LEADERSHIP AND STAFF

Dr. Stephen D. McConnell

Senior Pastor

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941-924-1323 ext. 209

Steve is married to Amanda and they have a daughter Brittany. He served churches in Philadelphia and Liberty Corner, New Jersey before coming to Sarasota in 2008. He loves reading, St. Louis Cardinal baseball, Michigan Wolverine football and getting lost in a good novel. He can also be found tooling around town in his vintage Jeep CJ7.

Rev. Dr. Lal Hmingliani Browne (Hmingi)

Associate Pastor, Congregational Care

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941.924.1323 ext. 221

Hmingi is very grateful to God for this call to serve and care for God’s children at Church of the Palms. She loves people of all ages and believes in the Congregation caring for the congregation. Her most life changing experience were interning at Mother Teresa’s Children’s Home and Home for the Dying and Destitute in Kolkota, India. Hmingi’s hobbies are gardening, painting, cooking, telling and laughing at jokes and entertaining. Hmingi holds an undergraduate degree from Aizawl Theological College, Master of Divinity from Bishop’s College, Kolkota, India, Master of Theology from Presbyterian Seminary and Colleges, Seoul, Korea, MA from Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Richmond, VA, and Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Hmingi has served Churches in Ohio, Kentucky, Texas, Delaware and Maryland. Hmingi and her husband, the Rev. Dr. Will Browne, love to travel around the world to learn new things and to feel at home with their lives.

Laurie Haas

Executive Director of Ministries

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941.924.1323 x 201

Laurie is the Associate Pastor for Families and Congregational Mission. She graduated from Montana State University a lifetime ago and just completed her Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary. She has been raising her family at Church of the Palms for 20 years and has worked here almost ten years! She is married to a great guy named Bryan, who speaks her love language. They have a beautiful blended family of five daughters ranging from 18 to 25 years old. Laurie loves spending time with her family, especially when they are playing basketball, cards and board games or just cooking, eating and talking together. Laurie loves to be outside and enjoys reading, riding her bike, playing tennis and running with her husky, Malachi.

Lisa Baughman

Family Ministry Assistant

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941.924.1323 x 208

Lisa Baughman is the Family Ministry Assistant. She comes from a large Christian church in Jacksonville, FL where she served for seven years in the following capacities Office Manager, Executive Assistant, and Family Ministry Coordinator. She has been on staff at Church of the Palms for two years and enjoys supporting and serving alongside the Family Ministry Team utilizing her organizational and people skills. A few fun facts about Lisa: She has been married to her best friend Jeff for 33 years. . As a couple Jeff and Lisa love to use their gift of hospitality, hosting social events at their home near Siesta Key. Lisa likes biking to the beach and playing volleyball with friends. Chalk painting and repurposing furniture has become a passion for her in the last 4 years.

Geneviève Beauchamp

Music Director

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941.924.1323 x 234

Geneviève received a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada. An active pianist, she has been a national finalist in the Canadian Music Competition, a participant in the Nina Wideman Piano Concerto Competition and the winner of the 2002 USF Concerto Competition. She was the recipient of the 2001 Jacques Abram Memorial Piano Award and the 2002 Outstanding Merit Award in Piano. She performed twice as a guest soloist with the North Port Orchestra and recently performed Rhapsody in Blue at the Van Wezel with members of the Sarasota Orchestra. She is also the Artistic Director of the Sarasota Choral Society, a 150 member community chorus. She leads them in their annual performance of Handel’s Messiah. In 2007, she founded a community children’s chorus, Sarasota Young Voices. The group has become well-loved throughout the community and has performed nationally and internationally throughout their years of existence. In 2015, Ms. Beauchamp obtained the Artist Teacher Certification through Choral Music Experience. She continues to train under orchestral and choral mentors. She joined the COP team in 2013 and has developed a wonderful relationship with the people in the different ensembles she leads, always striving to put people ahead of music while also looking for creative ways to share music in a meaningful way with both the congregation and the musicians. She shares her love of music with her husband William and their two daughters, Ariane and Daphne.

