staff

We are blessed to have staff members who minister with a servant’s heart as they partner with the church family in fulfilling the mission of Wesley UMC.

Church Office Hours:
9:00am-5:00pm; Monday-Thursday
(912) 634-1412
churchoffice@wesleyssi.org

Our staff is committed to the cause of Christ and shares a common goal: to reach others in a positive way through ministry and witness. You will find them to be friendly, caring, compassionate people who love the Lord, always striving to make a difference in the lives of those in our church, our community, and our world. If you have not met the Wesley staff, take a moment to learn a little about them.

STAFF

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    REV. STEVE PATTON

    Senior Pastor
    steve@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 634-1412 x12

    more info

    Steve grew up in Jesup, Georgia, and is a graduate of Wayne County High School, Emory University, and Asbury Seminary. He and his wife, Amy, have three adult children: Jordan (Liz), Justin, and Hannah. Steve has been a minister in South Georgia since 1987, serving pastorates in Newington, Leslie, Striplin Terrace in Columbus, Trinity in Waycross, and Pine Forest in Dublin. “Being at Wesley is one of the most exciting and gratifying experiences of my ministry. This gifted and spiritually alive congregation is uniquely positioned to make disciples for Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit!”

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    Rev. Gene Yates

    Minister of Pastoral Care
    gene@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 638-0502

    more info

    The Reverend Norman Gene Yates was born in Kings Mountain, NC. He was married to the late Betty F. Yates, and he is the proud father of Elizabeth Y. Fletcher and father-in-law to Erik H. Fletcher. Rev. Yates has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern Wesleyan University, and practiced clinical chaplaincy at Greenville Memorial Hospital, Greenville, SC; and Lexington State Hospital, Lexington, KY. He has pastored at six different churches, served as a hospital chaplain, was director of Wesleyan Seminary Foundation, and was a consultant to Hephzibah Children’s Home.

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    Paige Gober

    Director of Program Ministries
    Wedding Reservation Coordinator

    paige@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 634-1412 x13

    more info

    Currently serving as Director of Program Ministries, Paige supports the various ministries of the church to include Bible study formation, nurture, and ministry outreach. She also helps in scheduling and executing various ministry events in the life of the church. Her passion for ministry is helping members of all ages find the joy and satisfaction of getting connected in the body of Christ through their gift of service and growth in Bible study.

    Paige taught preschool at Wesley for three years prior to coming on as full-time staff in December 2000. She completed a degree in Early Childhood in 2007 at College of Coastal Georgia. She and her husband Scott live on Saint Simons. She has two children. Her daughter Tiffany Wieberg is married to Andy and lives in Gainesville, GA. Her son Hunter and his wife Paola live in Brunswick.
     

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    David Herndon

    Director of Youth Ministries
    & Contemporary Worship

    david@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 634-1412 x14

    more info

    David is a 2001 graduate of Reinhardt University with a B.A. in religious studies and a B.S in Psychology. A lifelong United Methodist, David has served four churches over the past 19 years and joined the Wesley staff in 2011. In addition to youth ministry, he also leads the Oasis Contemporary Worship service. David is married to Whitney, and they have three children: Eli, Sam, and Emily.

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    Samantha Taylor

    Associate Director of Youth Ministries
    samantha@wesleyssi.org

    more info

    Samantha is from Warner Robins, GA and graduated from the University of Georgia in 2009 with an A.B. in English. While in college, she developed a passion for youth ministry as an intern with The Gathering Place. She loves working with the teenagers at Wesley and getting to see them grow in their relationship with Jesus and share Christ's love with their community. Samantha is also a preschool teacher at the Wesley Academy of Early Learning.

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    POSITION TO BE FILLED

    Director of Music Ministries
    See listing here

    more info

    Job Posting: Summary 
    August 2017
    Director of Music Ministries 

    Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica, Saint Simons Island, Georgia, is seeking a full-time Director of Music Ministries. Our church, located in Coastal Georgia, has 1000+ members and an average attendance of 450 weekly. Wesley UMC presents two traditional services and one contemporary service each Sunday and provides other seasonal worship services, concerts, and special events throughout the year. 

    Wesley UMC has a strong, vibrant music program that is well known in our local community. It includes the Chancel Choir, youth and children’s choirs, 5-octave handbell choir, and men’s and women’s vocal ensembles. The church organ is a 41-rank Zimmer pipe organ in our main sanctuary with marvelous acoustics.
     
