Rev. Sara L. Isbell was appointed as Senior Pastor to Wesley UMC on July 1, 2018. Her previous appointments were to Decatur Grace and Chatham UMC’s. Rev. Isbell received her M.Div from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 2003 and was ordained Elder in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference in 2006. She has served as a delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences since 2008, and currently chairs the North Central Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy.
Sara grew up in the United Methodist Church as a “preacher’s kid.” Her father is retired pastor Rev. Dr. E. Paul Unger, who now lives with Sara’s mom Judith in Bloomington, right across town. She received her call to ordained ministry while working as a Program Associate at the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at the University of Illinois (UIUC), and bears witness to the importance of campus ministry in the lives of college students.
Sara is happily married to husband Andy since 1988, and is very proud of their two adult children. Andy enjoys his own role as musician in the church, taking part in choir, ensembles, praise band and handbells.
I was born on April 23, 1962, at home I was #2 in a set of identical twins. Our names were Tanya Yvonne and Tanya Yvette Edwards to Doris and Sherman W. Edwards. I spent my first three months in an incubator. I am on of eight living children. We lived in Jackson, MS I graduated from Callaway High School in 1980 with honors. I participated in track, Mathematics society and the honor society. I become part of the National Junior Honor Society as a seventh grader following the footsteps of my brothers.
After leaving high school, I attended and graduated the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. I served on and with many different groups while in college- Board of Appeals, Bolton Hall VP, African American Culture Society VP, election commission and member of the Board of Directors for the Wesley Foundation. I met and married my husband, Tony Lamar Evans while a student at USM.
Tony and I were blessed with four children (two girls and two boys). Tony died after complications from a car accident at the age of 34. My story is filled with ups and downs. I faithfully served at my home church, Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson, MS in many areas of ministries prior to becoming a minister. I am a former educator of seventeen years where I have taught math, history, Alternative students, and court order GED. I am a graduated from Memphis Theological Seminary in 2007 and was ordained in 2011 by Bishop Hope Morgan Ward.
As I start this journey here at Wesley UMC this begins my twentieth year in ministry. I am also reminded of the nurturing and the support I got from CCYM and Mrs. Emma Moore, the UMYF, the UMW and UMM and my home church who saw as a minister when I was a teenager. The UMW gave me words encouragement when I was being bully and harass by people in the church. It is my hope that I use by gifts to reach the lost in the pew and out the building, to enrich the understanding of being Methodist, and love as Christ commands. My motto is “With your faith and God’s favor, go flavour someone’s life with love.”
Director of Christian Education Email Kathi
Kathi has worked at Wesley 19 years working with Children's Ministry and Adult Education. Kathi has a Masters degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Organizational Psychology and Education, A Masters/ Seminary training in Pastoral Care and Undergraduate degree in Psychology and Education. Kathi's Husband of 40 years and grown children (Cameo and Caleb) are often her greatest helpers.
I graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2014 with my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and French. I have been working as a Youth Pastor for the last 12 years, holding positions in small united Methodist churches in the southern tip of Illinois and growing youth programs to reach their full potential in spirit and devotion. I have served in multiple capacities with our conference camping minsitries and continue to serve on the CCRM and AIR Leadership Team at Little Grassy. I have been at Wesley since September of 2019.
I am currently enrolled at ILIFF School of Theology working on my Master of Divinity, seeking full ordination in the United Methodist Church.
am the Director of Music Ministry and have been a part of the Wesley Staff since June 2016. I have been a member of Wesley since 2007 and considers Wesley to be my “home” church. I grew up attending Surge and Jubilation Youth Choir as an 8th grader and high school student. These programs fostered my love for worshiping God through music and relationship with others and encouraged me to pursue a career in music ministry.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Illinois State University. Before holding my current position, I served as the Children’s Choir Director at Normal First United Methodist Church and as the Assistant Director of Music Ministry at Wesley.
If you have any questions about the music department at Wesley or would like to get involved in away way, please contact me at email@example.com.
