Stay Tuned. More to Come!!
Danny Davis was born in St Joseph, MO. With a father in the United States Navy, Davis moved frequently in his childhood throughout the central and western US and Japan. He graduated from Baker University, a United Methodist related college in Baldwin City, KS. He spent 3 years at Baker studying music education with an emphasis in choral music and voice. In 1976, Davis joined the United State Navy as a hospital corpsman. He served as a surgical technologist, and later supervised the minor surgery clinic and emergency room. After the Navy, Davis completed his degree studies in Organizational Theory and Management at the Davis School of Business, Jacksonville University. He worked briefly as a financial advisor before taking his family to Atlanta to attend the Candler School of Theology at Emory University as an ordination candidate. Davis came back to Florida and served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church. In 1996 Davis left pastoral ministry and took a position with Church World Service in Miami, supervising a legal services program for immigrants. He later became the executive of a non-profit agency educating people in how to obtain appropriate health care. Davis obtained his teaching credentials as an ESE Teacher with an endorsement in Autism. He retired as a teacher in a self-contained autism classroom in the Broward public school system. Danny and Pam have been married for 41 years. They have two grown children and three grandchildren. They have both served United Methodist Women enthusiastically. As a pastor, Danny supported the programs and purpose of the United Methodist Women, and as a layperson has been a patient husband to a wife deeply involved in living the purpose. He is a member of the Order of St. Luke, the only religious order in the United Methodist church. The order seeks to educate the church in living out the sacramental life we have been called to by Christ.
Rev. Pierre Exantus moved from Haiti to the United States in October 2005. He and his wife, Lenard Brumaire Exantus, have been married for 22 years. They are blessed with three children: Pierre Chrisley A. Exantus; Pierre Christ-Samy Exantus and Chrisend Exantus. Rev. Exantus was born and raised in a Roman Catholic family, and then converted to a Methodist Church of Haiti at 8 years old. He obtained a Master’s degree in Divinity from Methodist Theological School in Ohio in December 2014, at which time he became the pastor at St Luke’s UMC in Lake Worth. He was commissioned as a Provisional Elder at FLUMC in June 2018. Rev. Exantus also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education Science from Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Educational Teaching School in Haiti and from the Methodist School in Petion-Ville, Haiti. He graduated from Harris Stowe State University in 2000 and did a one-year Intensive program in Mental Retardation. Rev. Exantus enjoys books and all people.
Julie Hamilton is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor by profession and has been working with children and families for almost two decades. She has committed her God-given gifts to helping others, and is passionate about strengthening the core of our social fabric, families. She currently works at a private Christian school as an administrator. Julie is a long-time member of United Methodist Women, and has served in leadership at the local unit level, as well as in her district. She has led many Bible studies, and has taught and trained in both her professional career and through her volunteer work. She holds strong to the traditional Christian values in which she was raised, while being highly committed to justice and service. She is a wife and mother of 3, and describes these two roles as the most precious of God’s blessings in her life.
In the words of Tori Edwards: “Hi, I’m Tori! I am a graduate of the University of South Florida, where I met my husband, Khyre, while we were both earning our undergraduate degrees in psychology. We are proud parents of three incredible girls: Emelia, Makena, and Naomi. My life’s passion is to raise my girls to love God and their neighbors, and leave behind a church and earth where they can do that well. I am the Director of Engagement and Children at Allendale United Methodist Church where our ministry together is to love God and love our neighbors, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, background or belief, age or condition of ableness, whether single or partnered, all are welcomed, beloved, neighbors. Through my own journey of mental health illness and wellness, I have become passionate about seeing mental health challenges embraced and destigmatized in the church and the world. I cannot wait to meet you and join together in this journey of finding peace in this anxious world.”
I am Jetro Jeune, a Provisional Elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, now serving Wabasso Haitian Mission United Methodist Church. I’ve been married to Kerlyne Charles-Jeune for 15 years. We have five children: Jah’kelsen, Nathaniel, Kayla-Mae, Eroldson and Gosly. By the grace of God, we are continuing to grow stronger in our relationship and in our relationship with God. God’s love toward us has never failed. He is a loving God, a patient God and a God of peace. I am so grateful for the call to pastoral ministry, partnering with God in the redemptive mission of the world. I have realized obedience and humbleness are two characteristics that God requires in order to continue to be used as an instrument to fulfill the grand commission, Matthew 28:19-20, to transform the world. My desire is to be obedient and to be humble. It is an honor to serve as a “Mission u Study Leader” for a second time. I am so excited about what I will be experiencing at Mission u this year. I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary, in 2012 (MDiv), and also have a BA in International Studies.
Rev. Dr. Sueng Lin Baik is grateful to serve as a Study Leader at Mission u for the second time. He is currently the senior pastor of a rapidly growing Korean church in Tampa and partners his ministry with his wife, Hye Ryoung, and two daughters. Rev. Baik graduated from the Methodist Theological Seminary in Seoul, Korea in 1993 and received a master’s degree there in 1995. A year later, he was ordained in the Seoul Annual Conference of the Korean Methodist Church. After ministering in various local churches, Rev. Baik served as a naval chaplain in the Korean military. He continued his education, earning a second master’s degree and a doctorate at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. His dissertation focuses on the role of spiritual gifts in the church. Rev. Baik writes that a healthy church is like a healthy body, with every part knowing what unique gifts it can contribute. He believes spiritual gifts are tools that help members find their places in the church, as desired and designed by God. Rev. Baik served as the senior pastor at the Salisbury Korean United Methodist Church in Maryland from 2002 to 2011. Since 2011, he has been the senior pastor at Tampa Korean United Methodist Church.
