Our Church Staff

Rev. Dr. Birgitte Thaarup French

Rev. Dr. Birgitte Thaarup French

Senior Pastor

pastor@stpaul-lakeland.org

Pastor Bee is a lifelong United Methodist, she grew up as a PK (Pastor’s Kid) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In 1983 she became a medical missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries and for the next 13 years she served in Zaire, (now Congo,) Algeria and Kenya.

Moving to Atlanta in 1997 Pastor Bee received her Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and she has a Doctor of Ministry from Memphis Theological Seminary.

Pastor Bee has served several churches, and in  extended ministry, in the N.GA and Memphis annual conferences.

She currently serves as chair of the Metro dCOM, and on the Executive Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministries, as chair of the Family Care Ministry, as well as serving on the Board of Ordained Ministry since 2016.

She is married to Niels French and together they have two children, Fletcher lives in Chattanooga with Casey, and daughter Hanna lives in Aalborg, Denmark. They have a dog named Louise whom Pastor Bee loves to take on long walks, and a cat, Thelma. In her free time Pastor Bee reads mysteries, loves to cook a good meal, bake bread and knit.

Her favorite scripture is from 1John 4:7- 9 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

 

Dr. Sarah Harper

Dr. Sarah Harper

Director of Music

 

Dr. Sarah Harper, native from Tulsa, Oklahoma, serves as the Director of Academic Programs at Visible Music College along with her position at St. Paul UMC. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice from the University of Memphis, Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Baylor University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, summa cum laude, from Oklahoma Baptist University. Although her education is in vocal performance and pedagogy, she has both taught in higher education and served in church music ministry since 2014, having a heart for serving in the local church. Along with making music, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband Andrew and their two dogs, Edie and Penny. Some favorite pastimes include rock climbing, baking, walking the dogs and watching movies.

Sam Belcher

Sam Belcher

Youth Director

 

Hi, my name is Sam Belcher, and I’m the Youth Director here at St. Paul. I’m from Nashville, TN, and I went to college at a small Christian school named Lipscomb University. Currently, I’m pursuing my Masters degree remotely through Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. I love working with our youth group, and I’m always amazed by the ways that God can work through teenagers who are united in Christ-centered community. Some of the things I enjoy in my spare time are hiking, kayaking, reading, and going to the movies. If you see me around the church, come say hi! You can contact me at youth@stpaul-lakeland.org.

Jessica Clough

Jessica Clough

Preschool Director

 

Jessica Clough has been a professional educator since 2005. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Arkansas State University and a Master of Science in Education from the University of Central Arkansas. Jessica is recognized as a board-certified teacher by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).  Jessica began her ministry at St. Paul UMC Preschool in 2017 as an Assistant Teacher before becoming the Director.  She enjoys welcoming all families in the community to the preschool and building strong relationships with the students, their families, and the preschool and church staff.  Jessica has been married to Jared since 2009 and they have three beautiful children Reagan, Asa and Mayleigh.  She enjoys spending time with her family, playing the piano, and watching the Chicago Bears.

Jill Kirk

Jill Kirk

Children's Ministry Director

 

Jill Kirk is  the Children’s Ministry Director at St Paul UMC.  Jill and her family have been members of St Paul since 2002 and became the Children’s Director in 2006.  Jill and her husband Marty live in Arlington and have two children, Abigail and Garrett. In her free time Jill enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and gardening.

Susan Holmes

Susan Holmes

Finance Administrator

 

Susan Holmes, a native Memphian, joined the St. Paul staff in 2009. She is a graduate of Memphis State, (currently the University of Memphis) and is a CPA.  Susan has two grown children that are married and one granddaughter.  She has been married to Wes since 1983.  Susan and her family have been members since 1990 and over the years she has been involved in many areas of the church.  Other than spending time with her family and friends that she adores, Susan enjoys watching the University of Memphis sports, gardening, reading, traveling, and almost everything having to do with water activities. Contact Susan at sholmes@stpaul-lakeland.org

Ellie Tieman

Ellie Tieman

Office Administrator

 

Ellie or El Tieman (Teaman, for pronunciation) grew up attending Highland Heights United Methodist Church in Memphis. She was born in East Ridge, Tennessee but raised in Memphis for the majority of her life. She and her husband, Tim, are members and attend church at Immanuel Lutheran. They also attend services and events at Grace Celebration Lutheran, where her Father-In-Law is the pastor. Ellie embarked on her first mission trip to Guatemala in June 2016 with Immanuel and knew instantly, she was where God wanted her to be.  
When she is not at the church you can usually find her can find her at her father’s house assisting him, in Dayton, TN visiting her mother, binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy (Ellie is a certified couch surgeon), spending time with her rescue dogs, and taking things one day at a time.