Harrison Button

Custodian

Tom Dieckhoff

Custodian

Linda Evans

Tutoring Director

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941.924.1323 x 206

Linda is the Director of Tutoring. She has been a member of Church of the Palms since 1994. She has been married to Jeff for 40 years and has one daughter, Carly. Linda has been active in the life of the church as the Moderator and past Treasurer of Presbyterian Women, usher, Creative Signer, tutor, food pantry packer, and she volunteers with the Family Ministry program. Linda is a retired teacher from Sarasota District School system where she taught for 38 years at Sarasota High School, Suncoast Technical College and Venice Middle School. She is an avid fan of Ohio State University where she graduated from the College of Education. Linda enjoys tennis and painting.

Wendy Ghezzi

Senior Staff Accountant

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941.924.1323 x 212

Wendy is the Senior Staff Accountant. She grew up in a loving home in Ohio with very strong work ethics & morals. After attending Davis College, she left Ohio in 1992 and landed in Sarasota working in the finance business. Her heart was not made for working in the “main stream” so in March of 2001 she found Church of the Palms where she has been in the finance department ever since. This place is & has been just the supportive & loving environment for which she had been searching. Not only does she get to serve here at a place that she loves coming to, but she also lives in a place that she loves. Her first love has always been the water; anything to do near the water is for her!

Pam Gillespie

Executive Director of Operations

Pam has been the Executive Director of Operations for Church of the Palms since August of 2017. She has 30 years of experience serving churches as an Executive Director. She was born in West Virginia but spent most of her childhood in Bevercreek, Ohio and moved with her family to Sarasota, FL at the age of 13. Pam graduated from Riverview High School and worked in Sarasota until moving to North Carolina in 1982, where she met her husband, John, at her father’s church. She became instant mom to John, Jr. when they married in 1983 and their son Scott was born in 1986. Pam is a graduate of Catawba College in Salisbury, NC with a Bachelor of Business Administration. John and Pam have four beautiful grandchildren. She had always wanted to return home to Sarasota and was given this opportunity when Church of the Palms offered her this position. Pam actually attended the Church of the Palms Youth Group when she was in high school so she feels she is really “back home” now and is looking forward to continuing her ministry with the church. She loves taking long walks on the beach and trying new recipes.

Jackie Gomez

Communication Coordinator

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941.924.1323 ext. 204

Jackie is a Florida native, having been born and raised in the big city of Miami. Neither right nor left-brained, but more along the middle, she has a love for the arts and sciences. She's used her background in Environment Science to instill in children a love for their environment and the importance of sustainability while trekking through miles of nature trails. Her love for the creative arts brought her to Church of the Palms, where she uses her gifts of graphic design to tell the story of how God is moving through each and every one of us. She's a huge movie-buff, loves all genres of music, an avid gamer, and continues to exercise her creative writing and photography skills while sipping on a Starbuck's tall Javachip Frappuccino.

Carol Homeister

Children’s Director

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941.924.1323 ext. 222

Carol Homeister is the Children’s Ministry Director at Church of the Palms. Carol loves to laugh and share the amazing love of Jesus with kids. She enjoys teaching our Chapel kids each week, Sunday Kids Worship, and mentoring our teens in student ministry. Carol and her Husband Eric have four children and love to vacation in the summers on Lake Michigan.

Ethan Howell

Custodian

Viola Mast

Staff Accountant

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941.924.1323 x 239

Viola is staff accountant. She first moved to Sarasota in 1992, made the horrible mistake of moving back north to Chicago in 2005 and of course came back to Sarasota in 2011. She graduated from University of South Florida in 2004 and has been working in mostly corporate accounting, as well as a few years with a CPA, and a few years of operating her own business. She is thrilled to be serving as the financial liaison to the Preschool as well as backup finance to all other ministries at Church of the Palms. She loves summer evenings on the beach, walking the Ringling bride and Celery Hill.

Mike McCullough

Media Director

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Mike is the Media. Married to wife Aimee for nearly 13 years, Mike has two children; Christian, 14, and Grace, 10. Mike loves music, rollerblading and the work he gets to do every day.

