Service Times 8:15am | 9:00am | 10:45am
Wesley Church is positioned on the north end of Saint Simons Island. The natural beauty of the area features majestic oak trees graced with beautiful Spanish moss, enhancing the architectural design of a church perfectly suited to its historic location. We are situated directly across from the Fort Frederica National Monument.
REV. DR. JERRY A. ROE, JR.
Jerry grew up in many locations throughout the US. He and his wife, Gina, have two adult children, Joshua and Sean. Jerry is a graduate of Foothill High School in Tustin, CA, The University of the State of New York, and Erskine Seminary in Due West, SC (M-Div. and D-Min). Jerry has been a minister in South Georgia since 1992, serving pastorates in Oak Park, Alamo, Columbus (St. Mark), Byron, Springfield, and Americus. Jerry writes, "I pray that the shortest distance between heaven and earth will be experienced through our worship and journey with Christ here at Wesley."
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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.
Director of Youth Ministries
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A recent graduate from Middle Georgia State University in May 2022 with a BBA, Kaylin was born and raised in Gray, GA. She moved to St. Simons in July 2022 and has been working at Gather Thrift and Café as the Café Assistant Manager. She has a big heart for the outdoors, sports, youth, and most of all, Jesus.
Director of Children’s Ministries
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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 ministry, specifically, working with children and youth as an intern with The Gathering Place and as a missionary in South Asia. She loves working with the kids of Wesley, getting to see them grow in their relationship with Jesus and share Christ's love with their community. Samantha lives on Saint Simons with her husband, John, and her puppy, Maya.
Director of Sacred Arts
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Debbie McIlrath is the Director of Sacred Arts at Wesley UMC. A graduate of Georgia Southern and Valdosta State, she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Christian Worship at Liberty University's School of Music. Debbie has served full-time and part-time in church music for more than forty years and retired last year after 28 years of teaching music in Georgia public schools, K-12. She was also an adjunct instructor in piano at Georgia Southwestern College for four years. As a choral director, her High School, Middle, and Elementary School choirs consistently received Superior Ratings at Large Group Performance Evaluations and First Place wins in Choral competitions. She is a member of G.M.E.A., a lifetime member of A.C.D.A., and has had many students attend All-State Chorus, All-State Reading Chorus, and Georgia's Governor's Honors Program. She recently joined the Boards of G.I.Y.O, Golden Isles Live, and serves on the UMC Conference Worship Committee. She and her husband, Jim, live in Brunswick where he is a retired UMC minister serving Taylors UMC as a Retired Supply Pastor.
Associate Director of Children & Youth
Bio Coming Soon
Beth served at Wesley as Organist/Associate Director of Music from 2003 to 2014. She and her husband D.D. then moved to Atlanta to be near family. In 2017, they returned to St. Simons and Wesley UMC, and Beth became Organist Emeritus and Handbell Director. She rejoined the staff and served as Interim Organist from 2017 to 2018 and as Music Assistant from 2019-2020. Beth remains Organist Emeritus and is active in the Chancel Choir and Handbell Ensembles.
Director of Contemporary Worship
Bio Comming Soon
Director of Communications
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Bio Coming Soon
Director of Wesley Academy
of Early Learning
Mrs. Jennifer started working at WAEL in 2002 and has taught every age group throughout her 20 years of employment. She is a graduate of Brunswick High School. She has completed her Childhood Development Associates Credential, and she will receive her diploma in Early Child Care Education soon. Jennifer has an inherent love for children and constantly sets the bar high at providing only the highest level of service to her students, parents, and staff. The mission of the church infuses all that she does. Prior to teaching at Wesley, Mrs. Jennifer was a dance instructor at Southern Strut Dance Studio. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. All of Wesley Academy’s staff meet and exceed Georgia's Bright from the Start criteria for their teaching and childcare positions. They have passed a Live Scan Fingerprint background check with a “comprehensive satisfactory determination”, received “Safe Sanctuary” training, CPR-First Aid training, and they meet the required annual continuing education trainings."
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Elaine is originally from Decatur, AL and graduated from Auburn University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and Business Administration. She and her husband, Adam, relocated to Brunswick in 2005 where she has gained considerable administrative experience over the past several years. Elaine and Adam have two boys: Connor and Whitt. Outside of the office, she volunteers with Cub Scout Pack 207 as a den leader and also serves as their treasurer. Elaine is thrilled to be joining Wesley and looks forward to building long-lasting relationships with the church family.
