Jan. 23, 2022

Bishop appoints David Eardley to GPUMC

The Staff Parish Relations Committee is pleased to inform you that Michigan Area Bishop David Alan Bard has appointed Rev. David Eardley as senior pastor of Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church, effective July 1, 2022.

David comes to GPUMC from St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Rochester, where he has served as senior pastor since 2013. Joining him in the move to Grosse Pointe will be his wife, Sara, and their 17-year-old son, Ryan, who is a high school junior. In his free time, David enjoys taking walks with Sara, Ryan, and the family dog, Chester. He also enjoys running, science fiction, movies, traveling, world history, PBS’s American Experience documentaries, and is a lifelong Detroit Tigers and Michigan Wolverines fan.

Throughout his ministry career, his clergy colleagues, church staff, and laity have described David as a collaborative, thoughtful, and dedicated leader. He is passionate about preaching, teaching, and encouraging discipleship across the lifespan. He believes that John Wesley’s emphasis on a discipleship grounded in Jesus’ Greatest Commandment is key to our witness in the 21st century.

David was born and raised on the eastside of Detroit. During those years, he, his parents, and sister, Nancy, were active members of Mt. Hope UMC. He attended youth group at Redeemer UMC in Harper Woods. David graduated from Lutheran High School East in 1985 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1989. He received his call to ministry during his junior year at the University of Michigan. Upon graduation, he began the candidacy process with his home pastors, Revs. Marshall and Susan Dunlap. He then attended Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in 1993. He was ordained a deacon by Bishop Judith Craig at the 1992 Detroit Annual Conference.

In 1993, David began his first appointment at Grace UMC in Britton in northeast Lenawee County. While there, he was active in the Ann Arbor District Council on Youth Ministries and the District Council on Ministries. He was ordained an elder by Bishop Donald Ott at the 1995 Detroit Annual Conference.

In 1997, David was appointed to First UMC in Ann Arbor as an associate pastor under the leadership of senior pastor Rev. Al Bamsey. He was involved with the young adults’ group, Stephen Ministry, began and taught Disciple Bible Study classes, and led Saturday worship at Green Wood, FUMC’s North Campus site. While at FUMC, David was also involved with the interfaith and ecumenical communities. It was at FUMC where David and Sara first met in 1997. They fell in love and were married in June 1999.

In 2001, David was appointed to Christ UMC in Bay City. He enjoyed serving a congregation that was committed to the Detroit Conference and local missions. While there, David was involved in the Bay City cluster of United Methodist Churches and the ecumenical community. He was active in Saginaw Bay District activities and committees and served on the board of Created for Caring, a local social services agency. The greatest highlight of his and Sara’s time in Bay City was on Aug. 21, 2004, when their son, Ryan, was born.

In 2006, David was appointed to Frankenmuth UMC. He enjoyed serving this congregation nestled in Michigan’s Little Bavaria. The congregation was committed to both local and global missions, including service opportunities for children, youth, and adults. He was also part of a clergy team from the Frankenmuth churches that developed an ecumenical baccalaureate service for the local public high school graduates. David became a Rotarian while there and served on the club’s board of directors.

In 2013, David was appointed to St. Paul’s UMC in Rochester as senior pastor. He was humbled by the opportunity to serve one of the largest churches in the Detroit Conference. He has led a clergy team that included two associate pastors and a retired pastor of visitation. It has been an amazing learning experience working with a large staff and the administrative duties that accompany it. Like his previous congregations, St. Paul’s is active in missions, both locally and globally. In 2017, St. Paul’s launched a new modern worship service, The Open Door, that took place in the church’s Hickey Hall concurrently with the existing 11:00 a.m. traditional service in the sanctuary. The two 11:00 services followed one 9:00 a.m. blended worship service in the sanctuary. In response to Covid, St. Paul’s revised its Sunday morning ministry in fall 2021 under David’s leadership, offering two in-person 10:00 a.m. worship services — one in the sanctuary and the other (The Open Door) in Hickey Hall — while continuing to offer its 9:00 a.m. online service.

In 2006, David served on the Detroit Conference Board of Ordained Ministry from 2006 to 2018, including six years as registrar. In 2018, David was asked to serve as a clergy member on the Commission on the Annual Conference Session, and he assumed the chairperson role in 2020. David has also held several leadership roles in the Rochester Rotary Club, including serving as club president since June 2021.

