Loye Ashton – Desert Skies UMC, Tucson
Loye Sekihata Ashton has served as an ordained Deacon with the United Methodist Church since 2005 in the areas of education, music, worship, interfaith dialogue, and information and communications technology (ICT) ministry. He is the part-time Minister of Discipleship and Communications at Desert Skies United Methodist Church in Tucson, Arizona where he also plays percussion with the worship ensemble. As a Deacon, Loye serves full-time as the Director of Legacy Giving and Endowment at the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona (UWTSA) where he coordinates all aspects of high-level donor relationship management with regard to planned giving and building the endowment. Loye also supports international education equity as the Chief Academic Officer at Class2Class, an educational technology social enterprise based in Austin, Texas that empowers future ready graduates through collaborative intelligence solutions and has developed a leading global platform for virtual exchange and collaborative online international learning. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative religious philosophies from Boston University, has authored and edited numerous academic publications, and is the series co-editor for “Comparative Theology: Thinking Across Traditions” published by Fordham University Press.
Born in Key West and raised in North Dakota and Montana, he has been a drummer for over 45 years, recording and performing world music, jazz, rock, and blues. His oldest son, Michael, volunteers in the Ocala First United Methodist Church in Florida and is active in biomedical studies and student government at Westport High School. Loye is married to Akiko Sekihata Ashton, a children’s book illustrator and author who is also a highly experienced adjunct Japanese instructor (online) at Mississippi College. They have three boys: Zenji, who is in fourth grade at Sunrise Drive Elementary and who loves to play tennis, soccer, and Nintendo, and the twins, Kodo and Tenma, who attend kindergarten at Sunrise Drive Elementary and dream of building robots and often pretend to be cats. The whole family loves to hike and swim in Sabino Canyon and tries to spend time visiting family whenever they can in Tokyo, Japan.
As a non-profit business leader, minister, scholar, administrator, and musician, Loye’s mission is to promote wider global awareness, greater economic opportunity and social equity, expanded educational access, and deeper spiritual reflection in order to foster intercultural cooperation and respect for human dignity among people from every walk of life.
Meredith Joubert – St. Paul’s UMC, Tucson
Meredith was born in the Bible belt of the east Texas Piney Woods. She has a Master of Science in Psychology with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy. Meredith received an unexpected and clear call to ordained ministry during General Conference 2019, but now realizes that it came much earlier. Married 20 years and a mother of four, she’s a trail runner and chicken farmer, and her love language is baking. Meredith comes from five generations of Methodists and credits her grandmother for the example that our Methodist faith is lived through more than attending church on Sundays. She was recently commissioned as a provisional deacon with a calling to advocacy and ministry to all families, but especially to LGBTQIA+, refugee families, and those touched by mental illness.
Michael Kerr-Osman – Catalina UMC, Tucson
Mike was born in Terre Haute, IN. However, six months later, his family moved to Las Vegas where his dad, a United Methodist pastor, took an appointment. The rest of his life has been spent in the Southwest with a little time in California and a long time in the Phoenix area. After graduating high school in Mesa, Mike received an English degree from Arizona State University. While there, he received a calling to ordained ministry. Leaving Arizona, Mike headed to California for seminary at Claremont School of Theology, graduating in 1996 with an MDiv and ordained as a deacon that same year. He also married Karen whom he met while they both attended seminary. In 1997, Mike finished a Doctor of Ministry with an emphasis on Latin American liberation theology and the empowerment of the oppressed. He was ordained an Elder in 2002.
After both he and Karen finished seminary, they moved to Tucson for his first appointment. Following that, they have lived in Patagonia, Casa Grande, Chandler, Show Low, and Glendale where Mike served seven different churches of various sizes. They have two daughters: Kaitlin and Cove. Kaitlin is finishing up a Modern Dance degree at the University of Utah. Cove began community college this year and plans to go into Marine Biology.
Mike’s professional interests include spiritual formation, theology (process, liberation, and postmodern), inclusivity and grace, and peaching/teaching. In the fall of 2021, Mike attended a conference in Minneapolis on Addiction and Faith and has been working on how the church can support those in recovery. His personal interests are in reading, hiking, some biking, movies, and video games.