Rick Brooks - Senior Pastor
The Rev. Dr. Rick Brooks, a native of Raymond, MS, has been an ordained elder in the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church since 1990. He has been pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Tupelo since 2008, which sustained heavy tornado damage on April 28, 2014, and just recently completed an extensive rebuilding program.
Prior to serving in Tupelo, Dr. Brooks was pastor of Main Street United Methodist in Bay St. Louis (2002-2008) before and after Hurricane Katrina, which continues to serve as a touchstone for receiving and sharing the gifts of vital community. Rick is married to Lynn Loflin Brooks (28 years), who found her niche in public education as a media specialist. Rick and Lynn have two children, Catherine (26) of Slidell, Louisiana, and John Wesley, a special needs son born in 1995. Rick is the son of Fred (deceased) and Sue Brooks, and the brother of Rebecca Brooks Prewitt, both of Clinton, Mississippi.
A graduate of Raymond High School, Hinds Community College, and Mississippi State University, Rick has advanced degrees from Candler School of Theology, Emory University (MDiv), and Columbia Theological Seminary (DMin), with a
focus on Church and Ministry. He loves preaching, teaching, and connecting with people in new ways with the love of Christ. His interests include spiritual direction, reading, singing, golf, and running and walking with Gambit, the family Australian Shepherd. The Brooks family is thrilled to be returning to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and look forward to living and serving in Ocean Springs with the people of St. Paul United Methodist Church.
Taylor Parsons - Director of Student Ministries
I’m a “get things done” kind of person with a “stop for a dance party break” kind of mentality. God gave me a heart for ministry when I was in middle school, and I am thankful to say the least that He saw it fit to place me here in Ocean Springs. I am passionate about intergenerational worship, discipleship, and the power of mentoring. The mentors I had in middle and high school were who helped me to see my faith a reality worth clinging to in college and beyond. I love teenagers. I love the underdogs that their elders often see them as. I love the way they don’t overcomplicate anything. I love the opportunities they have to share the Gospel in the tight quarters of their middle and high schools. I have been a youth volunteer for years, and I look forward to leading this incredible group of students and teaching them, as I am confident they will teach me a thing or two as well.
Amanda Bichsel - Early Childhood Coordinator
I'm a Cleveland, Ohio Native (GO BROWNS!). Been married for seven years to my husband Steve. We have 3 beautiful children ages 6,4, and our newborn who was just born in May! We moved to Ocean Springs two years ago from New York when my husband took a job as a Hurricane Hunter (I'm a military spouse!). Along the many different moves and states, I've always found myself hands deep in working with children. From working at an alternative school for children with special needs, to mentoring and tutoring adolescents, to providing services (skill building and respite care) to inner city children with severe mental health diagnoses to showing God's love to some sweet babies as Nursery Coordinator right here at St Paul. I'm excited to pour my heart and experiences in ministry with the children and families of St. Paul. I can't wait to get messy, play games, throw some awesome parties, and just have some good, safe fun while teaching kids about Jesus! When you can't catch me at the church, you'll find me spending time with my family, outdoors, cooking, or exercising.
Support Staff at East Campus
Natalie Baylis - East Campus Reception/Ministry & Office Support
Carla Bennett - Financial Secretary
Amanda Bichsel - Nursery Coordinator
Keith Williams - Maintenance and Custodial Supervisor
Mark Gehres, Sound/Technology
8:00 AM to NOON
Monday through Thursday
Also- by appointment