DSC Extension Ministries

There are a multitude of ways that elders and deacons in the Desert Southwest Conference are serving God beyond the local church, offering vital ministries to the Church and the world. These extension ministries unite a clergy’s gifts and the needs of the world. They also extend the ministries of the Desert Southwest and the church universal in ways that cannot be accomplished by clergy with full time responsibility to a parish and its ministry to the world.

We can view extension ministries through the lens of our Conference strategic directions: social holiness, leadership development, and new faith communities. Through outreach ministries such as the ECH/Justa Center and TMM Family Services, extension ministers are working hard to offer food, shelter, transition assistance, advocacy, relationships and worship opportunities for every age level (Social Holiness). Campus ministries, The Academy for Spiritual Formation, El Aposento Alto, Piecing Stories and more are providing spiritual formation opportunities and encouraging faith leaders whose hearts are transformed and who are eager to be engaged in bearing witness to God’s grace in tangible ways (Leadership Development). Clergy who provide leadership in planting new churches or even who serve in counseling centers and as hospital and hospice chaplains share hearts of compassion that enable people to experience God’s love, heal and grow spiritually and engage in amazing ways in matters of the soul (New Faith Communities).

It is cause for celebration that clergy appointed to our conference serve God within the geographical boundaries of the Desert Southwest Conference and beyond in places like Ohio, Tennessee, Africa, Cuba and throughout the world. Praise be to God as we seek to be one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world!

Extension Ministers

Rev. Karen Appleby

Rev. Appleby became a Deacon because she wanted to support, hold trust and have faith in the United Methodist Church’s call to the new order of Deacon.  It was, and is, very important to her to be in a covenant community with others answering the same call.

The order of Deacon, calls her from the community gathered at the Table, into the journey of faith found in others’ lives.  She serves them in areas of education, experiences and spiritual formation.

Click here to email Rev. Appleby.

Rev. Brian Austill

Pastoral Counselor at Samaritan Center of the Rockies, in Edwards, Colorado.


Click here to email Brian Austill.

Rev. DeeDee Azhikakath
Wesley Foundation, Tucson Area

The Wesley Foundation in Tucson serves the students at the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, as well as local trade schools.  This traditional community of students is committed to living in faith, love and service, to develop their relationship with God.  It is through the strong partnership with the local churches in the South District that this ministry remains a vital, significant ministry with a full-time campus minister for the students in the Tucson area.

Click here to email Rev. Azhikakath.

Joseph Brown

Serving as Chaplain at Northwest Medical Center in Tucson.

Click here to email Joseph Brown.

Jerome G. (Jerry) Blankinship,
Director of Pastoral Care & Sr. Chaplain at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center

Rev. Blankinship ministers at a 730 bed general/acute care hospital. There he directs pastoral services and helps community clergy make visitations, etc.  He also serves on several hospital committees including the Bio Ethics Committee.

Rev. Blankinship can be reached by writing to 3186 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV, 89109 or by calling him at 702-731-8069. 


Rev. Karol Brecheisen
Prayer Watch International

Prayer Watch international is an ecumenical parachurch ministry which seeks to teach, tool and equip individuals and churches in prayer.  PWI teachers minister on five different continents in local churches and at the denominational level.  In addition to teaching on prayer, PWI is committed to pray with fasting for the Body of Christ worldwide.

Click here to email Rev. Brecheisen.

Rev. Joseph Brown
Chaplain, Northwest Hospital, Tucson

Rev. Brown is  one of several unpaid chaplains at northwest hospital.  They visit between 30 to 50 patients every day.  His  main task is to coordinate who needs to be visited and to enter all information into the computer system of the hospital.

Click here to email Rev. Brown.

Rev. Bev Devine
Associate Chaplain – The Beatitudes Campus

Rev. Worden Devine considers herself privileged to serve amid much wisdom and extraordinary life experiences.  Her “congregation” of senior residents and diverse staff representing 29 countries provides precious opportunities for Christian and interfaith relationships.  This appointment affirms her call to ministry that includes both parish and hospital/hospice servanthood.  At the Beatitudes Campus, moment-by-moment, step-by-step, ministry happens on the sidewalks and in homes.  There, “it’s about living ... with compassion, accountability, respect, and excellence.” Praise God!

Click here to email Rev. Worden Devine.


Rev. Carmen M. Gaud
International Editor, El Aposento Alto General Board of Discipleship

Rev. Gaud’s  responsibilities are editing the meditations in the Spanish edition of The Upper Room; and overseeing the production and distribution of the magazine in countries outside the United States.  Right now, she works to help  produce and distribute El Aposento Alto in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia.  From these countries and from the USA, we serve many other Spanish speaking nations in the world.

Click here to email Rev. Gaud.