Director of Audio-Visual Ministries
Bio Coming Soon
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.
Director of Wesley Arbor
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Director of the Norma Lucas Academy of Fine Arts at Wesley
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Linda Dorsey is a native of North Carolina, studying piano at an early age at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Brevard Institute of Music. By the age of 17, she studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory and has her BA in Piano Performance from the University of Kentucky. Linda married Owen Dorsey in 1972, and they have three children and 11 grandchildren. Her career has spanned over 45 years of performing, teaching, lecturing, and as a church musician. Her love; however, is teaching. The Dorsey Music Studio was founded in 1982 in Roswell GA with the mission to encourage the love of music performance, theory, and pedagogy. Linda’s goal is not only to teach children how to play the piano but also to appreciate and respect the beauty and majesty of all types of music and to have fun while learning. She has had the privilege of teaching over 1500 private students in her career, leading the children’s music ministry at Roswell Church, Roswell GA, founding the Steinway School of Music in Roswell GA, and serving on the Board of the state Georgia Music Teachers’ Association for many years. She is also a state Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children and currently serves on the Board of Hello Goodbuy, Golden Isles Live, and is Director of the St. Mark’s Giving Garden, which she created, for the underserved in Brunswick, GA. Most recently she has been called to serve Wesley at Frederica as the principal Choir accompanist and serve as Director of the Norma Lucas Academy of the Fine Arts at Wesley.
Theology of Worship
In worship, we GATHER together as a community set apart to worship together. We tell God’s story as we PROCLAIM THE WORD through Scripture and preaching. We RESPOND to God’s revelation in our lives through prayer, singing, affirming our faith, and Holy Communion. We are SENT FORTH to love and serve God in the world. Our worship follows a pattern of revelation and response: we learn of God and his message to us, and we respond through worship and discipleship. In this way, worship is a two-part dialogue with God.
Born of a Vision. Rooted in Tradition. Living Our Faith.
In October of 1986, Mr. Bill Jones III and the Sea Island Company gave ten acres of land to the South Georgia Conference of the Church and ten acres to Christ Church Episcopal with the stipulation that each one would give an acre to establish and endow a garden in memory of John and Charles Wesley. Through the vision and leadership of the members of Saint Simons Church and retired Bishop Frank Robertson, a new congregation was constituted in May of 1987, to be located on the additional nine acres provided by this gift. With 117 members, the new congregation was officially named Wesley Church at Frederica. Like the majestic live oaks surrounding us, our roots go deep in the history and tradition of John and Charles Wesley who lived and served in this part of St. Simons in the 18th century.
The Wesley Memorial Gardens and Celtic cross monument were dedicated to John and Charles Wesley on June 12, 1988. This two-acre garden has over 60 varieties of native oak trees, plants, and shrubs, including more than 4,000 azaleas, which bloom around late March-early April. Located between Christ Church and Wesley Church at Frederica, the gardens are an excellent place to meditate, pray, and seek the Lord. The 18-foot Celtic cross, made out of Georgia stone, also makes a beautiful backdrop for weddings and photography lovers. The gardens are open during daylight hours, free of charge, to the public.
Columbarium – a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns.
(i.e., urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains).
In memory of her late husband Bob, Dollie Dry made known her desire to donate funds to establish a columbarium at Wesley. Dollie and her daughter, Amy Dry Thomas, worked with well-known architect Lamar Webb on the design. The columbarium walls were inspired by the apse of the Wesley Sanctuary as viewed from the northern exterior of the building in which the rose window is set. Bill Edenfield added his landscape talents to complete the vision.
The Wesley Columbarium is located in the southern portion of the church property between the pond and the Wesley Memorial Garden, where three free-standing walls border a shell-inlaid paved square. The columbarium provides a beautiful, consecrated place for the inurnment of the cremated remains of members of the Wesley church and their families. This includes members, spouses, children, or grandchildren.
The cost of one niche is $1,500. Half of that amount is considered a tax-deductible donation; the other half is the fee. The fee provides for the niche, inurnment, and the nameplate. The Wesley Board of Trustees will provide perpetual care of the columbarium and grounds.
You may contact the church office at
(912) 634-1412 or firstname.lastname@example.org
for questions, to set an appointment,
or to purchase a niche.