Spiritual Formation

Specialists

Rev. Ed Blackstone

Ed Blackstone was a board-certified trial lawyer practicing in Dallas, Texas before returning to East Texas, entering seminary at SMU, and becoming an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.  He is in his 20th year as a United Methodist Pastor and is semi-retired.

Ed's particular interest is in prayer and spiritual formation.  He can teach, train, or provide information about resources for those interested in enhancing a life of prayer and spirituality within the church.




 


Rev. Neomi ‘NeNe’ Fletcher 

Emory University - Master of Divinity with concentration in Theology and Ethics. Rice University - Bachelor of Art in Religious Studies, Bachelor of Art in Policy Studies - Urban and Social Change Concentration.  Community College of Aurora - Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education.  Child Care Education Institute Online - Infant and Toddler Safety Certificate

Let Rev. Fletcher lead your congregation through a journey of molding the soul to anticipate the fulfillment of God’s will. Hosting small group workshops that address everyday experiences that challenge the truth of God’s word is her specialty. She focuses on developing a hospitable space where transformation is welcome, and change can manifest.    


Rev. Sandra Hall

Rev. Sandra Hall is currently serving as the Senior Pastor of Clinton Park UMC in Houston, Texas.  She also served as the Senior Pastor of a three-charge Circuit (Lee Tabernacle UMC, Stonehamville UMC, and Pleasant Grove UMC) in the West District for eight years.  Rev. Hall has served on the Board of Pensions for the Texas Annual Conference for over 7 years.  She is the chairperson of the Congregational Excellence Committee in the Central South District. She serves as a mentor for Candidates for the Ministry of the Texas Annual Conference. Rev. Hall has over 27 years of experience in pastoring, education, counseling, and motivational speaking. Her professional background includes being a Certified Christian Life Coach, Guidance Counselor, Home Economics Teacher, Educational Consultant, and Adjunct Professor at Houston Community College.  She is a graduate of Texas Southern University- Bachelor of Science in Home Economics, Prairie View A& M University-Masters in Counseling, Southern Methodist University- Masters of Divinity and currently pursuing a Doctoral of Ethical Leadership at the University of St. Thomas.  She is married to Rev. Calvin Hall. She has two children and two grandchildren.  Rev. Hall loves family, the community of faith, and traveling.

My life mission is to empower people to live a life that gives God all the glory while educating people on how to improve their spiritual formation through, prayer, fasting, studying the word, and applying the word in their daily life. I enjoy encouraging others to become confident in their spiritual journey with themselves and others. I have helped churches and individuals expand and enhance their internal, external, and corporate disciplines of faith. My experience in leading and facilitating small groups and congregations in the areas of fasting, prayer, and mediation as well as developing corporate disciplines for churches will be an asset to the body of Christ.


Rev. Stephanie Hughes

Rev. Stephanie Hughes has 21 years of pastoral, preaching, and teaching experience as an ordained elder currently serving at St. John’s UMC in Texas City.  In discerning her own call to ministry, she related most to Moses standing before the burning bush ready to reject God’s call with a list of excuses and insecurities.  She learned early on that figuring out a call to ministry, next steps in ministry, strategic planning, or even getting unstuck takes discernment and often times, seeking help from a seasoned professional.  Just as God sent Aaron to walk alongside Moses, God sends individuals to walk alongside us in ministry to be a coach and mentor.  Throughout her ministry career, she has come alongside both lay and clergy to encourage and equip them to discern their next steps in deepening their own journey in personal discipleship and in public ministry.  As a Ministry Specialist, Rev. Hughes is coaching and mentoring clergy in preaching, spiritual formation, community engagement, revitalization, and long-range planning. 

Spiritual formation is key to discipleship and spiritual health, vitality, and growth.  Yet, often times we will hit a wall, we’ll fall back, and we may even feel far from God even as clergy.  What are these walls?  Forgiveness issues?  Feeling discouraged?  Overwhelmed by the demand for change?  Even anger, maybe?  All of these and so much more can stunt our spiritual growth, rob us from a vital relationship with Jesus and keep us from powerful ministry.  Rev. Stephanie can build a workshop or retreat for a small group or congregation to address any of these issues, while building on healthy spiritual practices.  She will also mentor clergy that would like to break down walls that challenge their own spiritual growth and strengthen their spiritual practices.



Rev. Kimberly Orr

Kimberly Orr is Associate General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries and the Publisher of The Upper Room. In her role, Kimberly seeks to build on the legacy of the Upper Room through broadening the reach of its many spiritual formation resources, including its flagship bi-monthly devotional magazine. Kimberly is working to increase the Upper Room’s digital footprint and to think playfully and entrepreneurially about how best to open up the gospel of Jesus Christ to a wider audience.

Kimberly is an ordained elder from the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church where she has served since 2002 in the local church. Before answering the call to full-time ministry, Kimberly was the associate international tour manager for the Houston Grand Opera. Kimberly also holds two degrees in music (BMEd, Sam Houston State University-1989; MM, Rice University-1993) and a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary (2005). Additionally, Ms. Orr received a Certificate of Jewish Learning from the Florence Melton School of Hebrew University in 2010 and is currently enrolled in a PhD program at the University of South Africa, Pretoria.

