Rev Danny Leonard - Pastor


I am privileged to serve as part of an experienced and motivated staff and a dedicated group of leaders here at Central. Having served churches along the I-40 corridor for more than 25 years, Catawba, Iredell and Forsyth Counties, it is refreshing to venture into a new and exciting part of North Carolina.

My journey into ordained ministry began in Lexington, NC where I grew up.  Immediately following high school I was off to High Point University and then Duke Divinity School.  Through my years of ministry I have been privileged to participate on mission teams to Central and South American, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and to be involved in the communities where I have lived.

At present, I serve as a Chaplain with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Disaster Medical Assistance Team.. My wife Angela and I are the proud parents of two children, Spencer and Hedrick, both of whom are in college. Angela works as a high school math teacher.  We have recently celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary.  (She is a woman of great patience.)

I look forward to meeting you and to sharing in ministry in this community.

Fawn Mikel - Director of Discipleship and Outreach


Nick Richart - Director of Youth Ministries

I grew up in Mooresville, NC - Also known as Race City, USA! I attended Appalachian State University, graduating in May 2015, where I majored in Religious Studies, and earned a minor degree in Recreation Management.

I’ve felt a call towards youth ministry ever since I was a youth myself and that call has been solidified here at Central UMC. I value connecting to people and have found it incredibly easy to do that here in Shelby! In my spare time, I enjoy picking the banjo, rock climbing, reading comic books, and conversation!

[email protected]            


Danny Buckner - Director of Music Ministries

I serve as Director of Music Ministries for Central United Methodist Church. My wife Jennifer and I live in Shelby with our two daughters, Emma and Mary Jane. When I am not planning or leading worship and rehearsals, I can be found spending time with my family and tending to our farm. The Buckners are happy to worship and serve at Central.

[email protected]            


Gina Blanton - Director of Communications

My life in one sentence: I am a Marine brat married to a United Methodist Pastor. While I have lived the world over and graduated high school from Kubasaki High School on Okinawa, Japan, I have spent the majority of my life in North Carolina having lived as a child in Havelock and Jacksonville, graduated from UNC-G, and married a native North Carolinian. My degree is in Elementary Education and I have taught preschool in a variety of settings. I have also worked for a medical office, rental car company and as de facto church secretary. I felt the call into ministry in college but never imagined that would mean being a pastor’s wife. My husband was appointed to Aldersgate UMC the summer of 2016 and we love Shelby already. I have two daughters, Madeleine and Lillian. Madeleine attends Wake Forest University and Lillian is a freshman at Shelby High School. My home also belongs to a pound puppy, Chance, and a Leopard Gecko, Pip. It is a blessing to be in Shelby, at Aldersgate UMC and at Central UMC.

[email protected]            


Dianne Whisnant - Financial Secretary

I’m one of the 6 Dianne Whisnant’s in Cleveland County. I was born and raised in Shelby a Presbyterian (much to one of my grandmother’s displeasure because according to her, only Methodists went to Heaven). I currently worship as a Baptist and work in the Methodist Church. I’ve been married to Woody Whisnant, Jr. for 46 years. We have 3 children and 3 grandchildren. I enjoy reading, crocheting and short road trips.

[email protected]         


Stacey Watkins-Griffith, DMin - Counselor

I serve as the Pastoral Counselor here at Central.  I am a therapist with Sanctuary Counseling Group (formerly known as Methodist Counseling and Consultation Services), and I have office hours by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I received my Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling and Psychotherapy from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and completed my clinical training through the Carolina Institute for Clinical Pastoral Training.  I am an Elder in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference.

I am married to Scott Griffith, and we have three children, Laurie, Amanda, and David.  
For more information about the Counseling Services here at Central, please visit our website at


Shelley Rempson - Kid’s Place Director

I have served as Director of Central’s Kid’s Place Preschool for many years and enjoy helping prepare children for “big school”. I attended UNCW and UNCC before becoming a wife and mother. I am married to Eddie Rempson. We have four daughters, Zee, Zanna, Zoe and Zella and one son, Zane. We enjoy family trips to the beach and to Lake Norman. I love being part of Kid’s Place and the opportunities to teach children school readiness skills and most importantly, about our wonderful, loving God.

[email protected]            704-487-6357


Libby Alexander - Organist

I have served as organist for Central since 2001. I hold an undergraduate degree from Greensboro College and a Masters in Organ Performance from Northwestern University. I am also staff accompanist at Gardner Webb University. I am married to Dr. Michael Alexander and have two children: a son Daniel, who lives in Raleigh, and a daughter Julia, who lives in Greensboro.


Dan Treharne - Director of Worship Media

I am a life-long member of Central and have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre with a concentration in Theatre Education from UNC Greensboro. Since late 2003 I have dedicated a majority of my time, skill, and sanity to the Theatre Department at Kings Mountain High School as Department Head. After a year of running sound voluntarily, I took over the position of Director of Media Technology when the position needed filling and I was called.


Alan Hughes - Facilities Manager

Raymond Alan Hughes was born and reared in Roebuck, SC.   He graduated from The Citadel in Charleston with a BS degree in Civil Engineering.  After graduation Alan’s career took him from the  SC highway department to Spartanburg County engineer, and then to Lockwood Greene Engineers for the next 38 years.  As a senior construction and project manager he traveled extensively in the US and Latin America.  His most recent assignment before retirement was in Panama where he mentored Panamanian engineers on the massive construction project for the third lane of the Panama Canal.

One of the most intriguing assignments he has been involved with was his association with Rockwell International in Tehran, Iran.  In 1978, he traveled to this Muslim country with his bride of 2 months, Ginny, and her two children; Scott was 13 and Rebecca was 9.  Quite an adventurous endeavor with a newly blended family and a country that was truly foreign.  The project was cut short due to the revolution in Iran, and Alan and Ginny were forced to evacuate.

Back in the states, life was more familiar, and Alan continued his career until his decision to retire in early January of 2013.  A few months prior to his retirement date he began his position as Facilities Manager for CUMC.  Monitoring and maintaining the 80,000 square feet of this facility is his dream job.   He enjoys the challenge of “keeping things going” in this his church home of 29 years.

Family is a highlight in his life (5 grandchildren) along with a love of outdoors, his dogs, travel, honing his computer skills and uppermost his faith.  He has been a monthly teacher for the Saints and Sinners for several years, and you usually see him at church with a Sunday School book in his back pocket.