Wineland ends era in Wayne

WAYNE – After serving more than 17 years as pastor of Wayne United Methodist Church, Sunday will be the
last day in that pulpit for Rev. Betty Wineland.
It is by far the longest tenure for any pastor in the history of the more than 100-year-old church.
"That is a very long time for a United Methodist pastor," she stated.
Wineland, originally from New York, has spent the last 23 years serving Wood County churches. Officially
she is entering a year-long "voluntary leave of absence," what she considers a personal
"It’s sort of a break for a year," Wineland said. "We’ll see what God has in store for me
on this next part of the journey."
While not retired, she will be taking it easy. She will likely be doing some student teaching as well as
serving as a supply pastor as needed in various local churches.
Prior to serving the Wayne church Wineland served a dual role for six years as pastor of both Moline and
Stony Ridge United Methodist churches.
"It’s been a real blessing," the pastor said of her tenure at the Wayne church.
In the United Methodist denomination, pastors are appointed on a year-to-year basis.
Both she and the congregation mutually have considered the time to part ways for the last couple of
years; however, the congregation was willing to allow her the last year to allow Katie, Wineland’s
daughter to graduate from Elmwood High School.
It is a rarity for a child of any pastor to spend their entire time in one school system. She graduated
this May.
"The timing was right for us and everybody," the pastor added. "It was time for us to go
and someone else to come."
Bob Garner, a lay leader, and the current administrative board chair, noted her support for individuals
and families at difficult times including to the families at the time of death of family members.
"She has been very committed to calling on persons in hospitals," Garner said.
He noted her willingness to try new things and has helped support the congregations outreach beyond the
walls of the church into mission projects.
"She has been very supportive of mission projects in our church," Garner stated. "She
instituted our noisy offerings shortly after she arrived."
For the "noisy offerings" coffee cans are passed and those attending put all their loose change
into the cans. The money raised will benefit the Bible Schools, Martha’s Kitchen, Red Bird Mission, and
various other programs.
"That has given us an outreach from our church to the community and the mission field," Garner
Aldora Johnston, who proudly states she will be 95 in November, is the oldest living member of the
"She’s the greatest," Johnston said of her pastor. "She just knows how to handle any
situation, good or bad. She’s a wonderful lady."
Among Wineland’s proudest accomplishments was her guidance to help the congregations desire to make the
church handicap accessible. No easy task considering there are five different levels.
Wineland said the matter was discussed and studied tirelessly by the committee for years considering
various options. A ramp was part of a renovation which included a new main entrance from the parking lot
and other minor renovations which was completed in 2005.
"The ramp has become the main entrance for everyone," she said.
Over her tenure as pastor at the church, she says the congregation has stayed fairly steady at around 200
She says one of the more drastic changes over the years has been the trend to more casual dress.
"The world has changed a lot in 17 years and we’ve had to change with it," Wineland said.
Johnston, the elder stateswoman of the congregation says she will miss both Wineland’s ministry and
"Her attitude is so fantastic, she always comes in with a smile. It’s going to be a terrible loss to
our congregation."
A member of the church since 1941, Johnston recalls the time when the church used to have a new pastor
every four years.
"We’ve had a lot of good ones, and she’s one of the very best."
A farewell reception will follow her last service on Sunday to honor and recognize her.
Rev. Mark Kuhlman will be the new pastor at the church and will begin on July 19.
God gently led Wineland throughout her

WAYNE – Though there was not one great Epiphany moment, Rev. Betty Wineland is quite assured of God’s
guidance throughout her life.
"God leads us by desire," she said one of her former bishop’s once told her. "That’s
always been true in my life."
That was the process which led her into the ministry, and also which has guided her as she leaves the
pulpit at Wayne United Methodist Church after more than 17 years of service.
Step by step, little by little, God has led her gently but firmly throughout her life.
"I never had that ‘bright light’ experience. It’s always been just one step at a time," the
pastor reflected.
Born and raised east of New York City in Kings Park on Long Island, her family moved to southern Ohio
following her graduation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio University
at Chillicothe in 1978 and began her first career in teaching.
Though she loved it. Something was missing, especially as she tried to deal with troubled children in
difficult situations.
"My heart would break for those kids," she said.
And despite her best efforts, the constraints of a public school system did not give her the flexibility
she desired to reach some of the children.
Her brother-in-law was a United Methodist pastor and encouraged her to attend seminary. That was not in
her plans.
However, it was in God’s plans for her.
She eventually attended Methodist Theological School in Ohio with plans to be a Christian education
teacher. She gradually was led to receive both a master’s in Christian education and her master’s of
divinity because she did not want to be out-educated by a pastor she would be serving under.
But God led her to the pastorate and her first assignment was in a small southern Ohio church in Oak
Hill. After 13 months she was assigned to Stony Ridge and Moline United Methodist churches for six years
before serving 17 years at Wayne.
Interestingly, while at seminary, she met Lynn Wineland, who became her husband, though he chose another
career outside of the pastor’s role. They will celebrate their 24the anniversary later this month.
As she begins her leave of absence, she says she is "open to any new adventure if that’s what God
has in store for me."
One thing for certain, she is looking forward to spending time in worship without having to be leading
There are a variety of churches she may attend from time to time, and even is looking forward to an
occasional Sunday or two at "Our Lady of Panera" where she can spend some time relaxing away
from the pulpit and just reading the paper.