The Goal of the Blue Ridge District
Clergy & Staff

is to cast vision for our ministry together in connection with the United Methodist Church and the Western North Carolina Conference, and to provide support for our leaders, both
ordained and lay.


District Superintendent - Beth Crissman

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Rev. Beth M. Crissman is the District Superintendent and Chief Missional Strategist in the Blue Ridge District in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Additionally, Beth and her husband Kelly are the founders of Plowpoint, a non-profit organization committed to transforming leaders and churches for the transformation of local communities through which Beth as trained over 35 teams of clergy in laity in conferences throughout the United Methodist Church to strengthen churches and church leaders.

Beth is the author of four books: Longing to Belong to equip individuals to respond to conflict, How We Lead, to strengthen the effectiveness of leadership, Stepping in the Stream, a study for guiding churches in gaining clarity in their vision and function, and Choosing the Faithful Path, a bible study, discernment and assessment process for church revitalization or transition to legacy closure. Beth, a native of Graham, N.C. is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (BS Nursing), University of California-Los Angeles (MNursing-Family Nurse Practitioner), and Emory University (MDiv). She and Kelly have two grown children, James a graduate of Emory University who is living and working in Atlanta and Maddie, a senior and research assistant at American University in Washington, D.C.


Church Vitality Strategist - Rob Parsons

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Rev. Rob Parsons has served as the pastor of Saluda and Columbus United Methodist Churches since 2008, is no stranger to the District! In addition to his pastoring churches, Rob has also served with Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, Polk County Behavioral Task Force, Head Start Policy Council, and the Board of Directors for the UNC-Asheville Campus Ministry while teaching part-time at UNC-A.

At Saluda-Columbus, Rob found his deepest joy in working with others to bring to reality a Welcome Table, Congregations-4-Children in Polk County, and Stone Soup – a worship laboratory. Rob is an avid white water kayaker as captured in his TED Talk “Increasing My Capacity for Awe and Other Lessons Learned Kayaking on the Green River.”

Rob is a graduate of Furman University and Yale Divinity where he met his wife Ali Heston. Rob and Ali have three children: Zoe, 16, is a junior at Polk County High School; Caleb, 21, is a senior at Emory University; and Micah, 23, is the media manager for a nonprofit camp and experiential school outside of Brevard.

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Clergy Relations - Ruth Kapely

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Ruth is the administrative assistant of clergy relations in the Blue Ridge District of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. She has been serving the Western North Carolina Conference for 23 years, beginning her tenure as the administrative assistant for the Marion district. Prior to joining the Western North Carolina Conference, Ruth served as an office manager for Battles Construction Company.

Ruth has two daughters, Christina who lives in Charlotte, NC and Angie, a graduate and Fulbright Scholarship recipient of UNCG, who is currently working in Saudi Arabia.

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Ruth now resides in Marion, NC with her husband Tony. Ruth’s greatest joys are spending time with grandson Foster, tinkering with landscaping/gardening and sitting on her deck taking in all nature has to offer!


Church Relations - Debra Luther

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Debra Hinson Luther was born and raised in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina! She graduated from Brevard College in 1973 with an AA degree and from Pfeiffer University in 1975 with a BA in Christian Education. She was instrumental in establishing the Snow Hill Child Enrichment Center in Candler where she was the director for seven years. In 1991, she began her career with the Western North Carolina Conference and has now completed 26 years where she serves as the Administrative Assistant of Church Relations.

She is the mother of two daughters and “two sons”, Shannon and Chris Driver and Megan and Josh Hollingsworth. One of her favorite activities outside of work is spending time with her four grandsons ... Micah, Ryker, Zachary and Zayden. She also enjoys playing in the dirt (gardening) and creating memories (scrapbooking).