Kimberly loves to play hobby board games, watch British mysteries, strum a few songs on her Gretsch guitar, and do a little hiking and camping. She is also the proud mother of two adult children, Miriam, and Josiah, and cherishes time with her two grandchildren, Ellie and Sam.


Rev. Dr. Jim Reiter

After 35 years of full-time service in the East Texas area (serving in a wide variety of rural and urban settings and church sizes), I took early retirement from UM parish ministry (in May 2018) so that my wife, Kathy, and I could pursue our interest and passions in spiritual formation on a full-time basis.

My formal training includes:  Studies at Perkins School of Theology (M.Div., 1987 and D. Min 1992), a Professional Certification in Spiritual Formation (through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church and studies at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2019). Certification and commissioning as a Spiritual Director (via the Episcopal Diocese of Texas’ “FIND School for Spiritual Direction and Formation”)

Since retirement (and the founding of Zoe-Life Explorations, I have conducted a variety of explorations/workshops for individuals, congregations, and districts, and Conference entities across the United States and Canada—especially focused in and through my work as Director of the Richard and Julia Wilke Institute of Discipleship’s online Certification in Spiritual Formation Program (via its online presence at www.BeADisciple.com).

So long as we define discipleship as Jesus did, Christian spiritual formation is discipleship—i.e., our being transformed into the full and deep image of our Jesus Christ. (cf., Luke 6:40)   It is crucial, though, that pastors, staff, lay leaders, congregations and individuals affirm pathways of spiritual growth that emphasize a variety of tensions and foci—including: human responsibility and Divine Grace/initiative, the inner/personal and the outer/corporate, needs across the stages of faith, the ways we can get caged and stuck in our journeys, traditional disciplines and more contemporary spiritual practices (as “means of grace and formation”) the breadth of spiritual “types” (and practices to which each time gravitates)

I’d welcome an opportunity to visit with your district, staff, and/or congregation—dialoguing about nature and content of spiritual formation, discussing a variety of activities that can promote discussions and experiences, and consulting about the ways congregations can establish and nurture spiritual formation ministries.


Rev. Kristin Rockwell

Reverend Kristin Rockwell started her career in ministry in 1993 as a professional Christian Educator.  In 2002, she continued her service to the church moving to pastoral ministry.  In 2019, she added a certification in Spiritual Direction and serves as a spiritual director while continuing her pastoral ministry.   She has served large and small churches on the northside of Houston and in Northeast Texas.  

Kristin loves helping people grow in their understanding of God and how God is active in the world and in their lives. She is especially drawn to contemplative and Celtic spirituality, Enneagram as a way to know oneself better, and prayer of all kinds.  Outside of work, Kristin enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, experimenting with new recipes, and listening to music. 

Spiritual Formation is intentional activity that helps us to know ourselves better in the Light of God. Spiritual Formation is often done as a group activity such as a class in or as a retreat.

Pastoral Counseling is different from Spiritual Direction as a pastor is invited to use their education and experience to speak a word of God into your situation.

I am passionate about helping people hear God, hear God present in their own lives and discovering tools and activities that can lead us into deeper and more mature relationships with God.


Rev. Cindy Serio

Rev. Cindy Serio is a recently retired ordained deacon whose primary appointment was to develop a ministry of spiritual formation. She established MOSAIC Spiritual Formation Ministry in 2009 to help people “create beauty from the broken pieces of life” through contemplation, creativity, and compassion. In her secondary appointments, she has served Ashford UMC, Mission Bend UMC, and Holy Covenant UMC in the Southwest District. Cindy has been a trained spiritual director since 2003, graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2009 with an MA in Spiritual Formation, and received a professional certification through GBHEM in Spiritual Formation in 2011. In 2019, Cindy founded “The Texas Gathered Community of Spiritual Directors,” a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to Christian spiritual formation in church and community through the ministries of a group of dedicated and ethically grounded trained spiritual directors from a diverse variety of training programs.

Spiritual formation is the process of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ for the glory of God and for the sake of others. In a congregational setting, Cindy specializes in designing and leading spiritually formative events such as days of prayer, workshops, retreats, classes, and special worship services, wrapping them around a theme, concept, quote, scripture, or word as you desire. She is also available to consult with you as you design and lead your own event. Cindy is a certified Veriditas labyrinth facilitator and her 24’ canvas Petite Chartres Labyrinth can be a part of any offering she develops for and/or with you. In her role with The Texas Gathered Community of Spiritual Directors, Cindy can recommend covenant spiritual directors gifted for the ministry you need when she is unable to serve you.


Rev. Leo Tyler, Sr.

