Churches to get new congregational specialists

Two new congregational specialists have been announced for the 2024-2025 conference year, and one current congregational specialist will move.

The Rev. Amiri B. Hooker, pastor of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Lake City, will serve as the congregational specialist for the Florence and Marion districts. 

The Rev. Nona Woodle, pastor of Aldersgate UMC in Greenwood, will serve as the congregational specialist for the Rock Hill and Spartanburg districts.

Also, Chris Lynch, current congregational specialist for the Rock Hill and Spartanburg districts, will shift to serve as the congregational specialist for the Anderson and Greenville districts.

He succeeds the Rev. Cathy Joens, who is shifting to serve as director of church relations for Epworth Children’s Home.


Hooker has served Wesley Chapel since 2019. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in biblical studies and education. 

Hooker was ordained as an elder in 2000 following his 1998 graduation from Gammon Theological Seminary at The Interdenominational Theological Center with a master of divinity in theology and African thought. He also has served the East Camden Charge; the Lake City Circuit; Wesley Chapel and St. John UMCs in Darlington; Springtown UMC in Smoaks; Green Pond, Mount Harmony and Clover Chapel UMCs in Clover; New Harmony UMC in Anderson; New Harmony UMC in Seneca; and the Seneca Circuit Charge.

In addition to Hooker’s work in local churches, he has served in many ways, including representing the conference on the South Carolina Christian Action Council for 15 years; as Southeastern Jurisdiction coordinator of Black Methodists for Church Renewal and as a state officer for BMCR for 14 years; Florence District Advocacy representative; Forward Focus leader; as Conference Communities of Shalom coordinator; and vice chairperson of the Conference Committee on Global Ministries.

Hooker is married to Valerie Nicole Henderson Hooker. They have four children: Gabriyan Michail Tribble, Sba Onesty Mandrell, Omri Charles-Barnard Hooker and Sia Bari Hooker. He enjoys reading ancient Bible texts and other sacred religious writings, taking walks in the mountains and on the beach, traveling and savoring fine foods, and writing.


Woodle has served as pastor of Aldersgate UMC since 2020. She was born in Chester and graduated from Winthrop University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and from Columbia International University in 2006 with a Master of Arts in teaching.

Woodle is a full-time local pastor who was commissioned as a provisional elder at the 2024 South Carolina Annual Conference. She graduated from the Boston University School of Theology with a Master of Divinity in 2019 and a Master of Sacred Theology degree in 2024. 

In addition to Woodle’s work in local churches, she has served in many ways, including as the Greenwood District Safe Sanctuaries Leader and as a member of the Greenwood Wesley Fellowship Board, as its treasurer and as the fellowship’s interim director. She also has served as co-facilitator, along with author and consultant Olu Brown, of church leadership training in other United Methodist conferences.

Before being called to ministry, Woodle worked as child care director for the Upper Palmetto YMCA. She enjoys reading and traveling to new places.


Lynch has served as congregational specialist for the Rock Hill and Spartanburg districts since 2012, and for the Florence District since 2021. He was born in Florence and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1995 with a bachelor of business administration (management) and from Erskine Theological Seminary in 2003 with a master of arts in counseling ministry. He currently is pursuing certification as an ICF-trained coach.

In addition to his work as a congregational specialist, Lynch also has served as the conference specialist in youth ministry; as a member of Conference Connectional Ministries and the Conference Committee on the Annual Conference; on district committees on Connectional Ministries and Congregational Development; and as youth director at Trinity UMC in Anderson. 

He also has served as a delegate to the 2020 General Conference (meeting in 2024) and a delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 2016, 2022 and 2024. 

Lynch is married to Michelle Lynch. They have three daughters: Lindy Lynch Croxton, Cami Lynch and Ruthie Lynch. He enjoys golf, smoking barbecue, the outdoors and anything UGA.

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