People of Faith: Nov. 6, 2015

People of Faith - GangedOMP announces new board members and mission coordinator

Ozark Mission Project (OMP) has named six new members to serve three-year terms on its board of directors, and has hired a new mission coordinator.

The new board members are: Steven Baker, a member of Fellowship Bible Church of Northwest Arkansas and a former OMP college staffer; Kirby Martens, an OMP volunteer and member of First UMC Mountain Home who serves that church as director of student ministries; Dr. Zack Shearer, a member of Pulaski Heights UMC Little Rock and a former college staffer for OMP; BK Simmons, a member of Crossroads Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, who became involved with OMP when the organization provided assistance to a member of his family; Donna Smith, a member of St. Paul UMC Little Rock and an OMP volunteer; and the Rev. Brittany Richardson Watson, pastor of Sylvan Hills UMC Sherwood and an OMP volunteer.

Carissa Tarkington

Carissa Tarkington

OMP’s new mission coordinator, Carissa Tarkington, is originally from north central Arkansas and graduated from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan., with a Bachelor of Arts in youth ministry. She now lives in Conway with her husband, Tark, and their two sons, Michael and Westley, where they attend First United Methodist Church. Before joining the staff at Ozark Mission Project, Tarkington spent more than a decade working in youth ministry. She may be reached at

Arkansas NOMADS attend annual meeting

A dozen Arkansans attended recently the 27th annual meeting of Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service (NOMADS). The meeting was held Sept. 27 through Oct. 1 in Kalamazoo, Mich., with more than 300 NOMADS in attendance. Each day’s agenda offered various activities including Bible studies, devotions, seminars to enhance work skills and leadership, entertainment and fellowship.

nomad2015NOMADS offers persons with recreational vehicles the opportunity to share their skills and time in United Methodist projects at locations such as churches, camps, mission agencies, local neighborhoods and sites that have a need for rebuilding following a disaster. NOMADS has more than 950 active members.

Arkansas NOMADS at the meeting included, from left: Paul and Kathy Bauer of Cherokee Village, Dan and Virgie Brown of Rogers, Howard and Carol Stoner of Texarkana, Cecil and Doris Jones of Royal, Al and Debbie Leth of Hot Springs Village and Jerrell and Linda Fielder of Conway.

Johnson honored with Marie Award

Amy Dunn Johnson, a member of First UMC Little Rock and executive director of the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission and Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation, on Oct. 19 received the 2015 Marie Interfaith Civic Leadership Award for her work on creating medical-legal partnerships. The ceremony included a panel discussion featuring Johnson and co-honoree Vince Morris, director of the Arkansas Legal Services Partnerships and the Arkansas Pro Bono Partnership.

Amy Dunn Johnson

Amy Dunn Johnson

The Marie Award recognizes outstanding Arkansans who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of the public interest by word, action and example through interfaith engagement and civic service over a number of years.

A graduate of Hendrix College and the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, Johnson coordinates efforts to address the civil legal needs of low-income Arkansans through policy initiatives, resource development, public education and legislative advocacy. She manages the IOLTA program in Arkansas, which collects interest earned on lawyers’ trust accounts and makes grants to support civil legal aid. She also is one of the founders of Harmony Health Clinic in Little Rock.