Lay Leadership at Oak Lawn UMC

Introducing the One Board Members and Ad Hoc Committees for 2020!

If you’d like to know more about the positions our leaders hold, and what they’re responsible for at Oak Lawn UMC, please check out our position descriptions document here.

One Board Members

John Horany

Convener of One Board

In his day job, John is an attorney, representing folks who have been injured in accidents or mishaps due to the fault or neglect of others.

He has been a member of Oak Lawn UMC for 12 years.

Previously he has served as Trustees Chair and President of the United Methodist Men. He is currently also a member of the choir.

This year, John is… “Looking forward to resuming worship in our beautiful, historic sanctuary, which has been restored and prepared for the next century of ministry and anticipating the new changes on our campus as our church moves forward, with clear 2020-vision for our ministries in 2020 and beyond!!”

Steve Franks

Trustees Moderator

By day, Steve is a career coach for a global talent development company: Career Development, Executive Coaching.

He has been a member of Oak Lawn UMC for 4.5 years.

Previously Steve served as a greeter, usher, member of SPRC for 3 years (one of which as chair). He is also currently a member of North Central Conference Metro District Superintendency Committee which functions as the Metro District’s SPRC.

This year, Steve is most excited to … “Continue to partner with the staff and clergy in serving our mission field!”

Dr. Gretchen Toler-Debus

Staff Parish Relations Moderator

During working hours, Gretchen is an MD, practicing internal medicine with a specialty in preventative medicine.

She has been a member of Oak Lawn UMC since 1992, but she has been attending OLUMC since 1986.

Gretchen has served as the Chair for Council of Ministries as well as the Grow representative. She is also a member of the OLUMC choir and currently leads the 9:30am Grow study on Sunday mornings. She is also our humble prayer warrior for worship each Sunday!

This year Gretchen is most excited about… “The work Cathy Bryan and others are doing with the first floor renovations that will enable us to serve our low-income neighbors; the sanctuary restoration; the new people who are coming to worship and serve at Oak Lawn; and the work Pastor Rachel is doing to help bring about change in the UMC.”

Jim May

Finance Moderator

In his 9-5, Jim works as a Healthcare IT Consultant.

He has been a member at Oak Lawn UMC for 2 years.

Jim has served as the co-chair (with wife, Cathy Bryan) of the Overnight Warming Shelter Team and contributed to the 3rd floor design team.

For 2020, Jim is most looking forward to…”Returning to the restored sanctuary and the opening of the 3rd floor. It will also be exciting to see what services OLUMC offers through the Health and Wellness Hub. Additionally, it will be good to get the financial health of OLUMC stabilized in its operating expenses.”

Ryan Wager

Lay Leader

Monday through Friday, Ryan is an Associate Director at AT&T where he leads a team of project managers that specialize in Process and System Automation. He’s been with AT&T for 25 years!

Ryan has been a member of Oak Lawn UMC since June 2019.

Currently, Ryan serves with the Hospitality Team as a Greeter – Usher – & doer of many things in service (that’s why he’s always moving around!) He also became a certified lay servant in November 2019.

Here’s what Ryan has to say about this year: “2020 is a transformative year for us! Our campus improvements will enable us to grow our ministry and serve the Oak Lawn community in new ways!”

Deborah Austell

General Member

During the week, Deborah is in her 25th year of teaching second grade at a small, private preparatory school for Pre-K through Sixth grade. She also contributes to curriculum development and their after school and summer programs.

Deborah has been attending Oak Lawn since November of 2017 and officially joined in early 2018.

She served as a member of the One Board for 2019 and acted as Secretary for Trustees. She has also enjoyed co-chairing the Trans-Clothing Swaps for 3 years in a row and looks forward to the next one!

Heading deeper into 2020, Deborah says: “There are so many things to be excited about this year. I eagerly await worshiping again in our beautiful sanctuary and cannot wait to see the third and first floor plans and the vision for those spaces come to life. But even if all of those exciting things weren’t happening, I most look forward to worshiping each week with my church family and seeing love in action each week.”

Bill Alston

General Member

During working hours, Bill is a Decision Scientist, Lead Consultant at Tata Consultancy Services. He takes the data collected in the manufacturing process and works with a team to use it to develop models which improve the product or service provided to the customer.

Bill has been a member of Oak Lawn UMC for 2.5 years.

He has served previously as head of the GO committee and is very active with our Sunday evening community meal. He’s also involved in outreach programs like the Free-man house which ultimately help OLUMC with its impact in the community!