    We are looking for someone who feels called by God to the ministry of music, has demonstrated choir experience, exceptional enthusiasm, and brings a creative, innovative spirit to our church and music programs. We seek someone who is a natural communicator, embraces collaboration, and will effectively challenge and grow our choir members and music participants. Our successful candidate must create an atmosphere where the worship service and the music ministry work together to glorify Jesus Christ and expand the faith of our congregation, as well as the larger community. 

    For a detailed description of the position, requirements, and contact information, please click here
     

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    DEBBIE McILRATH

    Director of Music Ministries, Interim

    more info

    Our Interim Music Director, Deborah A. McIlrath, attended Asbury University in Kentucky where she met her husband, Rev. Jim McIlrath. Debbie and Jim married and moved to Georgia to work in the Perry FUMC. She finished her education in Georgia schools earning a B.A. Music/Major - Piano, Minor – Voice and Religious Studies; Georgia Southern University and later completed a Master’s degree in Music Education with a Choral emphasis at Valdosta State University.
     
    Her past experiences include church staff positions in several of the South Georgia Conference United Methodist churches where her husband, Pastor Jim McIlrath, has served. While in Perry FUMC, Debbie served as children’s director and organist; Reidsville FUMC, music director; Waynesboro FUMC, music/youth and children’s director; Cordele FUMC, organist; Columbus, St. Mark UMC, interim music director; and Americus FUMC, interim music director 

    She is in her twenty-sixth year of teaching in the Georgia Public School system and has taught music to every age-level, including college piano/adjunct at Georgia Southwestern University, Americus GA. Debbie has served as a children’s chorus clinician, an MCSD workshop leader in Orff training, and was Department Chair and a supervising teacher of student teachers at Shaw High School, MCSD, for Columbus State University. Debbie has served as the mission’s committee secretary for the S.GA. Conference and has accompanied or directed music and choirs at our Annual Conferences, district camps and retreats at Lake Junaluska and Epworth-By-the-Sea. She is a member of P.A.G.E., G.M.E.A., and U.M.W.

    Debbie’s heart’s desire is to serve the Lord, her family and church families. She is most grateful for God’s greatest gifts to her, which are her husband Jim, their three children and their spouses, Jimmy & Shannon, Megan & Josh, and Chuck who married Samantha, March 25, in Rome, GA. She and Jim have five grandchildren: Savannah, Abby, Lexi, Ethan and Isaac, and another boy on the way in November.  Her hobbies include running, swimming, knitting, and writing poetry.

    Read through the Bible in a year with Debbie at her morning devotional site:
    www.poetryprayers.com

    Published works in music education:  
    http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/papers/modeltch.html

    The Teaching-Learning Process: A Discussion of Models
    Deborah A. McIlrath and William G. Huitt

    Citation: McIlrath, D., & Huitt, W. (1995, December). The teaching-learning process: A discussion of models. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. Retrieved [date], from http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/papers/modeltch.html

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    Position to be Filled

    more info

    Wesley United Methodist Church at Frederica, St. Simons Island, GA, is seeking a part-time (approximately half-time) Organist/Music Associate to begin Fall 2016. This beautiful church, located on St. Simons Island near Fort Frederica National Monument, has a membership of 1100+ with average attendance of 450—for more information visit www.wesleyssi.org. There are two traditional services and one contemporary service each Sunday. Wesley has a strong, vibrant music program, including the Chancel Choir, chamber ensembles, 2 children’s choirs, 5-octave handbell choir and ensemble, and many other opportunities. Additionally, Wesley hosts and provides music leadership for the Golden Isles Community Chorus and Golden Isles Community Messiah Chorus, as well as producing an active concert series. The successful candidate will be an experienced and gifted organist, pianist, collaborative musician, and skilled service player. Candidate reviews will begin on August 15 and continue until a candidate has been selected. Ideal employment start date is September/October 2016. Salary is $20,000 annually plus approximately $4,500+ for weddings. 

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    JOHN THOMAS

    Director of Audio/Visual Ministries
    Music Associate

    johnmthomasiii@gmail.com

    more info

    John M. Thomas III earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in Percussion Performance at The Florida State University under John W. Parks IV. He currently holds the principal percussion position with the Sinfonia Gulf Coast and has played with ensembles all over the South. Following his coursework, John played season contracts in Texas and Nebraska. Afterward, he spent most of 2015 abroad performing on cruise ships. Since returning to land, John started his own studio and solo venture entitled Meta Quest.

