Meet Our Team
I am passionate about faith development, spiritual formation, preaching, and writing; and I have been profoundly influenced by my participation in the Upper Room’s Two Year Academy for Spiritual Formation. The Christian mystics of the Middle Ages, as well as the writings of the early Christians a presented by the book The Sayings of the Desert Fathers fascinate me because I believe these early Christians along with St. John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, the writer of The Cloud of Unknowing, and the like, have much wisdom to convey to us in a modern age.
My goal in worship is to help connect the ordinary person with the Spirit of the Living God as revealed to the world in Jesus Christ. For me, worship means singing old and new hymns, chanting our prayers, grounding ourselves in the beautiful rituals and sacraments of the church, embracing the prayer of silence, and deeply listening to the Word of God as proclaimed in Scripture. One of the foundational scriptures that shapes me is “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).
Being influenced by and formed by many people and their writings and teaching, I give particular thanks for the lives and works of modern folk like Roberta Bondi, Kathleen Norris, Parker Palmer, Howard Thurman, and Richard Rohr. In addition to the sense of fulfillment I receive from working for God in the church, I also enjoy gardening, walking, and running.
As for “where I come from” and my background in work and school, I grew up in the very small town of Hurtsboro, AL. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Huntingdon College, with double majors in English and History. After graduating from Candler School of Theology at Emory University with a Master of Divinity, I began serving as a pastor in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. From 1998 – 2009, I served in four appointments within our conference. Just before my appointment in January 2017, I served at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Panama City, Florida, I spent several years in Toronto, Ontario serving as a pastor in the United Church of Canada.
In addition to pastoral duties in the local church, I served as the chairperson of the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry for the annual conference from 2005-2009 and as a member of the CORE Team, the Alabama-West Florida annual conference leadership group. This work was particularly gratifying because of my belief in the need for the church to make intentional efforts to reach and be in ministry with young adults. I have also worked closely with conference and district United Methodist Women’s groups, Clergywomen in Ministry, the Commission on the Status and Role of Women committee, and the Youth Ministry Academy. Another facet of my ministry is in the written word. I have been published in two editions of The Abingdon Preaching Annual 2011 & 2012, The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2014 & 2015, the Upper Room’s Disciplines 2015, and I write my own blog called An Everyday Mystic (http://aneverydaymystic.wordpress.com/).
REV. AMY PERSONS, SENIOR PASTOR
REV. DARRIN ISAAC, ASSOCIATE PASTOR &
As the Music Minister at Point Washington UMC, I am committed to cultivating, inspiring, and enlivening the worship of our community. I believe that the practice and preparation of musical ensembles is not to create a dynamic of performers for an audience, but to empower those who lead the community in praise and prayer through the offering of musical gifts. I experience worship as a time for joyful acclamation as well as a time for prayerful contemplation. Through music I feel that faith communities can learn, grow, and be sent out as prophetic leaders in their daily lives.
I grew up in rural Indiana in a little town called Waldron. I received a Bachelor of Science in Music from the University of Indianapolis and a Master of Arts in Music Ministry from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary where my primary focus of study was liturgical composition. I am currently pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Christian Theological Seminary.
I have been involved with music ministry for most of my life as a leader of praise bands, a choral scholar, a conductor, and as a composer. My creative passion is composing new hymns and anthems that respond to contemporary issues while remaining rooted in the traditions of justice, compassion, and hope that are professed in the Christian faith.
I currently live in Panama City Beach with my wife Natalie, son, and my husky Yeti. In my free time I enjoy gardening, skateboarding, and playing music with my wife and friends.
PAUL BARNETT, YOUTH DIRECTOR
I have served as Director of Youth Ministries at Point Washington United Methodist Church since July 2005. Prior to joining the ministry team at PWUMC, I served on staff at Niceville UMC, as a volunteer youth leader at St. Augustine UMC, and as a short term missionary to Guinea-Bissar, Africa. I came to know Christ at the age of 16 in 1997 and experienced the call to the ministry in 1999 while working as a youth ministry intern at Niceville UMC.
I was born and raised in Niceville, Florida and graduated from Niceville High School in 1998. I received a Bachelors Degree in Social Sciences with an emphasis in History and Religion from Flagler College in 2004. I have one child, Isaiah.
I have a deep passion for connecting teenagers to Christ and to each other in true Christian community. When not hanging out with the students of POWASH Youth, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, playing disc golf, ultimate frisbee, kayaking, throwing the cast net, watching movies, and watching college football!
KELLY YOAKUM, CHILDREN'S DIRECTOR
My first experience in ministry was leading worship in children's ministry growing up as a preacher's kid in a small military town in Alabama. After graduating with an Early Childhood degree, I began teaching in a private Christian school in Birmingham, Alabama. While volunteering in the children's music ministry, my home church asked me to step in as children's director interim to coordinate, recruit, and lead children's programming. Through that experience, I found an excitement for working full time in church ministry.
