I am privileged to serve as the lead pastor at Clarkston United Methodist Church in Clarkston, MI. I was raised in Montrose, MI, graduated from Adrian College and Duke University: The Divinity School with a Masters of Divinity. I received my call to ministry at the age of 16. I am grateful after that call I had the chance to work in service stations, restaurants, do security work and drive semi-trucks cross country before I entered ministry. My love for church has always been mingled with a hunger to make faith applicable and real to every day life. My heart longs to offer a Gospel that changes lives. Our witness should always bring peace and justice. As I was taught long ago, where the Gospel is there is health and where there is no health, there is no Gospel. The greatest fun I have in ministry is when I can preach, teach and help make a place where others can thrive in their faith. I am blessed with 36 years of marriage to my wife Laura. We are blessed with our two daughters; Emily who lives outside of Chicago with her husband Martin and grandchildren Leah and Jasper; and Elizabeth who lives in North Carolina with her husband Matt and granddaughters Alaina and Caroline. My passions outside of ministry include a variety of sports as an observer and a lover of golf and fly fishing.
It's good to be serving with the team at Clarkston United Methodist Church. I grew up in Canton, MI, and graduated from Albion College. I received my Masters of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC, and I was ordained in 2014. I bring with me six years of experience serving as a solo pastor at Erie United Methodist Church in southern Michigan. My calling includes a passion for the creative. I love sharing God’s word through inspirational worship, transformational missions, and personal connection. At its best, church is a place where people can encounter God’s grace in new and surprising ways. Our walk with God is a constantly unfolding journey, and we each have a story to tell. I enjoy retelling stories from scripture, as well as stories of what God is doing in our world today. I look forward to what God will do among us in the future. I’m married to a wonderful man, Joel, who is the pastor of Goodrich United Methodist Church. We have a French Bulldog named Bubbles. When I’m not at church, I enjoy exploring libraries, gardening, taking rambling walks, and playing board games.
Minister of Congregational Care
Laura Speiran serves as Minister of Congregational Care and is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. As such, it is her calling and her passion to help connect the church with the world and the world with the church; she is always looking for ways we can connect with our community. She has a Bachelors in Philosophy from Mount Holyoke College, a Masters in Medical Social Work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and seminary training from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, which prepared her well to provide support and encouragement for those in our congregation who are going through difficult times. She visits people in nursing facilities, hospitals, and private homes, leads worship monthly at Autumn Ridge Assisted Living in Clarkston, maintains the prayer list, oversees homebound communion and our Parish Visitor Program, and loves to encourage people whenever she can. She is passionate about the church being a place of healing. It is her hope that people learn about the love God has for them here, be transformed into the people God has called them to be, and then become ambassadors of God’s love to a hurting world. She was born and raised in Michigan and currently lives in Waterford with her husband, Ross. They have two children, Rebecca, who is a pediatric nurse, and Eric, who is serving in the U.S. Navy. In her spare time she enjoys doing work for the conference level of the UMC, reading, and taking her kayak out on one of the many lakes in Waterford.
Director, Adult Education
It is a joy to be in ministry at Clarkston UMC as the Director of Adult Education. Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, educated with a Bachelors of Arts from Adrian College, a Masters of Christian Education and Masters of Divinity from The Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and a Doctorate of Ministry from the Ecumenical Theological seminary in Detroit. My wife Chris and I have been blessed with our daughter Julie, Son in law Matt and grandson Tristan. As my mentor used to say, I believe that the purpose of the lesson is not to learn the lesson but to carry the faith. As a Christian Educator I see the church as a place that invites and accepts whoever comes, feeds and nurtures them, and sends them back into the world to live the Great Commandment: “Love God and neighbor as yourself” and the Great Commission: “Go and make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”. We are all learners and teachers for one another and it all begins with listening to God’s Word, being a willing learner, living in Christ’s spirit and working for peace and justice for all people. My passion outside of ministry are Boy Scouting, fly fishing, biking and reading. My greatest joy is connecting people to people and people to God and all the things do just that.
Collen Godfrey is the Executive Director of Ministries at Clarkston United Methodist Church. Collen received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Linguistics from The University of Oklahoma. His graduate research focused on Crisis Management and Crisis Communications. Collen then worked in Law Enforcement, acting as an instructor and technology consultant in addition to regular patrol responsibilities. Collen’s experience in operations and administration has lead to the development of a highly efficient church staff and program environment at Clarkston United Methodist Church. Collen is a student in the National Institute for Church Finance and Administration at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. His interests include working with non-profit organizations to develop cost effective technology solutions to enhance communication, collaboration and administration. Collen’s hobbies include running, photography and web design.