Meet Our Staff
Curtiss Cain: Pastor
My name is Rev. Curtiss Cain and I am blessed to serve as the Pastor here at Salem UMC. I received my bachelor’s degree in Church Ministry with a Minor in Education from Warner University and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. Over the years I have served my God as the Director of Youth Ministries for the First United Methodist Church of Lake Wales FL. for some five and a half years, Pastor of the Alturas United Methodist Church in Bartow FL. for a year and Pastor of the Sun Ray United Methodist Church in Frostproof, FL. for four years before joining this church family in 2016. I have also been blessed to serve as a hospital chaplain, volunteer chaplain in Juvenile Corrections and in a variety of other ministries.
I am here because I'm passionate about helping others know the boundless, endless love of Christ I have found, the same forgiving, accepting love that is available to them. I love helping people both explore their faith in a very real every day sense that applies to their life and helping them see how God is trying to walk with them in their life. I have a heart for helping people understand the deep things about the scriptures using words everyone can understand, and it is through all this I hope for others to see how God is inviting them into a relationship and inviting them to deepen their walk with Christ.
Gene Loy: Coffee House Service Worship Leader
Hi, I am the Coffee House Service Worship Leader, which means I play the guitar and lead the congregation in songs and help in the prayer time. I started this position in 2008. Before being at Salem United Methodist Church I spent most of my life playing and singing music. I have played guitar for about 35 years and have played in a variety of venues such as prisons, restaurants and nightclubs. My education in music has been mostly self-taught. I have a bachelor’s degree in theology and I am a licensed minister through the Word of Faith Church. My passion in leading worship is one I take very seriously. I feel as a worship leader my job is to invite people into the throne room of God, where the minister who brings the Word can be His voice and messenger. My hope for what I do in the worship service here at Salem is to help lead people to a better understanding of God and into God’s family.
Savannah Hirst: Choir Director
Greetings! My name is Savannah Hirst and I am the Choir Director here at Salem United Methodist Church. I hail from Ocala, Florida, and can remember having a love for music from a young age. During my youth, I began singing in church, as my love for worshiping the Lord in song grew. This inspired me to pursue music in college at The Florida State University, attaining my bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance, and performing in several operas.
In addition to my passion for singing, I also enjoy conducting, as I feel it gives me a unique chance to interact and share my gifts with a diverse group while we join together in worship through music. One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 98:4 – “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” It is my hope that in leading Salem United Methodist Church Choir, we will all be able to sing the Lord’s praises in fellowship with each other in an open and loving space.
Yu Chien Chen: Tradtional Service Pianist
My name is Yu Chien Chen and I have been playing piano here at the Salem United Methodist Church for over 30 years. I received a Bachelor's Degree from Shanghai Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance, a Masters Degree in Music from Eastern Illinois University and a Doctorate in Music from Florida State University. My experience includes teaching at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music for a couple of years, work as a collaborator pianist, appearances at national competitions, conferences and music festivals. In addition to helping lead worship music during the traditional service at Salem UMC I also work in affiliation with FSU’s music school. My hope is, my playing will let people enjoy the peaceable purity of church music.
Lindy Pennington: Nursery Ministires Coordinator
I work in Salem UMC’s Nursery caring for children under 5. My qualifications are; 30 clocked hours with the Florida Department of Children & Families, Early Literacy for children age Birth-Three, Child Care Facility and Child/Infant CPR, AED & First Aid. As an activist for The Voice of Children, I volunteered through the Guardian Ad litem program. I am a mother of three, son Saxon, daughter Leah and adopted son, David. My lifelong passion for children is for their voice to be heard, for them to be safe and to know they are loved.
Summer Kennedy: Nursery Staff
My name is Summer Kennedy, I work at Salem United Methodist Church as a Nursery Worker. I have worked with many kids since childhood and through my early adult years. I grew up in a loving home were my mother, my sister and I dedicated ourselves to providing loving care to children in need. Seeing the personalities of many children it was easy to become attached. Through this adventure, I have found great joy and desire in giving love and hope to God’s precious little ones.
Karen Stansberry: Office Administrator
I began serving as Salem UMC Office Administrator in July 2008. I have several years of management experience in a variety of industries such as banking, medical and manufacturing. I enjoy being involved in a wide range of activities in the church office.
My husband John and I moved to Havana in 1999. When we started coming to Salem we realized how many of our neighbors also attended here. We love the small-town atmosphere where neighbors are more like family.
As the primary contact person for Salem UMC, I am especially blessed by the opportunity to develop new friendships, personally and for the church. It is rewarding to support good stewardship of Salem’s resources through my work activities, which in turn, helps support our mission of sharing His love and making new disciples of Jesus Christ.