Mt. Sylvan is blessed to have a welcoming staff dedicated to serve our church members and those in the community.
Bishop Leonard Fairley has appointed the Rev. Don Mitchell to serve as the new Senior Pastor for Mt. Sylvan UMC effective July 1, 2022. Born and raised in rural Johnston County, NC, he completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in English/Education at East Carolina University and his Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. Prior to returning home to NC in 2014, he led congregations in Basking Ridge, Little Falls, and Knowlton, New Jersey. His most recent church appointment was Jarvis Memorial UMC in downtown Greenville. He has served in ministry for twenty-four years.
Rev. Mitchell has also served connectional in District and Conference leadership roles with both the North Carolina and Greater New Jersey United Methodist Conferences over the past two decades including: Member of the GNJAC Connectional Table, the Committee on Ordained Ministry, Mission Strategy Team, Chair of the Conference Board of Discipleship, Chair of the Gateway North Superintendency Committee (NJ), Registrar for the Gateway North Committee on Ordained Ministry, Clergy and Candidacy Mentor, Conference Committee on Christian Unity and Inter-religious Concerns, Church Building and Location Committee, and as a Certified Stephen Caregiving Ministries Trainer.
He has volunteered as an ESL tutor and with outreach organizations including Rise Against Hunger, Habitat for Humanity, SAFE (Domestic Violence Response and Prevention), Interfaith Hospitality Network, and in local nursing homes, schools, and chambers of commerce in the cities where he's served.
Rev. Mitchel and his wife Maria, a Vice-President of Human Resources, have raised two children. Both adult children are out of college and working in other states. A son, Jordan, resides in California and a daughter, Reagan who resides in Louisiana. Pastor Don and Maria are looking forward to meeting everyone at Mt. Sylvan UMC and to being a part of the life-changing ministries of this wonderful family of faith.
Kathie is an Ordained Deacon in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. She earned her bachelors degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her seminary degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Kathie is married to Tim, has four children and ten grandchildren. Kathie has a passion for creating and leading people in worship and caring for members during illness or other difficult situations.
OFFICE HOURS: Monday - Thursday: 10:00am - 12:30pm
Libba McCluskey came on staff as Mt. Sylvan’s Youth Coordinator in May of 2020. She has a BA in Global Studies from UNC-CH and an M.Div. in International Church Planting from SEBTS. Libba has traveled widely and done a variety of ministry jobs, from working with international students on American college campuses to running a refugee center in Greece. She likes to say that no matter where she is, or what she is doing, she really only has one job: helping people understand God’s kindness and compassion.
She loves mentoring and is passionate about Biblical literacy. Libba hopes to equip the youth of Mt. Sylvan with the tools they need to seek out answers to their faith questions, while instilling in them a deep, foundational knowledge that they are loved, just as they are.
Libba lives in Durham with her husband, Caleb. They met and dated while they were both working in Kuwait, and then returned to the US to get married in 2019. They love traveling, hiking, and cooking – especially when they’re hosting guests!
OFFICE HOURS: Mondays 1:00-3:00pm; Tuesdays, 10:00-2:00pm; Thursdays, 10:00-2:00pm
Heather is currently serving as Mt. Sylvan's Children's Coordinator. She, along with her husband, Madison, and four children live in Durham and are blessed to call Mt. Sylvan their home church. In addition to Heather serving as our Children's Coordinator, she is the full time theatre arts teacher at Voyager Academy. Whether she is at school teaching the amazing art of theatre or at Mt. Sylvan spreading the love of Jesus, she has a passion with inspiring and working creatively with God's most precious gift... Children!
OFFICE HOURS: BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. You can always reach her via email (email@example.com) anytime or by appointment if you need to meet in-person.
Margaret Malone came on board as the office administrator in November of 2019. She is a life-long United Methodist. While at East Carolina University, she was very active in the Wesley Foundation (Methodist Campus ministry). After college, she returned to her home church, Highland UMC, where she got to know the music director at that time, Jeff Whicker, very well.
She has had an interesting work life. In addition to working at Staples and for a plumbing wholesaler, she has also worked for the Loudoun County government in Virginia. She has always wanted to work in a United Methodist Church, and is really happy to be at Mt. Sylvan. Margaret has two sons, Caleb who is 10, and Logan who just turned 8.
She loves to sing, listen to Contemporary Gospel & Christian music, and try new restaurants. She also likes to read contemporary essays, and inspirational, self-help books and really enjoys traveling.
She can be reached at the office (919) 471-0032 or through email.
Jim became Mt. Sylvan's Business Administrator in May 2015. A native of Durham, Jim has lived in northern Durham County for the last 29 years. His wife, Kathy, a lifelong resident of Durham County, is an RN at Duke. They have two sons, Alex and Adam, both in their early twenties. Alex is a HVAC service technician with Brown Brothers Plumbing and Heating, recently purchasing a home in Bahama. Adam, their youngest son, is on track to become an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church alongside his wife, Hope, who is also on her way to becoming a UM elder. Jim’s family are members of Mt. Bethel UMC.
As a Business Administration professional – by education and on the job work – Jim has years of experience at several large and small companies in the area, including Northgate Associates and Nortel Networks. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as Business Administrator at Mt. Sylvan, as he begins refocusing his efforts to more directly serve God, and look forward to working as part of the finance team, church staff and committees, and with church members.
OFFICE HOURS: Monday 1:00-5:00pm; Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-12:30pm