Our Staff

Rev. Darrell Howard

Darrell and his wife Treva have lived in Clinton since 1989. They joined the Clinton United Methodist Church (CUMC) family and became members of CUMC church in 1998. Prior to that they were active members in the Sumner United Methodist church and Union Chapel Church in Sumner Illinois. They have two children. Daughter Brooke and husband Max Gibson live in Bloomington Illinois. Son Jason Howard and his wife Jean live in Plainfield Illinois. Two grandchildren Luke and Katie also have been a blessing in their lives.

Pastor Darrell Howard has been in pastoral ministry since 2010. Prior to that he was a certified lay speaker and served as a lay pastor in the Cumberland Presbyterian church from 2007 – 2010. From 2010 – 2018 he was appointed as pastor at Elkhart UMC for 8 years. During those 8 years he also served at Beason UMC for 6 years and New Holland UMC for 2 years. He served Long Creek and Dalton city churches for 1 year in 2018-2019. He was appointed to Clinton UMC on July 1, 2019.

Pastor Darrell was called to pastoral ministry in 1975 when he was 18 years old, but admits he dragged his feet for a while and finally answered the call in 2003 after a spiritual renewal. Pastor Darrell believes that any of us can be redeemed even after being disobedient to God’s call. Upon graduating from Eastern Illinois University in 1979, Pastor Darrell worked in the Information Technology field until 2018. Pastor Darrell feels that his life is more fulfilled since he is now obedient to the Lord in the call to ministry. God is good all the time.

Words to live by:

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

(Philippians 3:12-14 NLT)

Anita Gifford
Director of Music Ministries

Anita Gifford grew up in Decatur with piano lessons beginning at age 7. After studying piano at Northwestern University and then completing her Bachelor’s degree at Wheaton College, she moved back to Decatur where she met her husband of 34 years, David. She has held various musical roles at churches around Decatur, most recently, Riverside Baptist Church.  She also has the privilege of accompanying several ensembles around town, including choirs at Millikin University, the Greater Decatur Chorale, and Opus 24. Anita is so happy to be able to share and worship with the body of believers at CUMC. While she admits that Edd’s 45 years in music ministry here isn’t something she can top, she just considers each week of service a thrill and a privilege.

Anita is blessed beyond measure to be the mother of Haley, a music teacher at Rockford Lutheran Academy, and Hannah (Jeremy) Shull, a manager at Regions Bank in Decatur. Her granddaughter, Cora Jayne, is the newest joy of her life!

Words to live by:

“…And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

(Micah 6:8)

Elizabeth Cunningham
Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth grew up on a farm outside of Wapella. She is the 17th of John and Rozanne Karr’s 19 children. She received her degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State University. Once her youngest child started kindergarten, she began working as a teaching assistant. She began working as the Administrative Assistant at CUMC in April of 2018. She loves working where people pray for her to succeed!

Elizabeth lives just outside of Weldon. She is blessed with 4 amazing children — Dillon, Ethan, Caleb, and Hannah. Her youngest, Hannah, graduated from DeLand-Weldon High School in 2020. Elizabeth attends St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wapella where she has been a lifelong member.

Words to live by:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

(Galatians 5:22-25, NIV)
Jeannette Fought
Nursery Director

Jeannette is a member of Clinton United Methodist Church and a lifetime resident of Clinton, Illinois.  Jeannette and her husband, Patrick, have been blessed with five children — Kaitlyn, Emily, Madelyn, Dane, & Douglas .  As well as our Nursery Director, Jeannette is also employed with the Clinton School District as a Bus Driver.

Phoenix Bieber – Temporary Custodian/Maintenance