Bishop Wallace-Padgett announces that beginning Jan. 1, 2021, Rev. Dr. Adlene Kufarimai, current Director of Ministry with the Poor and Missions and Advocacy will become Director of Connectional Ministries. Additionally, effective Feb. 1, 2021, Rev. John Fleischauer, current Leadership Development Administrator for Connectional Ministries, will move from a part-time to a full-time role as Associate Director of Connectional Ministries. These moves follow current Director of Connectional Ministries Linda Holland’s announcement that she has decided to leave the Conference staff after serving nine and a half years.
Rev. Adlene Kufarimai is an ordained elder in the North Alabama Conference. She has served as senior pastor of West Huntsville UMC, senior pastor of Haven UMC, associate pastor of New Life UMC (formerly Glen Addie), Cheaha District Director of Ethnic Ministries and North Alabama Conference’s field coordinator for Imagine No Malaria. She has provided leadership as the Mission U dean with the North Alabama Conference United Methodist Women and as teacher/facilitator of Northeast District Lay Servant Ministries classes. She was a contributor to the book Children’s Sermons Just in Time! (Abingdon Press 2010). She currently is on the Board of Directors of the General Commission on Race and Religion and the National Board of QuadW. She is also the North Alabama Conference Secretary of Global Ministries and a Certified Church Consultant. A native of Zimbabwe, Adlene is a graduate of Mary Mount Teachers’ College (Mutare, Zimbabwe) and Gammon Theological Seminary (Atlanta, Georgia). She earned a doctorate of Spiritual Leadership at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in 2014. She is married to Rev. Dr. Tiwirai Kufarimai, senior pastor of St. Paul-Triana UMC, and they have two children.
Rev. John Fleischauer joined the Conference staff in February 2015. In addition to his Connectional Ministries role, he has served as Executive Pastor / Campus Ministry Administrator of the Bama Wesley Foundation since 2015. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and first became involved in the ministries of Bama Wesley as a student. He also has served as associate pastor of The Belief Experiment and senior pastor of Hargrove Memorial UMC. Currently a licensed local pastor, John is attending Asbury Theological Seminary and is in the ordination process working toward becoming an elder. John presently lives with his cat Beans in Tuscaloosa, but will be moving to Birmingham after he and his fiancée Claire get married in June. In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors either hiking or on the water as well as traveling — especially by train.
Bishop Wallace-Padgett says, “Adlene has shown great leadership in our Conference. Examples include successfully leading our initiative to raise $1 million for Imagine No Malaria, steering our Ministry with the Poor Team and QuadW Missional Internships and directing our Mission and Advocacy ministries. I am excited to welcome her into the role of Director of Connectional Ministries where her energy, passion and dedication will continue to positively impact our Conference. Additionally, I am grateful that John Fleischauer will expand his Conference role. His attention to detail and sharp administrative gifts are a blessing to us.
“I also offer my sincere thanks to Linda Holland for her time as Director of Connectional Ministries. Her creativity, wisdom and effective ministry have been indispensable to the Conference Leadership Team and me. The innovations she and the Annual Conference Planning Team have made to our Annual Conference gatherings will be a lasting legacy.”
Linda Holland became Director of Connectional Ministries in April 2011. She is the first layperson to serve in this staff role in the North Alabama Conference. As Director of Connectional Ministries, she served as part of the Conference Leadership Team, led the Annual Conference Planning Team, coordinated the Annual Conference nominations process, as well as, supervised Connectional Ministries and Communication staff and programs. Prior to serving as the Director for Connectional Ministries, Linda participated on several Conference leadership teams including the Communication Team, New Church Team and the Conference Leadership Team. She also led in various staff roles across the Conference including at Promise Homes, Inc., a former North Alabama Conference Advance Special agency, Canterbury United Methodist Church and the North Alabama United Methodist Foundation/Stewardship Resources.
Linda clarifies that she is not retiring, but opening herself to God’s next calling in her life.
“Seeing God move through the laity and clergy of North Alabama for the past ten years while supporting that ministry has been a gift,” Holland says. “I will miss working directly with our churches, Bishop Wallace-Padgett, districts and conference staff, but I am thankful to remain connected through an amazing congregation like Cullman First UMC. Discerning my next steps as God leads continues a true adventure.”
In July, Rev. Kiki Terry, a licensed local pastor, left her role as Leadership Development Administrative Assistant in the Office of Connectional Ministries to serve in pastoral ministry full-time. She currently is appointed as senior pastor of Crumly Chapel UMC and associate pastor of New Beginnings UMC in the Central District.
In September, Rev. Emily Nelms Chastain, a provisional deacon, left her Connectional Ministries position of Associate Director of Church Resourcing and was appointed to attend school. She is working toward a PhD in American History / Methodist Studies at Boston University. She also currently serves as the chair of the Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry.
In July, Mary Simpson retired from the Conference staff after 24 years of service. Mary was serving as the support staff for the Office of Communication where she played a vital role in the Conference's ongoing communication efforts, especially the publication of the PreConference Book and Conference Journal. Prior to serving in that position, she was employed for many years as support staff for Congregational Development where she supported new and renewing church initiatives including the New Church Team and the Academy for Congregational Development.
Bishop Wallace-Padgett says, “North Alabama is blessed with an incredible Conference staff. Staff members live out their faith daily and routinely go above and beyond their job descriptions to aid local churches in our church’s mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. I am grateful for all our staff. To staff members making transitions during 2020 and 2021, I say a special thank you for your service and may God bless your life and ministry’s next chapter.”