Shay, Administrative Assistant in the Vermilion River District, will be retiring, after serving the Conference for 31 years.
Jennifer Lyerla of Anna will be serving the Kaskaskia-Cache River District (South District, effective Jan. 1, 2024) based in Marion, effective April 1.
Lyerla succeeds current District Administrative Assistant Donna Whittington, who is retiring May 15.
A graduate of Shawnee Community College, Lylerla has been a claims and benefits customer advocate with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois and Texas for 12 years. And from March 2006 to November 2016, she was Deputy Court Clerk for the Union County Circuit Court in Jonesboro where she handled a variety of administrative tasks related to the court.
“Jennifer is a person of faith, who loves and is dedicated to her family, and to her God. Her faith is deep,” said the Rev. Stan Irvin, superintendent of the Kaskaskia-Cache River District.
“She possesses a desire to serve others, and to share the love of God with all who come into our District Office door.”
Irvin notes, “Jennifer worked for 10 years in a Circuit Clerk’s Office. She has impeccable computer and office skills, which will serve our Conference well. Plus, her experience in a Circuit Clerk’s Office has well equipped her to aptly handle any attorney whom she might have to work with.”
Prior to returning to the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, Irvin was a prosecuting attorney in New York.
Dawn Beavan rounds out the District Administrative Team and will be serving in the Mississippi-Sangamon River District (Central District, effective Jan. 1, 2024) based in Springfield, effective April 16.
Beavan brings a wealth of experience to the new position having moved around due to her husband being in the Air Force. She has been a loan support specialist, customer service representative, teller, cashier, stocker, department manager at retail stores; model, call center customer service, coordinator at Air Force Base Chapels, Praise Band Director, Choir Director and worked with children including Special Education.
Currently, she is a licensed local pastor, serving the Easton and New Holland UMC’s.
A native of New Holland, Beavan is a graduate of Lincoln College. She attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois Wesleyan University and received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Lincoln Christian University.
Thanks to temporary employees
During the reorganization time, the Cabinet has been assisted with a number of part-time, temporary administrative assistants which have enabled the reorganization process toward fruition.
The Cabinet recognizes Allyn Wiechert in the Mississippi River District Office; Val Abel in the Illinois River District Office; and Ali Moreau, Julie Rhodes and Lisa Reynolds for their service during the transition.