The Staff Parish Relations Committee is working with our district superintendent, Rev. Dr. Charles S. G. Boayue, Jr., to complete the details of this appointment. The committee will keep you informed of plans to celebrate the ministry of Rev. McGee as we prepare to welcome the Rev. David and Sara Eardley to Grosse Pointe this summer.

Jan. 9, 2022

GPUMC prepares to welcome a new minister in 2022

GPUMC will be welcoming a new minister to the church, effective July 1. District superintendent Charles Boayue announced the plan to transition to a new pastor during the December charge conference.

Rev. Ray McGee will continue to serve as GPUMC’s senior pastor until June 30. However, he will be shifting to “retirement status,” effective Feb. 1, a technical change that means that GPUMC will no longer contribute to his pension account. This change was made at Ray’s request.

Bishop David Bard typically begins making announcements about new appointments in February, but GPUMC may not know the name of its new minister that soon.

The Staff-Parish Relations Committee completed the pastor profile as part of the December charge conference. “I want to assure you that the Staff-Parish Relations Committee will do our best to communicate to the church leadership the type of qualities that you value in our next pastor,” said Bob Heimbuch, SPRC chair.

“While this future shift in pastoral leadership may be unsettling to some of you, I ask that you look at it with an optimistic eye and embrace it. In the coming months, we will share the important task of helping Rev. McGee make a seamless transition for our new pastor, so that GPUMC doesn’t miss a beat and continues to thrive,” he said.

Bob said SPRC will meet with the new pastor in the coming months to begin the transition process and introduce them to GPUMC, our vision, and mission in the Metro Detroit area and beyond.

Cathy Lorenz, who chairs GPUMC”s church council, reflected on Ray’s leadership and this transition. “Ray’s incredible work ethic and his open, candid leadership style have served us well through some very difficult and challenging times. And we’ve had the added pleasure of worshipping and working alongside his wonderful wife Dar,” she said.

“As United Methodists, we understand and accept the itinerant nature of our pastors, however, it is always difficult when we must face the change. Personally, I’m sad to see Ray and Dar leave our GPUMC family, but we wish them the best as they begin this new chapter in their lives,” Cathy said.

What’s ahead for Ray and Dar

Ray’s retirement at the end of June will mark the end of 28 years of ministry, including six years in Grosse Pointe. Previously, he had been senior pastor at Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Detroit, and earlier served at churches in LaSalle, Sebewaing, and Flint. Ray recently completed his service as director of the Michigan Area School for License as a Local Pastor. He has written and taught the curriculum at the Local Pastor Academy of Haiti, training 300 local pastors to be commissioned by the United Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas. He said he’s looking forward to more time to golf after retiring but may also look for teaching opportunities, either in a local church or a seminary.

Ray and Dar McGee have already started their personal transition to life after Grosse Pointe. They have built a new home in Harmony, Florida, and, last week, Frisbie Moving & Storage picked up a load of furnishings for their new space. They plan to live in Florida during the colder months of the year. Their UpNorth cabin near Roscommon was destroyed by a fire in February 2020, and Ray has been doing the bulk of the new construction himself. He hopes to complete work on the cabin sometime in 2023 so the couple can begin spending summers in Michigan.

The move to Florida seemed like “the best fit” for the couple, Ray said. This will also put the couple closer to one of their children and his family who live in nearby Orlando; their other children and grandchildren are in Kentucky and Mississippi.

Dar will be in Grosse Pointe Farms through the end of January, then she is moving into the couple’s new Florida home and will continue to work remotely as executive assistant to Heritage Conference Supt. LuAnn Rourke until mid-2023. She will be returning to Grosse Pointe for visits, but her last regular Sunday at church will be on Jan. 30.

 “Years ago, someone asked a friend who had retired from the ministry about his appointments. He said the ‘each one was the correct one for that time.’ It’s been the same for me. At my first church, I was just learning the realities of parish ministry; at the second church, I polished my leadership in dealing with staff and a huge building project; at the third church, I sharpened my theology with persons who had different viewpoints; at the fourth church, I used what I had learned and impacted ministry in Detroit. GPUMC was my fifth church, and I have loved my six years here. It has been difficult at times, but it was the right appointment for a ‘time such as this,’ ” Ray said.

SPRC will be planning a celebration of Ray’s service to GPUMC. An announcement regarding the celebration and related planning will be made in the coming weeks.