First United Methodist Church
Monday, October 18, 2021
Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.

ARC Pastors

Allegheny River Charge:    First United Methodist Church Kittanning, Ford Memorial United Methodist Church, Manorville United Methodist Church, Union Avenue United Methodist Church.
 
Senior Pastor:  Deborah Kociban
 

Raised in Montoursville PA as a United Methodist by a United Methodist mom and a Christian Science dad, who became a United Methodist the year she was confirmed, Deb said she sadly drifted away from the church while attending college. She earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she met her husband George, and worked as a lab technician. It was not until their daughter Whitney, born in 1985, was 5 years old that she returned to church as a member of Laketon Heights UMC in Penn Hills.  There she served as a member of the gospel choir, liturgist, Sunday school teacher and youth group leader.  As a youth group leader, Deb sensed God calling her to be a pastor.

So began a six-year journey as an evening student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary while working full-time in a cancer research lab at Allegheny General Hospital until 2007.  She completed her Master of Divinity degree and served as a student pastor at Muhleman Memorial UMC. "I give God all the credit for getting me and my family through those years and I thank God for George and Whitney who supported me and loved me along the way," says Pastor Deb. 

Before moving to the Templeton Charge in 2017, Pastor Deb served the Wesley Charge in McKeesport, PA as a full-time elder from 2007 to 2017. 

"I believe that as a people of Christ we should always operate out of a center of love of God and love for one another," says Pastor Deb. "With this centering of our lives together there will be adventures of ministry, joyful worship, Spirit-filled disciples and loving community."

She as been serving as Senior Pastor of the Allegheny River Charge since 2018.

 

Lay Minister: Terri Wells

Terri Wells grew up in Penfield, Pennsylvania in a family that didn't attend church. She says she has not walked a perfect path in this life, and "I praise Jesus for hanging on to me and not letting me go, even when I was trying to make my own way without him." 
She earned a bachelor's degree in Administration of Justice, with a minor in Psychology, from Penn State University and has worked in retail store management, as Asst. Deputy Warden of Treatment for Clearfield County Jail, Correctional Counselor for Indiana County Jail, Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist, for TSS, as a bank teller, a caseworker for Jefferson County Children and Youth and Indiana County Children and Youth, and a forensic Interviewer of children of sexual abuse. She currently is the Foster Care Coordinator for Indiana County Children and Youth.

Terri attended Penfield United Methodist Church, starting at the age of 10 and was confirmed as a member of that church at the age of 14. In 2006, she transferred her membership to the Smicksburg United Methodist Church. She has served the church as Admin Council leader, Women’s Group Leader, Vacation Bible School Leader, Youth Group Leader, and Sunday School leader.  She sang in the choir at Penfield for over 20 years. 

Terri married Ron in 2006 and he is her best friend. She has two adult sons from her first marriage. Keith Crawford is married to Lisa and they have two children Madelyn and Kodi. He is a former Marine and Air National Guard veteran and teaches at a State Correctional Facility in Eastern PA. Jason Crawford, his wife Kim and their sons Cullen and Liam live in Wiesbaden, Germany. He is on year 18 for the 82nd Airborne Paratroopers in the Army. 

Ron has a daughter Alicia Moore, who is married to Pat and they have two sons Peyton and Tanner. Ron also has an adult special needs son, Nathan Wells, who resides in a group home in Black Lick. 

Terri says that with all her life experiences and achievements, she values the next chapter of her life as "the greatest opportunity that I could ever have, to dedicate my life to sharing the love of Jesus Christ. I am so excited to explore the word of the Lord with my new brothers and sisters in Christ. To allow God to work through me and use me to bring souls home to him." 

She has been serving as Lay Minister of the Allegheny River Charge since July 2021.