Rev Dr Tommy McDoniel
Pastor Tommy is Asbury’s spiritual leader, teacher and visionary and has been pastor of Asbury since 2010. Pastor Tommy has a passion for ministry with the poor and oppressed and serves in numerous citywide organizations. He chairs the Urban Ministry Committee and is a Trustee on the Board of Missions for the Crossroads District UM Churches. Rev Tommy is also a member of the Flint Literacy Network and a Chaplain for the Flint Police Department. Prior to ministry Rev Tommy held executive positions at several software companies. He received his Master of Divinity from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary his Doctor of Ministry from Ecumenical Theological Seminary. Rev Tommy also holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Computer Science.
Israel Unger is our Resident Entrepreneur and Business Development Manager. Israel is a social entrepreneur with a background in micro-finance and has published numerous reports on the impact of microfinance in the developing world. Israel traveled throughout Africa working on projects such as a solar installation for a school in Nigeria and crowdfunding for a non-profit in Uganda. Israel’s drive is to make a positive impact in the world and believes that this can happen best from the ground up. Israel is looking to be one of the many that can be instrumental in turning Flint into a cluster of innovation in urban farming. Israel holds a Master of Economics from Uppsala University in Sweden and a Master of International Financial Management from Groningen University in The Netherlands.
Jim Craig wears many hats at Asbury including Church Leadership Team and Chair of the Asbury CDC Board. This is just the beginning. After retiring from General Motors Jim has dedicated much of his time to working in our neighborhood. Jim has mentored youth and volunteered for numerous youth activities. Jim oversees our participation in Clean & Green, the maintenance of Asbury owned and the fabrication of park benches by community youth.
Mark Vorenkamp is the Asbury Youth Program Coordinator. Mark has worked with youth, creating and supervising youth programs for the past ten years. Mark is also a writer. He has a BA in English (with an Education concentration) from Michigan State University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Spalding University. Mark is also manages Asbury’s media technology that supports community events including concerts, worship and plays.
Connie Portillo has been Asbury’s secretary since 2006. Her primary role is to keep things running smoothly in the office. As the first person many people talk to at Asbury, Connie’s voice is familiar to most of our neighbors. Connie is fluent in both English and Spanish. She was born in Mexico and moved with her family to Flint when she was nine years old. She has lived in Flint for most of her life. Connie graduated from Bendle High School and attended Mott College where she majored in business administration.
Kevin Croom is our Director of Farm to Table Operations and Executive Chef. Kevin has worked in the food service industry for over twenty years serving as Executive Chef and heading up operations. Kevin oversees operations for the Asbury Farm, our in-house food production and café and our Neighborhood Connect program that delivers bottled water and food items to over 1,000 families each week. Kevin has Associate Degrees in Culinary Arts and Marketing and is a Veteran of the U.S. Navy having served in Desert Storm, the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
Sylvia Pittman is Asbury’s Director Musical Arts. In her role she oversees the worship band as vocal coach, producer and spiritual coach. Sylvia recently retired as the Chair of the Voice Department of the Flint School of Performing Arts where she taught Voice to people of all ages including Early Childhood Music and was the Flint Festival Youth Chorus Director. Sylvia holds a Bachelors of Music in Education from Northern Michigan University and a Masters of Music in Performance from the University of Michigan. Sylvia has more than 20 years of experience teaching private voice, public school and directing choirs and also performs a variety of vocal styles from jazz to opera. Sylvia works as a vocal coach for recording artists and is often requested as a studio musician.
Matt DePalma has been Urban Farming for 7 years. Matt completed MSU’s Master Gardener Course and practiced Permaculture techniques across the US and Puerto Rico.
Terry Kinzie, a life long native of Flint, Manages the Asbury Farm. Terry knows what it is like to grow up in a depressed city and he devotes most of his time addressing the negative mental and physical conditions. He has since found natural solutions through gardening and landscaping, gaining knowledge of nutrition and permaculture as avenues contributing to the health of mind and body. Terry is actively working to be part of the change of the culture in one of the most economically depressed neighborhoods in Flint by forward looking at generating farming and educational opportunities to help stabilize the surrounding community by being part of the change.
Christine Heck is Asbury’s Treasurer. A lifetime native of Flint’s Eastside, Christine has seen the best and the worst of our neighborhood. In her professional career Christine worked in similar positions. Christine graduated from Central High School and studied Business Administration at Baker College.