Board of Laity

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The purpose of the Board of Laity is to prepare and encourage all people in a life of Christian layservantministries_logodiscipleship.

The Book of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church 2016 ¶631 states that the board should:

  • Foster an awareness of the role of laity both within the local congregation and through their ministries in the home, work place, community, and world in achieving the mission of the Church.
  • Develop and promote stewardship of time, talent, and possessions within the Annual Conference in cooperation with the Conference Council on Ministries.
  • Relate to, support, and assist in coordinating the activities of the following organized laity of the conference:
    • Lay Servant Ministries
    • United Methodist Men
    • United Methodist Women
    • United Methodist Young Adults
    • United Methodist Youth



Holly Neal: Tennessee Conference Board of Laity Chair

(931) 265-0824

Holly Neal was elected as the Conference Lay Leader at the 2012 Tennessee Annual Conference.

Holly is a member of Fairfield Glade UMC in Crossville, Tennessee.

The Conference Lay Leader’s responsibilities include:

  • Working with the Bishop as partners in ministry
    Advocating for the role of the laity in the life of the Church
  • Enabling and supporting lay participation in the planning and decision-making processes of the Annual Conference, the Districts, and the Local Church by working with the Local Pastors, the District Superintendents, Conference staff and the Bishop
  • Fostering awareness of the role of the laity within the congregation, as well as in their homes, work places, communities, and the world in accomplishing the mission of the church
  • Relating to the organized lay groups in the Conference such as United Methodist Men, United Methodist Women and United Methodist Youth and Young Adults
  • Attending the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders
  • Attending meetings of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Association of Annual Conference Lay Leader

BROWN, GeorgeGeorge Brown: Associate Lay Leader

(931) 212-4637

George Brown was elected as the Conference Associate Lay Leader in 2012. He is a member of Hillsboro First UMC.

Brown served as the Murfreesboro District Lay Leader from 2009-2013. Brown is interested in fostering a true team partnership with the laity and clergy.

He would like to see more small accountability groups within our conference and helping to realize the mission field is wherever we, Methodist Christians, happen to be- at work, home, the ball field, etc.

Brown is involved in Nashville Emmaus Community and helped lead Emmaus Startups in Bulgaria and Ireland.


Board Members:

John I. Carney: Stones River District Lay Leader

(931) 842-4824

John is a member of First UMC in Shelbyville, Tennessee. He spent 34 ½ years as a newspaper reporter and editor before taking a job with Bedford County government in March 2020. He is a long-time lay speaker. He is a former member of the Mountain T.O.P. board of directors and has been on nine short-term foreign mission trips. He is the son of Jack V. Carney, a retired local pastor serving Mt. Lebanon UMC near Shelbyville.

BOWEN, WilliamBill Bowen: Conference United Methodist Men’s President

(615) 860-7827




Children’s Ministries Chairperson TBA

Trevor GentryTrevor Gentry: Young People’s Representative

(931) 703-9270

Trevor Gentry is the Youth Director at Smyrna First United Methodist Church. Trevor graduated from Martin Methodist College in 2015 with a degree in Churches Educational Ministries with an Emphasis in youth. He is now a Seminary Student at Center for Youth Ministry Training and serves as the Youth Director at Smyrna First United Methodist Church.

Annette King, Caney Fork River District Director of Lay Servant Ministries

(931) 212-3832
222 King St. Sparta, TN 38583

Annette King is a member of Kynett UMC in Sparta, TN.  She is currently serving as LSM  Director of the Caney Fork River District.  “Be the type of person that no matter where you go or where you are, you always add value to the lives of others around you.”

Ethnic Lay Servant Ministries TBA

Dianne D HollandDianne D. Holland: Conference Director of Lay Servant Ministries and Harpeth River District Director

(931) 540-8411
P.O Box 540
Columbia, TN 38402

Dianne has served as the conference lay director since February 2021, and in her district role since July 2010. She is a member of Bethlehem UMC in Franklin. She has been active in the United Methodist Church for many years in many different areas on a local church level, district level, TN Conference level, and Jurisdictional level. She has chaired committees, served on committees, and continues to serve on committees.

Jeannetta Hitt: Harpeth River District Lay Leader

Jeannetta is an active member of the Bon Aqua United Methodist Church in Bon Aqua, TN.  She began serving as the District Lay Leader in 2019 and also serves on the Leadership Team for the Harpeth River District.



Joe Holland: Harpeth River District Associate Lay Servant Director

(931) 540-8411

P.O Box 540
Columbia, TN 38402

Byron Kanaday: Cumberland River District Lay Leader

(615) 428-9430

Byron is a lifelong Methodist and attended Inglewood United Methodist for over 60 years. He is now a member of Hendersonville First UMC and serving as District Lay Leader for the Cumberland River District.

Michael Lorance: Caney Fork River District Lay Leader

(931) 212-4744

Michael is a member of Centertown UMC where he serves as lay leader.



Bruce Myers

Bruce Myers: Red River District Associate Lay Leader

(931) 206-2562

Bruce Myers is a member of Hilldale United Methodist Church in Clarksville and is Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology at Austin Peay State University. He was a long-time director of Lay Servant Ministries in the Clarksville District and has held many leadership positions in his Church and in the District. His chief area of interest is in working with small rural churches.

Ruthan PatientRuthan Patient: Stones River District Director of Lay Servant Ministries

(615) 274-2354

10234 Taylor Road
Rockvale, TN 37153

Ruthan has held this position since 2011. She is a certified Lay Minister at Concord UMC in Rockvale, where she’s been a member for over 30 years.

denise-skidmoreDenise Skidmore: Red River District Director of Lay Servant Ministries

(931) 624-3181

1042 Periwinkle Place
Clarksville, TN 37040


STEGER, CliffCliff Steger: Red River District Lay Leader

(615) 371-5852

Cliff Steger is a member of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church where he participates in its Christian Education program as a Sunday school teacher; member of the chancel choir and other local church and community ministries.

Cliff has represented the Conference as a member of the General Board of Church and Society as Chair of the Ethnic and Local Church Funds Committee. He is a past President of the United Methodist Men for the Tennessee Conference and is currently serving as Lay Leader for the Nashville District.

Nita Wright: Conference United Methodist Women’s President

(615) 828-9279