“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 Born Tonya Morris, to a Methodist preacher and his wife, Tonya moved 12 times before she went off to college, but Nashville, TN was home – and she’s got the “ya’ll” to prove it. She married David Arnesen in October, 1978 and they moved to Michigan, where they raised their 2 children. Their daughter Sarah and her husband Patrick Klein have gifted them with two PERFECT grandchildren – Jack and Ella. Their son Dave and his wife Stephanie have also gifted them with a PERFECT grandson- Henry.
Tonya holds a BA from Carthage College (Kenosha, WI) and an MDiv from United Theological Seminary (Dayton, OH). She was ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and joined the Detroit Annual Conference in 1997. While serving local congregations, Tonya has also fulfilled various leadership positions within the Detroit Annual Conference (now Michigan Area Annual Conference): Chairperson of the Conference Vision Task Force from 1996-1997, Dean of the Michigan Area School for Pastoral Ministry from 1996-2004, Chair of the Order of Elders from 2005-2007 and Conference Board of Ordained Ministry (2004 – 2012).
Her passion for church redevelopment and transformation has also been expressed through the Vital Church Initiative (VCI). As a Peer Mentor/Facilitator, Supportive Coach and Consultant, she is a resource for declining churches who seek revitalization and new life. Tonya says, “I believe God is in the business of second chances and new beginnings . . .”