Christopher Dinnell has been appointed lead pastor of Urbana United Methodist Church.
He will succeed Rev. Jim Lillibridge when he retires Dec. 31 after serving as Urbana UMC’s lead pastor since 2011, and after 41 years of ministry in the United Methodist Church.
Dinnell, who is currently serving as Pastor of Community Engagement and Family Ministry, has served at Urbana UMC since 2010, when he joined the church staff to lead youth ministries.
He has served in his current position since 2018, after becoming a licensed local pastor in the United Methodist Church. In this position, he has helped lead the congregation in expanding outreach to the community.
“Our church has been blessed with outstanding pastoral leadership, from Pastor Jim and Pastor Christopher,” Cori Mowrey, chairperson of the church’s Servant Leadership Board, said.
“We’re grateful that Pastor Christopher, his wife, Bekah, and their three daughters will continue to enrich our church and community. We’ll miss Pastor Jim and his wife, Tammy, but we’ll continue to benefit from the fruits of Pastor Jim’s leadership, discipling, preaching and friendship, and the mentoring he provided Pastor Christopher as they ministered together.”
During his ministry in Urbana, Pastor Lillibridge worked closely with Pastor Dinnell and other church staff and lay leaders to lead the congregation in fulfilling its mission, to Ignite Faith Through Service and to Reach People Far from God. In this time, the church:
· Purchased the former Urbana Twin Cinemas, with the aim to use it to reach, restore and revive the community to the glory of God
· Gifted the theater, renamed the Gloria Theatre, to the GrandWorks Foundation to manage and restore the facility to benefit the community culturally, socially, economically and spiritually
· Constructed a new building for the church’s food pantry ministry, the WhereHouse, “where God’s love meets practical needs”
· Built partnerships with other churches and organizations to further minister to the needs of people in the community
· Established the Stephen Ministry, to care for people in need, a dinner ministry, community events like Trails and Treats, and community mission projects
Pastor Lillibridge will lead his last services at the church on Christmas Eve, but the church will honor him and his wife, Tammy, at a celebration church service at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, followed by a luncheon at the church.