The Texas Conference Introduces New Staff Positions
By: Sherri Gragg
The Texas Annual Conference welcomes the Rev. Jill Daniels, the Rev. Dr. Jesse Brannen, and the Rev. Robert Besser into their new staff positions beginning July 1, 2018.
The Rev. Jill Daniel
The Rev. Jill Daniel will join the Congregational Excellence staff to lead the Bishop’s “We Love All God’s Children” initiative. Daniel joins the Conferences after serving for 12 years at Trinity UMC Beaumont where she developed targeted ministries to meet the needs of neighborhood children.
“This is my dream job,” Daniel said. “I have worked in early childhood throughout my entire career in one form or the other.”
In addition to serving children in public schools and heading her own child development program, Daniel served with the National Head Start Association during the Clinton Administration with a special focus on the long-term effects of poverty on children in the South.
Daniel is married to Ken, her high school sweetheart. Together, they have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Dr. Jesse Brannen
Dr. Jesse Brannen leaves his position as the Director for the Center of Congregational Excellence to become District Superintendent of the Central South District. For the past four years, Brannen has built on the work of Vibrant Church Initiative (VCI) architect, Rev. Dr. Don Waddleton. “He got the ball rolling on VCI,” Brannen said. “We have taken his ideas, developed them and staffed them more fully. We took his dream and put flesh on the bones.”
Brannen asserts that the lessons he has learned working with VCI will be invaluable as he applies them to the churches within his district. His first step as District Supervisor, however, will be to get to know the churches he serves. He looks forward to listening to them to find out how best he can help meet their needs.
Brannen and his wife, Susan, are the parents of three children and four grandchildren.
The Rev. Robert Besser
The Rev. Robert Besser has served as senior pastor of Wesley UMC, Beaumont for the past 12 years. This summer, he will join the Conference staff as the new Director for the Center of Congregational Excellence. For Besser, leaving the church he loves so much is bitter sweet. “I look forward to representing the Conference, every congregation and layperson as the Director for the Center of Congregational Excellence,” he said, “but I also have a long, sweet history with Wesley. This congregation will always, always mean something special to me.”
Besser’s goal as the Director for the Center of Congregational Excellence will be the same goal he held while pastor of Wesley UMC- He intends to do all he can to reach people for the Kingdom of God. Besser knows that during the first year, that will mean asking a lot of questions and taking the time to get to know the people he will serve.
“I am just as excited as can be to be on the team and serve our Lord through the Texas Annual Conference,” Besser said.
Besser is married to District Superintendent of the Southeast District, The Rev. Alicia Coltzer- Besser. His son, Barret, is a police officer currently deployed overseas with the Texas National Guard.