Rev. Jerry Haas
Academy for Spiritual Formation, Upper Room, GBOD

About 50% of Rev. Haas’ work is directly involved with supporting, promoting, managing and developing the Academy, a retreat offering of The Upper Room.  More information about this ministry can be found at www.upperroom.org/academy .   The other 50% of his work includes a wide variety of ministries related to supporting spiritual leadership: publishing, spiritual direction ministry, programs and conferences (such as SOULFiesta) and international relations.  As a program director at The Upper Room, he is called on in a variety of ways to serve not only United Methodist congregations, but other denominations as well. 

Click here to email Rev. Haas or call him at 1-877-899-2781, ext. 7232. 
Upper Room Ministries, P.O. Box 340004, Nashville, TN. 37203-0004. 

Gary W. Kriege, M.A.,
Arizona Interfaith Counseling

Gary is appointed as a pastoral counselor, and is also the Clinical Supervisor for the group.  The mission of his ministry is to provide quality and affordable counseling and psychotherapy services to all referred individuals, couples and families.  Hi ministry seeks empowerment and growth through the integration of theology and spirituality with psychology and psychotherapy.

Rev. Kriege can be reached by calling 602-285-1930 or click here to send him an email.  

Rev. Cynthia Langston Kirk
Piecing Stories: Creative Art & Spiritual Formation Ministry

Piecing Stories (exploring and expressing the Sacred) is a creative ministry committed to people experiencing God’s invitational love and redeeming hospitality. Through writing (poems, liturgy, lyrics, etc.), retreats, art, and pastoral care, Cynthia Langston Kirk seeks to reveal and encourage the connections between our stories and between our stories and God’s Story. Cynthia, an elder in the United Methodist Church, serves God through this Desert Southwest appointment to Piecing Stories.  

Website: www.piecingstories.com
Email Rev. Langston Kirk here.

Rev. Donna Morley
Staff Chaplain, Grant Medical Center Columbus, Ohio

As a staff chaplain at the level one trauma hospital, Rev. Morley’s ministry is varied and often fast paced.  Pastoral care is an integral part of the interdisciplinary team at Grant.  We (chaplains) respond to all code blues, level one traumas and all deaths.  Decedent care is a priority: chaplains are present for every death.  We provide family and staff support-make calls to the coroner, calls regarding organ/tissue donation, funeral homes, and to families who are not present.  As the critical care chaplain, she is involved daily with do not resuscitate orders, advance directives, and bioethical concerns. 

Click here to email Rev. Morley.

Rev. Larry R. Norris
President, Cook School for Christian Leadership

The essential mission of Cook School for Christian Leaderships is to “empower, educate and equip Native Americans for leadership in both their churches and communities”. Cook School was established in 1911 by Charles Cook, who served as a teacher and pastor to native people in central and southern Arizona between 1870 and 1910.  The school is one of seven “historic, racial-ethnic schools of the Presbyterian Church, USA.”

Click here to email Rev. Norris.

Rev. Tina Marie Reese

Rev. Reese’s call asks her to sit with God’s broken children in whatever situation they might be in and not to shy away from what can be sometimes very gruesome stories.  She journeys with them as they walk towards wholeness, as they take up their life again, and she gets the blessing of being present to God’s creativity when God heals people and brings them to a new wholeness they didn’t eve know was possible.

Click here to email Rev. Reese.

Rev. Scott Ritchey
Justa Center

Justa Center is the only senior center in Arizona that cars specifically for homeless individuals who are 55 years of age or older.  They see about 100 people a day and provide basic needs, as well as advocate for family appropriate living areas.

Justa Center is located at 1001 W. Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ 
Phone: (602) 254-6524.

Click here to email Rev. Ritchey.

Rev. Robert Rynders
Director, United Methodist Campus Minister

Rev. Rynders servs at Arizona State University's Wesley Foundation. Wesley Campus Ministry calls Valley college students to seek Christ with adventurous spirits, questioning minds and compassionate hearts, and to live as faithful servants in the church and the world. Wesley is a ministry of The United Methodist Church open to all students regardless of their religious backgrounds.

Rev. Rynders can be contacted at :
Arizona State University Wesley Foundation
215 E. University Dr.
Tempe, AZ 852821
Phone: (480) 966-8425

Rev. Dr. Richard W. Smith
St. Rose Dominican Hospital, Henderson, NV

Dr. Smith is a  Board Certified Chaplain at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson, Nevada. Currently, he is appointed to the Palliative Care Program Development assisting families in coping with new diagnosis for Cancer, Renal Failure, COPD and Congestive Heart Failure; and transitions to Hospice programs.  He is a former Air Force Chaplain now in his 8th year at St. Rose Hospital.   To contact:  OP: 702-616-4591; CP: 702-498-5845.

Click here to email Rev. Dr. Smith