Bob Mowry

Custodian

Don Prieur

Media Director

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941 924-1323 x 236

Dr. Alan Rhodda

Visitation Pastor

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941.924.1323 ext. 235

Alan was a senior pastor of three west coast churches for 21 years. Upon an invitation of a long-time colleague, for 8 years he served as an executive vice president of the American National Red Cross in Washington DC, where he created the human resources system still utilized by the Organization. For 10 years, he served as executive and consultant at Rowan & Blewitt, traveling widely to work with clients in crisis. Moving to Sarasota 7 years ago, Alan became Visitation Pastor at our Church

Alan received his seminary degree at Nazarene Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. at the University of California in Berkeley. While in Virginia, for 11 years as an adjunct professor, he taught leadership and crisis communication courses at the University of Virginia. Alan and Judy love to read, watch movies, explore the beach and share in fellowship with COP members.

Kathy Robinett

Food Ministry Coordinator

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941 924-1323 x 228

Sandy Shockley

Director, Early Childhood Center

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941.921.7892

Sandy has lived in Sarasota for more than 25 years, until recently moving to the Parrish area.   Last spring she married the love of her life and expanded her family by two children. She has worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 20 years, and feels extremely blessed to have spent 17 of those years with wonderful people in a small church here in Sarasota.  For the past five years, she has continued in the ministry right here at Church of the Palms.  When she has free time, she spends it with her family and close friends.  She loves to bake and watch her son play college baseball. 

Cathie Silbaugh

Executive Assistant / Office Manager

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941.924.1323 ext. 205

Cathie Silbaugh is the Executive Assistant/Office Manager at Church of the Palms. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada and after she graduated high school she traveled throughout the United States and Canada as a Sound Engineer. While on a job in the Sarasota/Bradenton area she made the decision to call Bradenton her home. Cathie began working at Church of the Palms in 1999. It has been her pleasure to serve the Pastors, congregation and staff in a supportive role. Cathie has a passion for photography and her four legged children, Bailey, Chase, Bitsy, Fluffy and Samantha.

Steve Sipes

Contemporary Service Worship Leader and Youth Director

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941.924.1323 x 207

Steve is the Worship Leaders in the Contemporary Service and the Youth Director. He has been involved in youth ministry since he was in college, starting as a youth worship leader, then serving as church youth pastor, then as an area director for Young Life youth ministry. He loves being around teens (including his own children) at this significant time of growth and realization of who they are becoming as adults. He loves their energy and creativity, and desires to see them walking with Jesus, using their gifts to serve others.

Sarah Soboleski

Community Engagement Director

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941.924.1323 x 223

Sarah is the Director of Community Engagement. Born and raised in Colorado, Sarah and her family have been members of Church of the Palms since 2013. Sarah went to University of Kansas for her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Journalism (with a PR emphasis). She later earned a Master’s degree in Film Production from the University of Miami. After working as a film and television producer for 15 years, Sarah joined the staff of Church of the Palms in 2017. She’s excited about communicating Church of the Palms’ commitment to love God and love neighbor to the community at large. She has been married for 15 years to Steve and they have two children, Sawyer (11) and Sydney (8). Sarah loves reading, spending time with friends and being on the family boat with dog Huckleberry.

Jonathan Spivey

Church Organist

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941 924-1323 x 233

Yoko Spivey

Sanctuary Worship Coordinator

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941 924-1323 x 233

hobby:  organizing sanctuary closets, cooking, playing with flowers

likes:  strong coffee, dark chocolate, Bach & Prokofiev 

dislikes:  beets, mosquitos, plastic cups left in pews 

James Thompson

Facilities Manager

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941 924-1323 x 213

James was born in Indiana and is married to his high school sweetheart Nicole. They have three boys and soon to be eight grandkids! James earned an Associate’s Degree from Johnson University, a B.S. in Bible Christian Life & Ministry from Lancaster Bible College as well as a Masters of Arts in Christian Ministry from Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary. He has led accomplished careers in retail management and as a pastor, planting over nine churches across the country. He is passionate about Jesus. He loves wrestling, tacos, the water and his family.