Dr. Mary John Dye is the Senior Pastor at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. She has to Cornelius after serving the Western North Carolina Annual Conference as Superintendent of the Statesville District. Her term as superintendent follows 26 years as a pastor in United Methodist churches of all sizes and settings.
Dr. Dye began her ministry as the first cross-racial appointment in the Mississippi Conference (serving Rasberry United Methodist Church in the black community of Indianola, Mississippi. Indianola was in the spotlight of the nation as civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer went to the courthouse there to register to vote.) After moving to Western North Carolina in 1984, she served the Bethel-Piney Grove Charge outside of Waynesville; Spruce Pine UMC in Spruce Pine, NC; Jackson Park UMC, Kannapolis; Archdale UMC, Archdale, NC and Hawthorne Lane UMC, Charlotte.
Dr. Dye is a 3rd generation United Methodist pastor whose family roots are in Kentucky Methodism. Her grandfather, Dr. W.W. Shepherd was a circuit rider and her father, Dr. James A. Shepherd is still serving on the pastoral staff of First United Methodist Church in Frankfort, Kentucky. He is in his 74th year of ministry. Dr. Dye is the oldest of four children in the Shepherd family – each of whom has greatly influenced her life. Her sister, a neonatal physician, is the Director of Maternal and Child Health for the State of Kentucky; her brother, an attorney, is Circuit Judge in the Franklin Circuit Court in Frankfort, Kentucky and her youngest brother is pastor of the Erlanger United Methodist Church in Erlanger, Kentucky.
Dr. Dye is the proud mother of two accomplished young adult daughters, Christi DeSha Dye, a United Methodist minister at Swepsonville United Methodist Church, in the North Carolina Conference. Christi and her husband, Will, are proud parents of Jordan Maria (4) and Hanna Emmanuel "Emma") (2). Her daughter, Mary Allen Dye Conforti, also a graduate of Duke Divinity School works for Crosby Scholars in Salisbury. She and her husband, Rev. Mark Conforti are parents to grandsons, Connor (11) and Tyler (8) and granddaughter, Mia Rosalie (5).
Dr. Dye received her B.A. in History from Asbury College, her Master of Divinity Degree from Memphis Theological Seminary and her Doctor of Ministry from Drew University. She has an extensive record of continuing education leadership workshops and Clinical Pastoral Education.
Other Church Involvement:
As a longtime leader in youth work, she is the founder of the Good Word Resource Center at Lake Junaluska Assembly. In gratitude for the support of United Methodist Women, she has been active for decades in teaching United Methodist Women Schools of Christian Mission and preaching for United Methodist Women retreats and prayer breakfasts on the district, conference and jurisdictional levels. She is a trained leader for Stephen Ministry and has served in chaplaincy roles in hospitals for communities where she has been a pastor. She has a long history of being enthusiastically active in community work including Habitat for Humanity; starting a women’s shelter and promoting public education in a variety of ways. In her years on the District, she began a unique initiative for Preacher’s Kids and started memory-making, overnight experiences for grandparents and grandchildren at Camp Carolwood. A former columnist for the NC Christian Advocate, the Mitchell News Journal and the Charlotte Observer, she continues to write columns for the Western North Carolina Conference E-news (www.wnccumc.org) and area newspapers, in addition to church communications.