Our Church Staff

Rev. Dr. Brad Thomas

Rev. Dr. Brad Thomas

Senior Pastor

pastor@stpaul-lakeland.org

A Couple of Things I Want You To Know…..

Two things I believe important to share are where I ground the essence of my vocational self-understanding and a vital role I will work to maintain throughout whatever years God provides us to walk in service together.

First, the most direct way I can articulate my sense of vocational identity is this: I am a pastor first, a minister second, and a preacher third.

Second, “pastor as an outsider”. While Rebecca and I look forward to becoming an integral part of the fellowship life of the St. Paul’s faith family and community, some gifts a pastor can provide a congregation are their role as a consultant and as a lead questioner of “the way we’ve always done it.” “Pastor as Outsider” is that part of my vocation which asks me to keep the “big picture” before the congregation – especially in periods of stagnancy, transition, or conflict.

Rather than take up any more space offering an additional interpretation of what those two things mean, I’d encourage a conversation around any questions you have when we meet.

Spouse:
Rebecca Burnette Thomas
Pediatric Occupational Therapist 

Children:
Mary Thomas 22yrs.
Graduated from Rhodes College in May 2021 – with plans to attend law school.

Bradly Thomas 19yrs.
Class of ‘22 at Central High School with plans to attend Moore Tech and Southwest Community College. 

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.
You can contact her by emailing Children@stpaul-lakeland.org

Alison Sink

Alison Sink

Youth Director

For those of you who haven’t met me yet, my name is Alison Sink and I am the new youth director here at St. Paul.

I’d love to start out by telling you a little bit about myself. To start off with, I just graduated from UNC Asheville with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Ethics and Social Institutions and a Religious Studies minor. I absolutely loved my time at UNCA and this degree gave me a lot of flexibility and control over my learning and I think I will be able to use a lot of what I learned as I embark on this youth ministry journey.

Before moving to Memphis, I worked for Asheville Youth Mission (which has a Memphis location!) and led youth groups in mission immersion work in the Asheville community. I absolutely loved my time there and it is a big part of what inspired me to go into ministry! If you want to hear more about my time there and journey towards ministry I’d love to chat with you about it sometime!

Like Sam, I found St. Paul through the program ‘the Center for Youth Ministry Training or CYMT. In case you need a refresher on how the CYMT program works, here’s a quick run down. This program takes in applicants from across the country, pairs them with churches that have similar theology and needs, and then helps that ministry and minister grow and serve across a period of three years. Through CYMT, I will earn my Master’s degree at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary starting in August.

The class format for CYMT is unique; every month I will go to a class Intensive, where for approximately 48 hours, all I will do is take classes. The weeks and days in between the Intensives are used to complete assignments, readings, and meet with my small group. All of this I will be doing alongside running the wonderful youth ministry here at St. Paul.

If you have any questions about this program, or how my employment for CYMT works alongside my job at St. Paul, I’d be more than happy to answer them. I’d also just love to get to know folks better so please feel free to reach out!

Thank you for welcoming me to St. Paul. I’m very excited for these events to get going, and to build meaningful relationships with your students that will guide them toward Christ and God’s will for their lives.

You can email 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.
You can contact her by emailing Preschool@stpaul-lakeland.org

Ann Mellen

Ann Mellen

Finance Administrator

My name is Ann Mellen. I have worked in various accounting positions for the past 33 years. I grew up in Connecticut and Florida, after graduating I moved to Southern California where I met my husband, Don. We moved to Bartlett in 2004 to be closer to family. We have two wonderful children and two beautiful granddaughters. We also have two spoiled fur babies. In our spare time, we enjoy traveling, especially to see our children in Tampa and San Antonio. We also love to camp and spend time hiking, biking and kayaking. You may contact her by emailing finance@stpaul-lakeland.org

 

Ellie Tieman

Ellie Tieman

Office Administrator

 

Ellie was born in East Ridge, TN but raised in the Memphis area since she was toddling around in diapers. Ellie attended Highland Heights United Methodist in Memphis, TN until 2001. Ellie and her husband Tim have been together since 2012 and married in December 2017. They have 7 dogs and will be expecting their first human child in February 2023. Ellie rotates her Sundays at Grace Celebration Church with her husband Tim where her father-in-law, Rev. Dr. Terry Tieman, is the pastor and Immanuel Lutheran Church. Ellie is always keeping everyone on their toes with her interesting and hilarious antics. There is no telling what she may say or do from one moment to the next.
You may contact Ellie by emailing, SPUMC@stpaul-lakeland.org

Tim Vaziri

Tim Vaziri

Director of Music

Tim Vaziri was born in Memphis and is a product of Richland Elementary, White Station High School, and The University of Memphis. He has been married to his wife, Meghan, for nearly thirteen years, and they have one son. Tim currently serves as both Choir and Theatre Director at St. Benedict at Auburndale in Cordova. Over a fifteen-year teaching career, he has directed twenty-two major theatrical productions including many well-known works such as Romeo and Juliet, The Addams Family (A New Musical), Les Miserables, and Anastasia. Tim has also taught high school choir for four years, middle school choir for eleven, and served as the youth music minister at St. Francis of Assisi Church for eight years. In 2014, Tim received the St. Cecilia Fine Arts award from the Catholic Diocese of Memphis and was recently nominated by the Orpheum for “Outstanding Direction by a Teacher” in 2022 for The Spongebob Musical. Classical guitar was Tim’s first instrument, and he studied from age nine to seventeen with local guitar legend Joe Oser. He went on to play saxophone, clarinet, and jazz guitar in his high school’s bands before studying classical guitar and piano during and after college. He is currently a Master of Arts candidate in Theatre Directing at The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.