Rev. Leo Marshall Tyler has served God for forty-two years and is gifted as a preacher, teacher, pastor, evangelist, and leader. His experience includes a Christian radio broadcaster, creator and presenter of The Healthy Soul Seminars, trainer of over 300 Stephen Ministers, and establishing one of the largest Celebrate Recovery programs in Texas. Leo received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mass Communication from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana and a Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. Leo is a Birkman Method Consultant, Birkman International, Inc., a Certified Behavioral Consultant, The Institute for Motivational Living, Inc. delivered by People Keys the official DISC provider. Leo is author of the “21-Day Adventure: Experience more freedom, joy, and purpose than you ever dreamed possible.” Rev. Leo Tyler currently serves Bear Creek United Methodist Church, Houston, TX as Senior Pastor. Leo is married to Lupe Tyler and together they have one son, Leo II and two grandsons.

Spiritual formation is an exploration of your relationship with God. In assessing one’s spiritual development, Leo likes to explore the dynamics of your life stage and how it correlates with your season of spiritual development. Leo offers different services to fit your specific need: Pastoral Coaching – to address problem solving, crisis management, healing of past wounds; Mentoring – to walk alongside for specialized improvement; Discipling – teaching and sharing of scripture to help assist a person to their next level of spiritual development; Spiritual Direction – creating a safe place to hear God’s Spirit and tend to soul. Leo uses a variety of tools to help you in your spiritual formation that includes Healthy Soul tools in which he developed and Enneagram Personality Type Indicator.


Amy Vogel

Amy is called to pray, write, preach, and grow the body of Christ in the great adventure story God is writing. She loves to help people find Jesus and see them discover the significant purposes they’ve been created for. Having grown up in the United Methodist denomination, she now leads at Upper Room Heights, helping others get connected to their faith, individually and in a diverse community. Her devotional, Third Person: Thirty Days with the Holy Spirit, opens the door to a deeper Christian spiritual experience. She and David have been married for twenty years and have three daughters, Natalie, Sophia, and Ella.

Amy serves the church in several key areas, including discipleship, prayer, social and racial justice, and spiritual formation. Having been a volunteer leader inside and outside of church settings, she has a vision for how to apply faith in Christ to the struggles of life, often in innovative ways. Through technology, unique experiences and personal interaction, Amy has formed deep relationships, started groups, created, and led Bible and topical studies for diverse audiences, coached other volunteers to step into ministry leadership and was an essential contributor to the launch of Upper Room into the Greater Heights area. She curates the vision for the culturally relevant spiritual growth model of Upper Room Heights - for all age groups. She is heavily engaged in pastoral care efforts, which help the church maintain the flexibility needed to provide ways for people to grow spiritually and in community. She founded the near decade old prayer ministry that grew to include weekly prayer services, a rotation of volunteers, creative methods of prayer, training on intercession and inner healing, as well as partnerships with other churches and ministries around Greater Houston. This ministry is now venturing into the digital space to broaden and encourage people to pray – for themselves and others – wherever they are in the world. Her experience with social and racial justice is heavily connected to the learning and personal experience of being a volunteer and on staff at multi-ethnic church. Her heart, ways of thinking and actions have been challenged and shaped through the opportunities of walking in life and faith with others different from her. She continues to seek out new ways the congregation can partner in the justice efforts in Houston.


Frankie Watson

I, Frankie Fonteneaux Watson, am the oldest of six children, I grew up on the north side of Houston, am a native Houstonian, attended Houston public schools and attended University of Texas and received my Bachelor and Master’s degrees from Texas Southern University.

For 30 years, my professional career has been based in administrative/supervisory employment for the State of Texas serving and managing programs that served persons with disabilities.

I am a recent widow with (3) adult children, two sons and one daughter, a Democratic Party Lobbyist, A Stockbroker, and a Lawyer. We have (3) three grandchildren, 2 grandsons and one granddaughter.

As a Spiritual Formation Leader, I am a Certified Benedictine Oblate-Sisters and Oblates of St Scholastica Monastery –Boerne, Texas, am a Certified Spiritual Director graduated from the CHARIS Program for (2) years.  I have completed the 2-year Upper Room Spiritual Formation Academy and graduated in Class #27 in San Antonio, Texas. I have also completed the Methodist Hospital CHAPLAN PROGRAM and served as a Hospital Chaplin for two (2) years. I have served in the Bay Area Emmaus Community, as a Board member, Table Chair numerous times, Kitchen Cha and Sponsor. I just recently joined the West Emmaus Community.

The skills that I bring to the table are a love for the Lord with all my heart. I am an awesome small group leader, can lead and teach lay leadership classes. I have compassion, discernment, faith, helping, leadership, and servanthood skills. I am a living example of one who “loves God and loves neighbor.” I listen well and communicate with people of all ages. I work well with both clergy and laity and with various teams and task groups. Ic an keep broad view of the separate parts of the congregation and work with the pastor to help align the entire ministry toward the mission of the church. I know how to connect the congregation with the community and the world as they participate in the missio Dei…God’s mission to the world through five main charges: the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39) to put love of God and neighbor above all else; the Great Commitment (Matthew 16:24) to embody God’s love individually through spiritual disciplines; the Great Requirement (Micah 6:8) to live God’s love through our actions; and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) to go and take God’s love into the world by making disciples, baptizing, and teaching faithful obedience.