Meet Our Staff
Curtiss Cain: Pastor
My name is 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, as well as a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. Over the years I have served the Lord as 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 coming here in 2016. In addition, I have been blessed to serve as a hospital chaplain, volunteer chaplain in Juvenile Corrections and a variety of other ministires.
I am in ministry because I'm passionate about helping others know about the endless love of Christ and helping them both explore their faith in a very real every day since as well as deeping their walk with Christ.
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 to enjoy the peaceable purity of church music.
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.
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.
Lindy Pennington: Nursery Staff
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.
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.
Don Thames: Choir Director
I began serving as the Choir Director at Salem United Methodist Church in August of 2016. At the age of 15, I began leading music and teaching in the church and have continuously looked for opportunities to serve the body of Christ wherever I go. In 2010 I received a Bachelor of Arts in Music, with an emphasis in Voice, from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Currently, I am pursuing a Bachelor of Music Education in Choral Music Education from Florida State University, with plans to graduate in December of 2017. After moving to Tallahassee with my wife, Emily, in 2013, I met Dr. André Thomas and immediately took to singing in several FSU ensembles, including the Chamber Choir, the Choral Union, the Tallahassee Community Chorus, and the FSU Men’s Glee Club. During the 2014-15 school year, I served as the Assistant Director of Music at the First Presbyterian Church in Quincy, Florida, under the direction of Dr. Adam Potter, and during the 2015-16 year, I served as a full-time staff singer at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee, Florida, under the direction of Dr. Betsy Calhoun.
The choir and I, along with our excellent accompanist, Yu Chien, spend our Wednesday evenings learning more about singing and preparing music to be used for the Call to Worship and the Anthem, then leading those pieces each Sunday. My passion for singing and teaching others about using their voices comes from a desire to help people better understand themselves, and ultimately, others. Singing is a practice in vulnerability, as the human voice is a beautiful, flexible instrument through which individuals’ express emotions, needs, ideas, and especially their identity. By learning to use their voice in worship, the willing singer learns to give their Voice to God – more than just the words or melodies. By learning to use their voice more fully, the singer can find another part of who they are – another part of who God made them to be.