Women In Leadership

This episode of our "The God in Me Sees the God in You" series brings together four strong women who've graced BIUMC with their bold, brave, and kind leadership throughout the years. Hear them share their experience as a leader in and out of the church, and what role their faith played along the way.

We've listed some of the roles our panelists have served over the years. We've also asked them, "Why did you first come to BIUMC and why do you keep coming back?" Read their answers below and watch the episode for more from these great women.

Ashley Granger
Activities and Leadership Roles at Bethel

  • Vacation Bible School/Sports Camp
  • Upward
  • Youth Fellowship
  • Sonshine
  • Belize Mission Trips
  • Craft Show
  • Drive-Through Live Nativity
  • Agape & Bethel Choir
  • Worship Leader

When I was about a month old, my mom and dad were touring different churches in the area and I was in a stroller, and I have been a member most of my life. From that moment, I made lifelong friends, went to preschool here with Sarah DeWees as my preschool teacher, and then joined Sonshine and Youth Fellowship once I was old enough. When I was in college I had to take a step back because I couldn’t set foot in Bethel without feeling ashamed and silenced by certain people in leadership. 

During COVID, I decided to come back after Mark Fox asked me to sing a song for an online service. I am back because I missed the community and because some of my favorite people are here and I finally feel like I can share my voice and my story without others shaming me. I also came back because I have family here, my biological family but also my Bethel family. I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for the people I have grown up with here.

Carla Granger
Activities and Leadership Roles at Bethel

  • Vacation Bible School
  • Always Making Food!
  • Children’s Ministry
  • Craft Show
  • Welcome Team
  • Many More . . .

We were looking for a church to have Ashley baptized. We church-shopped with no luck. I was on my way home from an appointment and saw the church and just stopped by. Bonnie Hardesty gave me and Ashley (in a stroller) an hour-long tour of the history of Bethel. We went to the traditional service; I liked it. The next Sunday, we went to the contemporary service and I fell in love with the music. People talked to us at both services and continued to talk with us as we came to several services. We felt the love here at Bethel and knew this was where we wanted to start Ashley's Christian journey.

Peggy Kasten
Activities and Leadership Roles at Bethel

  • Chair and Member of Administrative Board
  • Chair and Member of Staff/Parish Committee
  • 5th & 6th Grade Sunday School Teacher
  • Foreign Mission Trips: Honduras, Armenia, Belize
  • Member Disciples Sunday School Class 40+ years
  • Active Small Group Member (Authentic Living)
  • Free Community Dinner Team Member
  • Live Nativity/International Christmas Art Team
  • Social Justice Team
  • Micah Monday Participant

In 1976 we came to Columbus because Donald had accepted a faculty position in the College of Engineering at Ohio State. I had also been accepted into the Mathematics Education Ph.D. program at OSU. We were Methodists and visited several Methodist Churches before deciding on Bethel. I have heard lots of people say that denomination doesn’t make a difference, but it does to me. I am smart enough to know that is because I was raised a Methodist, as opposed to thinking the Methodist Church is superior in every way to every other denomination. But I believe the structure and governance of the Methodist Church (itinerant ministers, connectionalism, relationships to hospitals and universities . . .) provide opportunities for spiritual growth and service that are unique. I am also a fan of John Wesley. I understand he was a quirky guy in some ways, hence the name “Methodist.” But “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to ALL the people you can, as long as you ever can” is a good goal. Bethel was a perfect fit. The minister, Dale Bumgardner, was a model of graciousness, thoughtfulness, and tolerance. And then there was our Sunday School class--people of our age and general place in life. Over the years Bethel provided Rick Doran to teach Sarah’s Sunday School Class and Jeff Smith to teach ours, opportunities for life changing foreign mission trips, opportunities to witness to our local community, and a loving and intellectually stimulating and challenging community that really is like family—we might disagree, but we love each other.

Shirley Adams
Activities and Leadership Roles at Bethel

  • Sunday School
  • Bible Studies
  • Bake Sales
  • United Methodist Women (now United Women of Faith)
  • Election Day Bazaar & Lunch
  • Mother/Daughter Banquets
  • Celebration of Life Meals
  • Yard Sales
  • Coat Check
  • Nursery Worker
  • Craft Marketplace
  • Leadership Roles
  • Sunday School Teacher
  • UMW Circle Leader, Treasurer & Secretary
  • Church Treasurer & Finance Committee
  • Administrative Board
  • Preschool Substitute Teacher

I had just married and moved into the neighborhood. I first attended Bethel because I knew it was of the faith I was raised in and it was within walking distance of my new home. I continued attending as Bethel reminded me of my home church in size and the mix of generations. Also there were several adult Sunday School classes as well as children’s classes that were broken into age groups. Over the years Bethel has become my family away from home, especially apparent at the tragic death of my son, Kenny, and a few years later at the sudden death of my husband, Ben. The cards, prayers, and loving support during those trying times means so much.