    Along with his performance involvements, John also is an audio engineer. He worked as an engineer on Tom Burritt's critically acclaimed solo marimba album "Groundlines" and Blake Tyson’s “Firefish.” John can be heard on FSU’s percussion ensemble vol. 2 “Not far from here,” and as a soloist on Adam Silverman’s “Percussion Music.” As a composer, John has written and recorded music for the Palm Beach Shakespeare company and is having material premiered at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention this fall.
     
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    Maryellen Aiken

    Director of Children’s Ministries
    maryellen@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 634-1412 x20

    more info

    Maryellen grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Kennesaw University with a major in Developmental Psychology and a minor in Early Childhood Education. From 2000-2010, Maryellen became involved in various small groups and leadership roles at North Point Community Church before moving to Saint Simons Island, her husband’s family home, in 2010. Since then, Maryellen has been pursuing her lifelong love of teaching children, specializing at first in early literacy support through tutoring and non-profit community initiatives. Her family joined Wesley UMC in 2012, and in 2014 she became the full-time Children’s Ministry Director. Maryellen is passionate about creating fun and engaging learning environments for kids and is blessed by the opportunity to teach children about God’s great, pursuing love for them.

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    Darlin Thrower

    Office Administrator
    darlin@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 634-1412 x10

    more info

    A native of St. Simons Island, Darlin attended Glynn Academy High School; Brunswick Junior College where she studied Business Administration (now known as the College of Coastal Georgia); and Trinity Baptist College, Jacksonville, FL. Darlin has extensive office and administrative experience and has been involved in various aspects of ministry and service since 1973. She joined the Wesley staff in 2009 and currently serves as the Office Administrator. Darlin is married with two grown children.

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    Evelyn Waldrop

    Receptionist/Office Assistant
    evelyn@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 634-1412 x26

    more info

    Evelyn grew up in Fontana, CA. She is the youngest of six children and the only girl. Evelyn has two grown sons and eight grandchildren. She worked for the DeKalb County School System for 28 years, retiring from the school system in February 2015. Evelyn’s last position was associate of payroll and benefits, which was her favorite because she loves working with people. “I love working here at Wesley United Methodist Church because it gives me an opportunity to meet different people and work in a friendly environment, Evelyn said.

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    Caroline Tobler

    Financial Secretary
    caroline@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 634-1412 x11

    more info

    Caroline joined Wesley in 2008 as Financial Secretary. She moved to the Island from Greenville, SC. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a BS in Business and minor in Accounting. Her accounting career spans across the board from the public sector to the private sector. Caroline is the proud mother of two boys, Stefan and Christoph.

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    Marcie Singletary

    Director,
    Wesley Academy of Early Learning

    marcie@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 638-5072

    more info

    Marcie began her teaching career in Greenwood, SC, in 1997 after earning her Bachelor’s degree from Erskine College and her Master’s degree from Lander University. After teaching first grade for ten years and obtaining National Board Certification and an Education Specialist degree, Marcie transitioned to school administration where she oversaw curriculum, instruction, and assessments at a local elementary school. In 2011, Marcie was hired at her church home as the Director of Weekday Ministries which she transformed into the now Wesley Academy of Early Learning (WAEL). In September of 2015, Marcie married her wonderful husband, Mac Singletary.

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    Nikki Browning

    Assistant Director,
    Wesley Academy of Early Learning

    nikki@wesleyssi.org
    (912) 638-5072

    more info

    Nikki’s varied background in the hospitality industry, cosmetology field, and the childcare profession have provided the perfect foundation for her current Assistant Director position. Passionate about Wesley Academy of Early Learning and its possibilities, Nikki provides various services that help parents, teachers, and students to maximize their experience at our preschool. A big believer in Christian education, Nikki strives to build relationships with the families at Wesley through her contagious smile and warm spirit. When she is not helping the little “whales,” she enjoys spending time with her husband of eleven years, her three school-aged children, and her adorable puppy.

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    David Wood

    (Independent Contractor)
    Groundskeeper

    dwood@wesleyssi.org

    more info

    A lifetime resident of Saint Simons Island, David is married to Judy, and they have one daughter and three beautiful grandchildren. David has over 30 years experience in turf and ornamental maintenance and is a state-certified pesticide applicator. He loves spending time with his family, but he also loves his time on the grounds at Wesley. He considers it a blessing to not only serve the folks of Wesley, but also to be able to worship with them.




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