CEF of Kentucky State Leadership Team
The ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Kentucky is led by a State Director and volunteer board of directors who provide leadership and oversight to the ministry. Each member, along with volunteer advisors to the board, uses his or her gifts and abilities to further the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship® within the state. Additionally, each chapter is guided by a team of local volunteers that comprise a committee to further develop ministry within their respective regions of the state.
Teresa Kunze, Board Chair
Originally from Eastern Kentucky, Teresa was called by and to Christ for saving grace at her church in Cannonsburg as a child. During college years, Teresa moved away living in Germany, North Carolina, Kansas, and Nevada through the years. While in Nevada, Teresa’s church, already connected to a local school, started a Good News Club®. As she learned more about CEF®, she became more involved and because of her background was asked to contract for marketing support. As Teresa left Nevada in 2015 to move near her childhood home, a Nevada Board Member said, “You’re going to Kentucky because they need more Good News Clubs there.” Upon arriving in Kentucky and settling into her and her husband’s new county home, a member of her hometown church in Boyd said, “You’re going to Lawrence County because they need Good News Club there.” Just months later, her new church family started a Good News Club in Lawrence County.
In 2021 after much prayer, Teresa accepted an invitation to apply to the State Board of Directors. In 2022, Kentucky State Board Members nominated and voted her as Board Chairperson. Introduced to CYIA® last year, Teresa is learning much as she hosted a team of young ladies from Western Kentucky for 5 Day Clubs in the Eastern parts. Then she assisted with distribution of the Do You Wonder Why? booklets to areas of Eastern Kentucky affected by severe flooding.
She appreciates the rich experience God has brought together in the State Board Members and understands the great need for a Jesus-seeking team open to ways to grow the State Board, statewide staff, and resources needed to ensure children across the state hear the VERY Good News of Jesus!
Rev. Larry Merrick, Vice-Chair
Saved at the age of 9, called of God to preach at 16 and didn’t preach again until age 19 when in college, where Larry’s life was surrendered to Christ. (Galatians 2:20) He went on to serve as Assistant Pastor filling nearly position in the church as needed. For the past 50 years, Larry has served as a Pastor. In addition he served as a college Professor for 6 years and Christian School Teacher/Principal for 44 years.
In 1987, Larry began working with CEF when Al Kent, the then State Director of Tennessee contacted him. Kentucky had disbanded their CEF program and wanted to see it started again. Larry sent out letters to about 50 pastors in and around the Louisville area for a luncheon to discuss CEF. Three pastors showed up and about four people that had previously been involved with CEF. Al came up about once a month from Tennessee trying to get a State Board established, Larry provided donuts and coffee for those early meetings.
Larry said, “I had Al and ‘Rosco the Chicken’ for a vacation Bible school during this time. It was great! God tells us in Zachariah 4:10 ‘For Who hath despised the day of small things?’ God heard our prayers and has blessed CEF of Kentucky. God blessed us after Al Kent with a full time State Director Bob and Wanda Hearing, then Jim and Joyce Hatfield and now Kari and Randy Ash, for the last 15 years, and praying for many more years with her Godly leadership! Let’s make History here in Kentucky to bring ‘little ones’ to Jesus Christ our LORD!”
Grace English, Board Member
Grace first came to Good News Club at a young child. This made an impact on Grace and she taught Good News Clubs as a young mother in Pennsylvania and then in Kentucky where the Lord had led her family. It was in 1981 that they had made the move and she taught Good News Club in Hardin County and held teachers’ training at Fort Knox to soldiers and spouses, who took their training to various parts of the world.
At the time, the Tennessee state director was overseeing the work in Kentucky. George and Charlie Koch were responsible for reestablishing the work of CEF in Kentucky after a drought of many years, bringing the Hatfields in the 90’s as directors (yes, Hatfields, as in the Hatfields and McCoys) .
Grace has served on the state board in many capacities, first as an associate, then a full member. Missions have been her passion since she was a little girl, instilled by her Good News Club teacher and VBS teachers. She has been a nurse, Sunday School teacher, junior high youth leader, and on our churches’ mission teams serving her whole adult life. Coming from a mission-minded Mennonite family of numerous missionaries and medical relatives surely contributed to her love of reaching others, particularly children. She is thrilled to have watched and continue to watch God grow CEF of Kentucky, and knows there’s so much more He wants to do and will do.
Ann Thompson, Board Secretary
Since 2010, Ann has served on the CEF of Kentucky State Board and on several sub-committees, including Finance. She has served as Board Secretary since 2012. Ann was employed as a Librarian in the Community and Technical System for 40+ years before retiring in 2016. She and her husband have been long time members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Serving their community, her husband E.G. is a Magistrate in Hardin County and he has been a part of the CEF family too. Ann and E.G. have attended the State Conference together, serving as excellent ambassadors for CEF as they welcome new board members with gracious hospitality.
Joy Carroll Miller, Treasurer
About twenty years ago, Joy Carroll was introduced to CEF by the previous State Director, whose family joined her church. The director invited Joy Carroll to attend a board meeting where she ended up serving as a member, first as Secretary and presently as Treasurer. Joy Carroll has served at CEF International Headquarters in Warrenton, MO several times and assisted in various capacities, as well as helping in Good News Clubs, 5-Day Clubs in the summer for neighborhood children, and assisting in the state office when needed.