Throughout the years, I have served in children's ministry through a leadership role full time and as a volunteer. My passion is building a community to reflect the love of God through gifts and service. My hobbies include playing the piano, beach time, watching her daughter play volleyball, baking apple pies and homemade yeast rolls, and taking my dog, Conner, on walks.
I am excited to build relationships within the Santa Rosa Beach community and offer a welcoming place for children to grow with connection and create a curiosity for spiritual growth.
Growing up in DeFuniak Springs, I am a Walton County native who has returned home after many years away. I graduated from the University of South Alabama with a B.S. in Business Management and an Accounting Major. For most of my career, I held various positions in leadership with Penske Truck Leasing. I have served as District Administrator, District Financial Manager, Branch Manager and Lease Sales Representative in Atlanta and Montgomery. T
I am happy to be part of our staff where I can offer my gifts in business administration and finance to the work of God through our church. I have a long history with the United Methodist Church and have served in several leadership capacities in other churches in our conference, and am very happy to be back “home” at Point Washington UMC.
TERRI ALEXANDER, BUSINESS MANAGER
SHAWN SHAFFER, COMMUNICATIONS & OPERATIONS
I was born and raised in the BBQ capital of the world, Kansas City! Almost five years ago, my family and I embarked on a new chapter of our lives and relocated to the beautiful Emerald Coast. I have been happily married for 21 years and am blessed with four wonderful children.
With a background spanning over two decades in the field of Information Technology, I have worn various hats ranging from the help desk to senior systems administrator. Eight years ago, we made a decision for me to embrace the role of a stay-at-home dad, and each day of this incredible journey has been a source of joy and fulfillment.
Currently, I am honored to serve as the Communications and Operations Coordinator at Point Washington United Methodist Church. This role allows me to combine my technical expertise with my love for community involvement. At the heart of it all, I am committed to fostering connections, facilitating seamless operations, and contributing to the overall well-being of our church community.
Beyond my professional pursuits, my family remains my anchor, and I find immense joy in nurturing the bonds that tie us together. As I continue this exciting journey at Point Washington United Methodist Church, I look forward to contributing my skills and passion to create a vibrant and connected community within our church family.
JERRY KELLY, FACILITIES MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR
Jerry's photo and bio are coming soon!
I have been the senior nursery attendant at PWUMC for over 10 years! I love the kiddos of this community and look forward to providing dependable, safe and nurturing care every Sunday morning, Wednesday night and anytime in between!
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and grandson.
JULIENE WATSON, SENIOR NURSERY ATTENDANT
NATALIE ISAAC, MUSIC ACADEMY DIRECTOR
MARGARET COX, AUDIO VISUAL TECH
I was born and raised in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee. From my earliest days, I found solace and purpose in the halls of the First Baptist Church Knoxville. It was there that my passion for music blossomed, leading me to become a longtime soloist both within the church choir and in the wider community.
One of the highlights of my musical journey was the honor of singing the National Anthem for the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball games over three decades. It was a privilege to lend my voice to such a beloved tradition and to be part of the excitement surrounding those games.
In addition to my musical endeavors, I found fulfillment in service and event management. For a decade, I had the distinct privilege of serving as the producer and director of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies in Knoxville, TN. This role allowed me to celebrate the achievements of remarkable athletes and contribute to the rich tapestry of women's sports history.
My professional journey also led me to the position of Director of Corporate Operations for the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation, where I had the opportunity to promote the vibrant culture and attractions of my hometown.
Even in retirement, my commitment to service and music remains unwavering. For over 15 years, I dedicated my time as a volunteer audiovisual technician at First Baptist Church, and now, in my new home in Florida, I've found joy in continuing this role at Point Washington United Methodist Church. Additionally, I'm delighted to serve as the Audio Visual Director for Point Washington, while still sharing my voice in the church choir and assisting as the volunteer assistant music director.
Through music, service, and community involvement, I've found purpose and fulfillment, and I look forward to continuing to share my talents and passion with those around me.
In my free time, I cherish moments spent with my friends and family. I also love playing golf. There's something truly special about the serene atmosphere, the challenge of the game, and the camaraderie shared among fellow golfers. It's a wonderful way for me to unwind and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors.
And of course, I can't forget to mention my beloved furry companion, Bunker. As a dedicated dog lover, I find endless delight in showering Bunker with love and affection. Whether we're taking leisurely walks, playing fetch in the backyard, or simply cuddling up together, Bunker fills my life with unconditional love and happiness.
In all aspects of my life, whether it's through music, service, hobbies, or companionship, I strive to find meaning and fulfillment. I am grateful for each day and the opportunities it brings to make a positive impact and share my blessings with those around me.