Pastor/Head of Staff
Pastor Bryant comes to Palms from Milford Presbyterian Church in Southeast Michigan, where he served for eight years. Prior to that, Bryant served for five years as an associate pastor at Doylestown Presbyterian Church in suburban Philadelphia. Bryant studied religion and philosophy at the University of Florida earned his M.Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing his doctorate at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Bryant and his wife, Kristen, have four children: Owen, Ellery, Emmi, and Reid.
Associate Pastor of Serve Ministry
Rev. Dr. Laurie Furr-Vancini is a native of North Florida. She grew up in Gainesville and then Macclenny, Florida, and is a graduate of Baker County High School. Following high school, Laurie attended Wake Forest University earning a B.A. with double majors in Religion and Sociology. She earned an M.A.Ed. from Virginia Tech. Upon leaving Virginia Tech, Laurie worked in the Housing and Student Activities offices at Georgia Tech, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. Laurie attended Candler School of Theology at Emory and Columbia Theological Seminary, earned an M.Div. and was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, PC(USA) in October 1999. Laurie is married to Jeff, and they have three children: Charlie, Sam, and Abbie. Laurie enjoys her book club, working out and traveling.
Coordinator of Connection Ministries
Dana was born and grew up in Jacksonville (Florida). She graduated from Robert E. Lee High School, attended Converse College for two years, then transferred to the University of Georgia where she graduated with a BS in Psychology. Following college, Dana came back to Jacksonville and began working for Barnett Bank, two years later she married Jim and together they parented four, now adult, children. Dana received her call to go to seminary when her youngest was in high school. Last May, she graduated with an MDiv degree from Columbia Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a Masters of Theology, online. Dana is glad to be back at Palms where she completed her Supervised Ministry during the summer of 2019. Dana’s present passions include being in nature, practicing yoga, reading books authored by women of color, and creating ways to come together to talk about historically avoided topics.
Adult Ministry Coordinator
William (Bill) Wildey, took early retirement from Church World Service following 31 years of service. During his tenure at Church World Service, Bill traveled to many countries around the world. He has taught workshops on effective public speaking, storytelling, major gift fundraising, and more. Bill has hosted and been a guest on many radio and television programs through the years. Early in his career, he worked with singer/songwriter Harry Chapin in his efforts to address global hunger. Throughout his career he has worked with various performers, including Pete Seeger, Lou Rawls, Noel Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul and Mary), Tim Janis, and others. Following his retirement, Bill served as Interim Pastor at Zion United Church of Christ in South Bend, Indiana before he and his wife, Maureen, moved to Ponte Vedra.
Director of Music and Fine Arts
Born and raised in Minnesota, Dr. Ronn Cummings holds degrees in piano performance and conducting from The University of Wisconsin, Southern Methodist University and The University of North Texas College of Music. He studied conducting with Joseph Hawthorne, Elizabeth Green, Murry Sidlin (Aspen School of Music), Herbert Blomstedt and Anshel Brusilow. In 1997 he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of North Texas and subsequently joined the faculty of UNT where he served as Assistant Director of Orchestras, conducting the UNT Chamber Orchestra and teaching conducting. In 2000, he accepted a position as Director of Orchestral Studies at The University of Akron where he led the University Symphony Orchestra and taught music history, conducting and orchestration. While in Ohio he also served as Director of Music at The First Congregational Church of Hudson. In 2004, Dr. Cummings was appointed as Director of Music and Fine Arts at Palms.
Church Business Director
Lori Vaughn moved to Jacksonville in the fall of 2016 from central Nebraska where she grew up on a cattle ranch. Using her degree in Nonprofit Management with an Accounting Emphasis, Lori worked for a large church in Nebraska as their business manager for 22 years. Family and fantastic weather motivated Lori and her husband Steve to relocate to the Jacksonville area. She has two grown children; Amy, a Coast Guard officer, and Andy, a computer engineer, who resides in Toronto with his wife Josie. Lori enjoys spending time with family, reading, and watching college football and volleyball (especially the Huskers).
Although not a “native Floridian,” Jimmy Steele considers himself “close enough.” He grew up in Winter Haven where he would later teach middle school for seven years. Prior to coming to Palms, he served churches in Orlando, Fort Myers Beach, Lakeland, and Winter Haven. He is an ordained ruling elder in the PCUSA, has served on leadership teams for the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators, and Presbyterian Youth Worker’s Association, and has been active in presbytery ministries wherever he has served. As a former Camp Board of Directors member, Jimmy felt his call to full time ministry while serving as a summer camp worship leader. Triennium, Montreat, Cedarkirk, and the mountains of Vermont are just a few of his favorite places to experience God’s presence. In addition to his love of the ministry, he loves sports, going on retreats with students, “playing golf”, visiting his family, and traveling. Jimmy is married to Katie and they have a daughter Hadley, and a cat Ginger.
Director of Palms Preschool
Mahreen Mian has over 20 years of experience working in the early childhood industry. She serves on various EEC and director’s network committees, mentors directors, is a professional development specialist for Child Development Associate (CDA), is an Infant/Toddler and Pre-K certified observer in CLASS assessment, is a trained infant toddler intervention specialist (ITDS) and has assisted faculty at the university of North Florida with research in EEC curriculum. Mahreen has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. In 2010 Mahreen received the Spot Award from University of North Florida for her extraordinary leadership skills. Mahreen lives here in Jacksonville with her husband and son. Her daughter is married and lives in Calgary, Canada. Mahreen has two beautiful grandsons who are the apple of her eyes. In her free time Mahreen loves to travel, do gardening and embroider & sew.
Rev. Lloyd Alamsha
Administrative Assistant for Connection & Finance
Administrative Assistant for Nurture
Administrative Assistant for Serve & Outreach Ministry
Facilities & Maintenance Manager
John Paul Schexnayder
Preschool Administrative Assistant
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