Julian A. Davies, our founding pastor, was born in England where he grew up entirely outside the church. It wasn’t so much that he never gave church a second thought, he never thought about it at all.
After completing his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees, he moved to Canada where he held a postdoctoral fellowship in chemistry for two years before coming to Toledo to take up a faculty position in the chemistry department at The University of Toledo. He served at UT as Assistant Professor for 3 years, Associate Professor for 3 years, Professor for 3 years and as Distinguished University Professor for 14 years, including nearly 3 years as Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences and Mathematics. During this time he was awarded the university’s outstanding teaching award, the outstanding research award and various other bits and pieces that seemed important at the time.
Along the way he got married to Mary Kay Smith who had been raised in a small United Methodist Church in Pemberville, Ohio. She persuaded him to visit a church with her one Sunday where Julian proceeded to irritate everyone by asking questions about almost everything (“why do you say ‘amen’ at the end of prayers?” …. “is it OK to ask questions during the sermon?” …. “why does everyone keep standing up and then sitting down all the time?”…. and so on). Fortunately the people there embraced him and made him part of their church family. After a journey through many Sunday School classes, retreat experiences and a host of other formative events, Julian realized that he was called into ministry.
He took himself off to seminary to obtain the M.Div. degree, resigned his position at UT and entered the ministry in The United Methodist Church. He served at Epworth U.M. Church in Toledo for three years, first as Youth Pastor and then as Interim Pastor before being appointed by his Bishop to return to the university community and start a new church. Because Julian didn’t grow up in a church and still doesn’t really know why churches do most of the things that they do, don’t expect The University Church to look like anything you’ve ever seen before!
You can contact Julian directly by email.
Diana M. Mathias, our associate pastor, was born in Toledo, Ohio where she grew up in the church, quite literally, because her mother was the Music Director for many years. She fondly recalls memories of running up and down the sanctuary and all around the church while her mother was running rehearsals.
As teenager in the church, she became very involved in the youth group and helped put together the worship service and the sermon one Sunday when the youth were leading worship. After the service, the Senior Pastor and a host of other people told her that she should be a pastor some day. However, as a friend from this time recently reminded her, she was totally against the idea and flat out said, repeatedly, that she would never be a pastor!
After graduating from High School in 2002, Diana attended college at The University of Toledo and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree there in 2011. It took her nine years to complete this degree because she kept changing her major and after a couple of years dropped down to part-time. She was searching for her purpose in life or as some might say, she was running away from her call. She worked at a number of part-time jobs while in college, but in 2008 she got a job at the University’s Eberly Center for Women where she matured and learned a great many skills from her co-workers. When she left this job in 2011, she only did so because she could not ignore God’s call on her life anymore. In September of 2011, she started attending seminary at United Theological Seminary in Dayton and graduated with her Master of Divinity Degree in May of 2015. She serves as Associate Pastor at The University Church and she could not be more excited about where God is taking her and where God is taking the church!
You can contact Diana directly by email.