Bill is most excited this year about…”All of the changes to the facilities. They should attract more activities to this corner. Hopefully they will make OLUMC a brighter light to the community.”

Andy Jones

General Member

During the day, Andy works for Texas Capital Bank as Vice President and Manager of the Learning Experience Development Team.

Andy been a United Methodist all his life, but has been at Oak Lawn United Methodist for over ten years.

This is Andy’s first leadership position at Oak Lawn UMC and we are just THRILLED to have him!

Andy is excited this year for, “…working with this great Board and serving my church and my community.”

Lexi Reing

General Member

From 8-5, Lexi is a a Business Development Specialist for a Genetic Testing Lab that specializes in Women’s Health. She educates offices on the importance of preventative health care and serve as a resource to providers, staff members, and patients.

She has been a member of Oak Lawn UMC for almost a year on 3/24/20!

Lexi has served on the communication committee and she is currently involved with the warming shelter and Dallas Responds.

This year Lexi is, “…excited to see the sanctuary restored so we can do a big launch to open our doors to even more members!”

Ad Hoc Committees

Arts & Culture Hub Design Committee

AKA, “3rd Floor Design Team”

This fantastic team is researching, designing, networking and connecting to make our Art & Culture Hub on the 3rd floor a success.

Thanks to Mary Bode Adams, Joel Ferrell, Kim Velten and Scott Osborne for donating your time and talents to us!

Our committees are also open to all! If you’re interested in joining this committee, email us at


Health & Wellness Hub Design Committee

AKA, “1st Floor Design Team”

This group is researching, designing, networking and connecting to make our Health & Wellness Hub on the 1st floor a resourceful place for the community of Oak Lawn.

Thanks to Cathy Bryan, Bill Alston, Cassie Wohlfarth, Gretchen Toler-Debus and Uta Brinkman for donating your time and talents to us!

Our committees are also open to all! If you’re interested in joining this committee, email us at


Hospitality & Connections Team

How people feel when they walk into Oak Lawn UMC is VERY important to us. So much so, we have a Hospitality and Connections team! They act as greeters, ushers, helpers with communion and coordination of various things in service that work together to make Sunday a peaceful and enjoyable time of worship.

Thanks to Ryan Wager, Barry Benson, Fabian Horany and Mildred Lacy (and so many other greeters and ushers who volunteer!) We appreciate you all so much!

Our committees are also open to all! If you’re interested in joining this committee, email us at


Stewardship Committee

Our Stewardship committee is responsible for guiding the congregation in understanding the meaning of Christian stewardship and the need to practice it in all aspects of their lives; NOT just 💲! Their role is to lead the congregation to an understanding that people are stewards at all ages and in all stages of faith. They will lead the celebration of Christian stewardship in worship and fellowship opportunities throughout the year which includes financial giving, but also stewardship of resources (like our planet! 🌎)

Thanks to Jim May, Ryan Wager and Victoria Russo for your service on this committee!

Our committees are also open to all! If you’re interested in joining this committee, email us at


Discipleship Committee

Discipleship is an important part of our faith journey and we have an amazing team that works to innovate and create new pathways of discipleship. Whether Sunday Studies or Small Groups, this team is looking for interesting opportunities for us to learn and grow together!

THANK YOU to Dr. Gretchen, Fabian Horany, Ryan Wager, Chuck Aaron and Brenda Cowley for offering your ideas and energy to us; we are better for it!

Our committees are also open to all! If you’re interested in joining this committee, email us at


Outreach Committee

Our Outreach Committee is another shining example of how Oak Lawn UMC strives to go beyond the church walls into the community and provide care for those who need it!

Pat Jones is our staff lead and her efforts are strengthened with the help of Bill Allston, Jim May and Cathy Bryan. We give thanks for their service but also, their hearts of compassion and love. ♥️💪

Our committees are also open to all! If you’re interested in joining this committee, email us at


Nominations and Leadership Development Committee

The nominations and leadership development committee also has an incredibly important role: to identify, develop, deploy, evaluate, and monitor Christian spiritual leadership so that the congregation carries out the ministries for transformation of the community.

These folks are here to guide church leaders (whether called a church council or administrative board or another name) on matters regarding laity in leadership of the congregation.

We appreciate you Rev. Rachel, Mildred Lacy, Gretchen Toler-Debus and Gary Walden! Thank you for serving your church in such an important role!

Our committees are also open to all! If you’re interested in joining this committee, email us at