Early Childhood Ministry Coordinator Email Liz
I'm Liz Tomera, Coordinator of Early Childhood Ministries here at Wesley. My family and I came to Wesley in 2004, when we moved to Bloomington with State Farm. I have been on staff since 2017. I was in third grade when I discovered my love for teaching and in high school when I first stepped into an early childhood setting. When I'm not in the nursery with the little members of Wesley, you'll find me teaching elementary school math. My husband, Mike, and I have three kids, all of whom play baseball and at least one other sport. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, playing board games, reading and watching my family swing metal. Our family motto is #fortheloveofthegame! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org🙂
Hello Wesley! I am a versatile and highly creative Lead Communications and Media Designer. With over a decade of proven and documented success leading creative teams to develop innovative visual marketing solutions, I am honored to be working with such a great team. Wesley offers a variety of medium to work with and look forward to helping project our message and mission to all who are listening.
Audio-Video Production Coordinator EmailBen
I'm Ben Lash, who most will recognize as the guy who runs around with cameras and dealing with tech concerns on Sunday mornings. I handle the live-streams at Wesley, and I also create most of the videos and photography that you see on the website, YouTube or any of our other social media.
I'm a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Media, and have lived in Illinois since 2010, moving here from Los Angeles where I grew up. I have a passion for media of various forms, but especially love videography and photography. On top of my AV work at Wesley, I also help with the SURGE Youth Group and the Anchored groups. If you'd like to work with us to create video or photo content, don't hesitate to contact me!
It is a pleasure to be a part of the Wesley family!
I was born and raised in Bloomington, IL and can never see myself leaving. I have 2 children Dalon 17 and Jaila 15 and a fur baby Luna who is 6 months. I graduated from Heartland Community College in 2007 and majored in Business.
I have worked as an Administrative Assistant for over 10 years. When I’m not assisting I love to relax at home with a great book even writing a few books of my own over the years. My passion is helping people from all walks of life and sharing my story of how I have overcame many obstacles.
Susan Bass, is the new Executive Assistant to the Senior and Associate Pastors here at Wesley.
Susan has worked as an Executive/Administrative Assistant in the for-profit and not-for-profit industries for over 20 years. She prides herself on her abilities in assisting whom she works for to help make their professional outcome a more concise, sensible and positive outcome.
She is excited to get to know and work among the staff here at Wesley and to familiarize herself with the church family.
Susan grew up in Bloomington, attended Bloomington High School, and went on to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.
I was born March 17, 1965, in Little Rock, AR, but moved to East St. Louis, IL in 1968. I attended school in East St. Louis and graduated in 1983 with an academic scholarship to Jackson State University. I left school and joined the U.S. Army in 1984.
I returned to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and graduated in 1991 and received a Bachelors of Science in Mass Communication Television and Radio and a Minor in Theater and Dance. After graduating I worked for a year with the U.S. National Park Service at the Grand Canyon South Rim before moving to Bloomington in 1993. While in Bloomington I worked for Bundy Tubing until becoming employed at State Farm. I returned to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2002 and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s of Science History and a Secondary Education Certificate.
After graduation I took a job in East St. Louis School District #189 at Southern Illinois charter High School. I was active in several activities including founding the African American History Club which was focused on enrichment and inclusion of contributions of African Americans to our nation’s overall history. We also worked with St. Vincent DePaul’s Catholic Charities of East St. Louis as volunteers in feeding the homeless and displaced every Thanksgiving and Christmas. While teaching I attended University of Phoenix and received a Master’s in Curriculum Development. Presently I am one class away from receiving my Master’s Certification in Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders Counseling from Arizona State University.
As mentioned earlier, I have Southern roots, which means that good food and cooking is a part of every occasion when family and friends gather. My knowledge of cooking includes Asian, Cajun and Creole, Southern, and Italian, and main stream American fare. I have also been a part owner and operator of a catering company before my partner’s spouse was transferred to Switzerland. I am looking forward to the opportunities for positive and fulfilling experiences with your organization and its entire membership.
Jim helps maintain the building and grounds at Wesley. He is part of a team that also makes sure rooms are ready for groups to use, whether it's bible study, youth activities, or business meetings. Jim has been a part of Wesley's staff for 27 years, and a member of the church for 42 years.