St Paul United Methodist Church Leadership
St Paul United Methodist Church is blessed to have a leadership team who are truly dedicated to Christ and accomplishing His will. Following are brief bio's of our leadership team and their qualifications for ministry.
Rev. Dr. Simon Osunlana
The Rev. Dr. Simon Osunlana, was born and raised in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Married to Temitope and are both blessed with three children. Simon has several educational achievements: Diploma in Theology from Immanuel College of Theology and Christian Education, Ibadan. Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ibadan, Master of Arts from University of Ibadan, Master of Divinity from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC. He obtained five units of Clinical Pastoral Education from Adventist Health Pastoral Care Department, and a Doctorate degree from Drew University in Madison New Jersey. Dr. Osunlana has written several scholarly articles, Research papers and published a book.
Osunlana was ordained Elder in Methodist Church Nigeria Conference in 1993. And later transferred his ordination to The Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has served numerous pastoral appointments in Nigeria. Shortly before immigrating to the USA, He was the senior Pastor of Immanuel College Chapel, an interdenominational congregation. He also served as the Director of Evangelism for Ibadan Diocese of Methodist Church Nigeria. Rev. Osunlana was the Bible Study Coordinator for the National Methodist Evangelical Movement in Nigeria. He served as an Evangelist for the conference and as such he has preached and taught in several revival services attracting several thousands of people, Retreats, Seminars and in several churches all across Nigeria. Rev. Dr. Simon Osunlana was also a professor at Immanuel College of Theology.
He was Chaplain at Adventist Health, Orlando Regional Medical Center and Staff Chaplain at Vitas Innovative Hospice Care in Orlando. In 2005, Bishop Whitaker appointed him to St. John, Fort Lauderdale as Senior Pastor. In addition to being the senior pastor of St. John, Rev. Osunlana also serves as the cluster leader for eight United Methodist Churches. He served in the past as president of African Christian Ecumenical Ministerial fellowship of Broward County, Inc. and a co-president of Broward Organized Leaders Doing Justice (BOLD Justice) – a County wide ecumenical justice ministry. He is one of the Spiritual Directors for the Oceanside Emmaus Community. He is serving in numerous District and Conference Committees.
Rev. James F. Jennings
Reverend James F. Jennings, a native of Jacksonville, Florida has been in ministry since the age of sixteen when he received his License to Preach from the A.M.E. Church. He became a member of the Florida Annual Conference in 1983 and served local churches in the Jacksonville, Lakeland, Sarasota and Miami Districts. He was appointed Associate Council Director in 1987, District Superintendent of the Fort Myers District in 1992 and District Superintendent of the Miami District in June 1994. Reverend Jennings was a delegate to the General Conference, the Jurisdictional Conference and the 1992 World Methodist Conference in Singapore. He also served as Council Director from 1998 to 1999. Reverend Jennings was voted to represent the Florida Annual Conference the 1996 and the 2000 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conferences. In 2006 he served as a delegate to the World Methodist Conference in Soul Korea. Currently he serves as Assistant Pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Jacksonville Florida.
Administrative Executive Assistant
My name is Crystal Gibbs, I was born & raised in Concord, North Carolina. I am married to Tommy Gibbs and we have 3 children, two boys, and one girl, and a German Shepard named “Mia”! We made our home in Jacksonville, FL about 10 years ago. We reside just outside of the city limits of Arlington.
I have extensive experience as an Administrative Assistant and I am very proud to be here at St. Paul UMC. I love spending time with my family, and volunteering with the community in various events.
Dale Choate joined St. Paul in 2010. With extensive experience in choral music, he enjoys the heritage of choral singing with time proven music, as well as new and contemporary music in large group singing. He also serves as a music specialist for Duval County Public Schools, with nearly forty years of school music teaching experience.
Dale’s vision is to promote a “singing church”, where both choir members and congregants “let the word of Christ dwell richly as we teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts to God.”
“Since I was an early teen, I have felt God’s call on my life to lead people in worship of Him. It is one of my greatest joys and passions. I have been either directing or playing on worship teams for nearly the last twenty years. In each of these experiences God has used me to help develop musicianship in others and help congregants to deepen their relationships with Christ.
As a classically trained musician with a degree in music education, I feel I bring a unique skill set to worship teams with a musical understanding of how to play with the highest level of musicianship, artistry, and excellence. I am also well-versed in technology and do not shy away from the use of click-tracks, loops, multitrack, presentation software, and Planning Center Online. Additionally, I have a track record of successfully building worship teams and music programs through recruitment and auditions.”
Ryan is currently the Choir Director and Guitar Teacher at Terry Parker High School and is married with two amazing boys.
Sarah Chau is Principal and Chief Consultant for her independent business management practice in Northeast Florida region. She specializes in financial and administrative services for clients in small to medium size business, non-profits and government entities.
For two decades, she held chief finance positions at four major local non-profits and is excited about partnering with St. Paul UMC to continue her impact. Sarah earned a BA in Finance, Minor in Economics and an MBA at the University of North Florida.
Sarah was born in Vietnam and her family immigrated to the US when she was 3. She grew up in Illinois and currently lives in Jacksonville with her husband Tom and their two boys, Solomon and Benjamin. In her spare time she enjoys reading, teaching in the youth ministry, volunteering as a financial literacy instructor and movie nights with her family.
Sarah's life quote is Proverbs 3:5-6.
Penny was born and raised in the Jacksonville Beach area. She is part of a large family with 4 brothers and 1 sister.
Penny has two children ages 22 and 25. But her pride and joy are her two grandchildren, Ayden and DJ.
Director of St Paul Pre-School
Dayessi Morales Rodriguez comes to us from Cuba. She has two amazing children: David C. Morales 14 years old and Daniel C. Morales, 12 years old. Mrs. Rodriguez has five years of teaching experience in Cuba where she taught Pre-K and three years teaching experience at St. Paul Pre-School.
She loves kids and it fills her heart with so much joy watching them grow. Mrs. Rodriquez says she was born to be with children and has been working with them her entire life. She is excited to continue expanding her role as the St. Paul Pre-School Director.
Together with an amazing team of creative teachers she is committed to provide families with a loving and developmentally sound foundation for a life time of learning. We know that playing is a child’s most important work. St. Paul Pre-school will strive to create and maintain an environment where each child will grow and thrive while exploring the world around them.
Asst Director of St Paul Pre-School
Hi my name is Karen Steed. I am the Assistant Director here at the Preschool. I have been with the Preschool since April of 2012. I have been a member of St Paul UMC for over 25 years. I have three children with my husband of 20 years. I currently have an AA degree and working towards earning my Bachelors.