Eric was baptized, confirmed and sent with the blessing of this congregation to prepare for ordained ministry. Eric and Sherry (Rokita) are alumni of Adrian College and were married in Herrick Chapel (their wedding reception was in the FUMC Fellowship Hall). Eric earned his Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Liturgical Arts at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. He was ordained as Deacon in 1993, Elder in 1996, and has been under appointment since 1994 serving as the Associate Pastor at Orchard UMC (Farmington Hills, MI), Associate Director at the Wesley Foundation at the University of Illinois (Urbana, IL), Associate Pastor at Central UMC (Waterford, MI), Chaplain/Director of the Wesley Foundation at Central Michigan University (Ann Arbor, MI), Chaplain/Director of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) and Pastor of St. Luke’s UMC (Essexville, MI) for eleven years before being appointed to Adrian First UMC in 2020.
Eric and Sherry met at Judson Collins Camp as camp counselors on summer staff during their college years. They worked many more years (both as staff and volunteers) in camping ministry, most recently at Camp Kinawind. They continue to enjoy the outdoors and camping, hoping to return to the Wild Goose Festival, and take others along with them in the future.
A prophetic voice for peace and justice – Eric is passionate about ministry with the oppressed and marginalized. He is on the Michigan Conference Board of Justice (Commission on the Status and Role of Women) and convenes the annual Keep Making Peace gathering. Pastor Eric relishes the creative process of designing and leading meaningful worship experiences. This creative streak is also evident in Eric’s spiritual gift of the highest form of humor; puns.
Eric enjoys the theatre – as an audience member – but also as an actor and director. His first experience acting was on the stage of the Croswell Opera House. There was an 18-year hiatus from the stage until someone called from the Bay City Players offering a part. Catching the theatre bug again led to more parts and the chance to check off a bucket list desire to be in the best musical ever; SPAMalot!
Eric, Sherry and their two adult boys, Jacob and Julian are glad to be in the familiar surroundings of Adrian with dogs Trekker, Bella and cat Cricket.