Bret Cogan, Pastor
One of my main principles for living life is to find the positive in each day. Sure there are days when this may seem difficult, but I found if I continue to look and if I am attentive to what is going on around me I always find something that leads me to an experience of peace, joy or wonder!
I believe music has the power to touch our hearts and lift our spirits… so I listen to a variety of music genres…. rock and roll, classical, blue grass and country. I play guitar myself and find the energy of music transcends all types of music genres. It connects us with one another.
The main focus of my work and ministry is to share and experience our common connection through the love and grace of God! I have learned in life that I usually don’t always have the answers, but I can trust the work we do together within God’s love and mercy knowing we will always find what we each need. Each week I try to preach lively sermons. It is my hope that you find something in them that will make you think, or cause you to look more deeply into yourself and how our lives connect through our faith. I do not seek to give people the answers as themselves. I am in my 11th year at Wesley Memorial UMC and I can tell you that I’m more optimistic about this day and this time than I have been in many of the other years before it. We’ve got some great people in this church who are kind and compassionate and who look to encourage the people around them. I feel the leadership we have at Wesley right now is as good as it has ever been. Come and check us out and see where we find our connection… You may just find what you were looking for.
Becky Dawson, Administrative Assistant
As the secretary of the church, I do a number of things from 9am to 1pm, Monday through Thursday. (The church office is closed on Fridays.) I help with administrative tasks for the pastor, prepare the weekly bulletin, keep the church calendar up to date, order books and supplies for the church and make copies of agendas, reports, Sunday School materials, posters of events, and such. Also, I answer the phones, and greet visitors who stop by to, among other things, check the fire-extinguishers, defend us against pests, deliver packages to the church, check the boiler room, do fire-safety inspections, etc. After retiring from 33 years of teaching, I decided to make church-work my second career. God led me to Wesley Memorial when the Staff-Parish committee was looking for new secretary. And I have been blessed to work with the staff and the members of the congregation for 10 years, now. It is a pleasure to be around and to work with the folks here. If you are looking for a church home, I hope you will check out Wesley Memorial UMC. I’m sure you will find a place where you can learn and grow, as well as help and serve others in the name of Jesus. Blessings!
Richard Smith, Youth Leader
I am extremely blessed to have been given the opportunity to work with the youth here at Wesley. A little background on me would be that I graduated from UNCG with a degree in middle grades education. I am currently in my 5th year teaching history and coaching basketball. I currently work at South Stokes High School. I look forward to the opportunities God provides to our youth to build up His body and spread His word.
Owen Dodds, Organist/Pianist
I am currently a sophomore in college at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. I was born in Rochester, New York. Winston Salem has been my home since 2005. I began studying piano at age ten. In 2009 I continued my study of the piano at the UNC School of the Arts. I have had the opportunity to perform in four different continents, including Europe, Africa, Asia, and in the United States and attended various summer music festivals including the Tibor Varga Music Festival in Switzerland, the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Vermont, the Inter Harmony International Music Festival in Germany, and the Rebecca Penney’s Piano Festival in Florida. I not only enjoy performing I also enjoy composing my own music. I have had the good fortune to receive compositional guidance from Kenneth Frazelle, David Maslanka, David Gordon, and Nicholas Rich. I have been serving as the pianist and organist for Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church of Winston-Salem since the fall of 2015.
Peyton Clifford, Music Director, Praise Cafe
Peyton Clifford was raised in Charlotte, NC, where his parents exposed him from an early age to everything from classical opera to The Rolling Stones to punk rock. He began performing in churches before at 13, and throughout high school he developed a serious interest in folk, jazz, and classical music, leading him to study composition at UNCSA. He is a firm believer in music as both a political/social tool and a basic human necessity. He enjoys cooking, playing accordion, learning about history, singing along poorly to David Bowie songs, and a few other things.