I am a husband, father and
pastor. After meeting on a “blind date,”
my wife Alisa and I have now been married for 35 Years. We are blessed with two adult children, Cara
and Rachel. There have also been guinea pigs, mice, a dog and a cat along the way!
I graduated from Jacksonville University, magna cum laude in 1983, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and was
inducted into Psi Chi (National Honor Society in Psychology for academic
achievement). I completed a Master of Divinity in 1986 from Columbia Theological
Seminary and ordained as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the PCUSA in 1987. My first call was to be the Area Director for Young Life’s student
outreach ministry in East Volusia County/Daytona Beach. In 1993, I completed a three-year advanced
degree program in Pastoral Psychotherapy. Changes came in 1996, as I left the Young Life staff to become the
Parish Associate at Christ Presbyterian Church. In 1998, I was called to be Associate Pastor at CPC and served until
2004. On October 5, 2005, I assume the called position as Pastor/Head of staff
at Markham Woods Presbyterian Church, Lake Mary, Florida where I continue to
Although I was raised in my neighborhood
Presbyterian Church and active in the student ministry, my faith became dynamically
activated in my high school Young Life Club. The relational style of ministry coupled with sharing the adventure of
the Jesus story in its natural fullness, set me on a path toward helping people
experience God’s love in Jesus Christ. It may sound “corny” but since my youth, I’ve felt that God had
something important for me to do. I’ve
been on that path ever since.Having a sound theological education is important,
however my post graduate training in Pastoral Psychotherapy had enabled me to
weave Young Life’s simple message of the Gospel and a ministry of caring into a
form that suits my personality and calling. Imagine that, God using the basics of my life to form a disciple!
We don’t need scientific studies
or psychological theses to tell us we long for something beyond ourselves. Even more, we long for a loving relationship
that make sense out of our being. I have
found only one answer to this longing that makes any lasting sense – it’s a
relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ. The community at MWPC creates the perfect
platform to not only grow faith in God through Jesus, but to follow that up
with Jesus’ imperative to reach out to a lost, hurting and all-too-often lonely
world. Markham Woods is a place where all
these components of faith push forward for the Kingdom of God.
I love seeing people become
energized in their faith. The Young Life
“evangelist” in me gets really excited when someone who knows little about God,
faith or Jesus, discovers the real secret of a full and meaningful life. The mentor in me loves to see someone be
“called up” in their faith and become a Jesus with skin on type for
someone else. The pastor in me loves to come
alongside the personal stories of people and walk with them through what Psalm
23 calls the shadow valleys of their life. When a group of Christians forms and lives out these aspects of faith,
then they are living the church. So, I get
excited as MWPC lives the Church!
I grew up a surfer, skier and
adventurer. I get energized by creating
and building things, be it with my hands or with my mind. Music, especially guitar, has also been a key
outlet of expression and ministry. However, more recently I have been enthralled
with the Old Testament. Can you believe it,
the “boring” old testament? My travels
to Israel and studies of not only Jesus’ cultural setting in which he shares
His Gospel, but a deeper understanding of ancient Paleo-Hebrew has opened up the
full palette of colors for me in the Gospel itself.
God called, grew, and groomed me
for His purpose. Now, for the past 14
years, it has been to be God’s disciple, God’s apostle and God’s pastor for
Markham Woods. As long as God can use me
to accomplish God’s purpose for this faith community, or, until that call, as
guided by the Holy Spirit changes, I serve.
Pastor Jody serves MWPC in his first call to ordained
Ministry of Word and Sacrament. He was born in Orlando, baptized in a
congregation of the Reformed Church in America, and grew up west of Pine Hills.
As a child, Little League baseball, Legos, and Matchbox cars were his
obsessions. Though he left church as a teen, God was not through with him!
Jody graduated from West Orange High School in 1989 and the
University of Central Florida in 1996 (Go Knights!) He and Ellen married in
2005 After working in various administrative capacities for many years, he
heard God’s call to pursue ministry with the help of church members from Park
Lake Presbyterian Church in Orlando. He studied for his Master of Divinity at
University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in the distance learning cohort.
While there, he also worked as an administrative assistant for Central Florida
Presbytery, an experience he likes to call his “third internship” (with the
other two at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Mary and Grace Covenant
Presbyterian Church). He earned a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education through
Nemours Children’s Hospital.
As a nearly-lifelong resident of Central Florida, Jody loves
to take day hikes, and has volunteered with Seminole Country Natural Lands as a
hike leader for many years. His newest physical discipline is distance running,
and he has four half-marathons and four marathons under his feet.
Jody and Ellen, a media specialist at Aloma Elementary
School, have no children, but two furry felines named Skittish and
Jellybean. Jody and Ellen love to try new restaurants with friends or just for date
nights, and spending time outdoors, even if only for yard work, is rewarding.
will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion,
and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2
5210 Markham Woods Road | Lake Mary, FL 32746407-333-2030