Norla Cruz was born in Cuba. She moved to Miami when she was young. Norla is a retired teacher who graduated from Florida International University with a BA in Spanish and Modern Languages, and a K-12 teaching degree. She did her graduate studies in Linguistics, with a minor in French and Portuguese. Norla is a member of Kendall UMC, Miami, and has been involved with United Methodist Women since the early 1980’s. She has worked with children in her local church and on several mission trips to Jamaica teaching VBS. She has taught the children’s class at Mission u for many years, and has coordinated and taught programs for the Hispanic Family Camps for 14 years. Norla currently serves as Chairperson for the District Committee on Nominations. She has also served as District Secretary, Education and Interpretation Coordinator and Hispanic Coordinator. Norla and David have been married for 35 years. They have a son, David, and a daughter, Giselle, who grew up participating in the School of Christian Mission and Mission u.
Dr. Lorraine Mayfield-Brown is president of her unit of United Methodist Women at Oakhurst UMC. Prior to holding this position, she served as Mission Coordinator for Membership, Nurture and Outreach for the Gulf Central District. Dr. Brown has served as a youth Study Leader for the “Food and Faith” study, and as an adult Study Leader for “What About Our Money?”. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the City University of New York-Graduate Center.
After retiring from Alabama A&M University as a Professor in Psychology and Counseling, Anne Winn moved to Florida. She and her husband built a home in Port St. John and her first encounter with United Methodist Women was at Indian River UMC (after 25 years as a Presbyterian). Anne has been a member of three districts and an officer in all three (Atlantic Central, North East, and East Central). Currently, she is President of the East Central District. Her passion is teaching and she enjoys working with Mission u. Previously, she taught the Climate Justice mission study and is excited about this year. “I’m eager to be a co-presenter of the PUSHOUT study with Lorraine Mayfield-Brown.”
Stay Tuned. More to Come!!
Amy Mormino teaches World Religions at the University of Tampa and St. Petersburg College. She received her Ph.D. in Non-Western Christianity at the University of Edinburgh and enjoys researching and writing about how global religious trends impact Florida. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with the world's cutest cat.
Grace Okerson has been participating in United Methodist Women events, at the local, district, conference, jurisdictional and national levels since she was an infant. She credits United Methodist Women for the leadership roles she has assumed throughout her young life, but particularly for the passion for mission that was instilled in her through her participation at School of Christian Mission and Mission u year after year. Grace has served as the Facilitator for the Florida Conference United Methodist Women Youth Retreat, as an Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker, and as the youth Mission u Study Leader. Grace graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science with minors in Diversity and Social Inequality, Women and Gender Studies, and Journalism Studies from the University of Central Florida. Grace served as Global Mission Fellow with the General Board of Global Ministries as the Bag Lunch & Volunteer Coordinator at the NOAH Project, an agency tackling issues around homeless in downtown Detroit, MI. A member at Miramar United Methodist Church and a certified candidate for Ordained Ministry, Grace currently attends Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and is pursuing a Master of Arts in Public Ministry, with a concentration in racial justice.
Stay Tuned. More to Come!!
Rev. Luc Dessieux was born in 1945 in a rural town of Haiti. At the age of 8, his parents sent him to his aunt’s home in Cap Haitien for school, returning only occasionally during breaks. After high school he graduated from a teachers’ school in Port-Au-Prince, and returned to Cap Haitien, where he started working as a grammar school teacher, as well as serving as a lay preacher for the Methodist Church of Haiti. Four years later he was promoted to the position of grammar school supervisor for the circuit, and after another two years was married. As Rev. Dessieux was becoming one of the most creative, productive and active persons for the circuit, he was chosen, along with the pastor, to represent the circuit overseas. After considering living expenses, the size of his family (5 children), and his monthly take-home pay of $70, he decided to venture across the ocean to create a better life for the family he loves. In November 1979 he took a boat to Florida, and after spending 3 months in the Bahamas, another boat took him to West Palm Beach, Florida. Rev. Dessieux was arrested and detained by the coast guard for another month before he was released to the custody of a relative. In January of 1981 he was referred to Grace United Methodist Church in Miami. With the same enthusiasm and desire to serve, even though he did not speak the language, he was able to make an opening by creating a Sunday school class for his people who also did not speak English. In September of the same year he was called to start the Haitian Mission and establish it under the umbrella of the United Methodist Church of Florida. In 1994, partnering with United Methodist Women, they opened a class in Creole for Haitians at the School of Christian Mission. Rev. Dessieux was ordained as an elder twenty-three years later, and retired after thirty-four years of service to the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Rev. Michelle Shrader is originally from Tampa, Florida and a member of Hyde Park United Methodist Church. She graduated from Duke Divinity School, receiving the McMurry Ritchey Outstanding Student in Mission of the Church Award. Upon graduation, Rev. Shrader was awarded a fellowship to Study Religion & Race and served in Jackson, Mississippi with Rev. Keith Tonkel, a Civil Rights leader, and one of the signers of the Born of Conviction Statement. She later served as the Co-Chair for the Commission on Religion and Race, leading cross racial Clergy groups and community dialogues to promote racial reconciliation within the MS Annual Conference. Michelle most recently served in South Africa for three years with the Bishop of Cape Town. While there, she served with ministries in the gang ridden Cape Flats area, helped to develop a four-campus wide student ministry, and organized workshops for local congregations to strengthen their presence in their communities. Rev. Shrader now serves as the Missions Initiatives Specialist for the SE District, where she leads workshops, heads the team that is developing Fresh Expressions ministries in the District, and serves a local congregation, Killian Pines United Methodist Church, a beautiful community of Jesus followers.