Stephen Handy – Pastor
Stephen Handy is currently the lead pastor at McKendree UMC. Not only is he our pastor, he is visionary strategist and partnership collaborator of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. He is a passionate communicator that desires to speak God’s truth so people of different cultures, experiences, neighborhoods, and all of God’s unique diversity can be reconciled through the unity in Jesus Christ. Stephen is a strong advocate of restorative justice, serving the poor and needy, and participating in life groups for spiritual formation and accountability. He is a firm believer in maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle by honoring God with our bodies through our thoughts, words, and actions. And ultimately Stephen loves spending time with God, family and friends by imitating JESUS CHRIST and making a lasting difference in our community and the world. He loves to check out the latest movies, read the latest leadership books, learn from children and youth and hang out in the broader downtown community where Jesus Christ is creating a movement of transformation and a culture of discipleship. Stephen and Shelley are married with three children and live in the Greater Nashville area. His go-to scripture is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all through Christ who strengthens me.”
Sung Nam Kim (Sonny) Associate Pastor
S.N. “Sonny” Kim is an associate pastor of McKendree United Methodist Church. Before joining us in ministries here at McKendree, he had served various churches in both Kentucky and Tennessee, and the last church he served before coming to Nashville was Forest Street UMC in Clarksville. He was educated in both the Candler School of Theology, Emory University (MDiv) and Vanderbilt University (MA). He loves seeing all the people and seeing people helps him come alive. His conviction is God’s unconditional love should be extended to everyone no matter who they are. On top of occasional mission works, he enjoys swimming, riding a bike, and running. He recently finished 10k and a full marathon, and more running events are on his weekend schedule. Sonny and Hye-Young are married with a daughter (in Texas) and a son (attending VU). He has also a dog named “Luna” which is treated like his own child. One of his favorite biblical passages that helps him carry on is “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
Linda Furtado – Minister of Worship, Arts, & Media
Linda Furtado embodies Christian experience amidst many roles, positions, and servant leadership as part of the TN Conference of The United Methodist Church from childhood. As a representative of this conference, she brings a perspective of depth and breadth. To name a few influential factors in her development, she is African American, under age 40, a first-time General Conference delegate, mother of three girls, clergywoman pastor’s kid, pastor’s wife, musician, artist, lay minister, seminary student, and certified candidate for ordained ministry.
Eric Coomer – Modern Worship Director
The child of a retired Methodist minister, Eric has been our Director of Modern Worship for 4 years. Eric has been leading worship since he was a teen and writing songs since he was just twelve. A native of Kentucky, Eric resides in Old Hickory with his wife, Daphne and sons, Jackson and Evan.
You can learn more about Eric at ericcoomer.com.
Ezra Howe – Director of Children, Youth and Tweens
Ezra Howe is Director of Children and Youth at McKendree UMC. Ezra graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University and is currently studying at Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, TN. Ezra previously served as an Intern Youth Pastor at the Asheville Nazarene Church, Associate Minister at the Coastal Church North Port (formerly known as Coastal Community Church) and was part of the Sarasota YMCA Children’s Program Organizer Team. Ezra has a passion for inter-religious dialogue and early Christian education. He is convinced that God loves without condition of race, class, and religion, and that a Christians’ responsibility is to bridge differences through communication, understanding, empathy and sympathy. Ezra believes this work of diversity in the Kingdom on earth begins in early Christian education.
Bonnie Fernandez – Ministry Administrative Assistant
Bonnie Fernandez has a vast experience in Business Management including Financial Management. Most of Bonnie’s skills came from her entrepreneurial spirit in the explorations of many types of businesses where she either consulted or helped build others business using her Associates of Science in Computer Information Systems and her Associates of Science in Accounting. During which time, Bonnie has developed her natural creative talent for designing in many fashions. Leaving Florida to relocate to Tennessee, Bonnie left her church of 32 years where she was Operations Manager for the last ten years and is now a member and leads a DivorceCare ministry at Grace Place Church in Hermitage, TN. Ministry that Bonnie was involved in, in her former church, The Lighthouse Church, has been a big part of her life where she served in many forms of leadership as to being a dual term church board member, play write, choir director, women’s ministry, lay counselor, and mother of two girls. Bonnie is near completion of Leadership Focus where she can become licensed or ordained as God and the Church of God credentialing board chooses.
Deborah Cole – Financial Manager
Deborah A. Cole, a native Tennessean is a graduate of Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee where she earned, with high distinction, the Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration Degrees. She has completed numerous technical, regulatory, lending and strategic planning courses as part of her bank related education and obtained the Certified Community Bank Compliance Officer designation. She is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, Louisiana and received certification as a Trust Operations Specialist from the Cannon Financial Institute at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. Deborah is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America in the study of diamonds and colored stones and is, also, a Graduate Gemologist. Deborah also completed the requirements for a Doctor of Management (in Organizational Leadership) in 2009. She achieved a Certificate of Achievement for completion of the Effective Grant Proposal Writing from University of Notre Dame (Mendoza College of Business—Nonprofit Executive Programs) in May 2019 and received an ABA—Wharton “Executive Leadership Certificate”, May 19, 2017. Cole established a consulting business in June 2018. Her consulting engagements include Banks, Religious Organizations, Universities, Small Businesses and Non-profits in the areas of finance, management and operations. Dr. Cole’s commitment to the community is evidenced by her continued involvement in community activities. Deborah is proudly the parent of Keenyattrice Ensley-Mason and the grandparent of Kiara NaCole Ensley.
Dana Pride – Organist
Dana’s life as a church organist began at the age of 14 when she assumed the duties at her hometown Episcopal church in Lead, South Dakota. Since then she has followed several paths but all related to education or music. A graduate of Stanford University, she has been an elementary school teacher, a public school activist, and an award winning education writer, but her passion for music would always re-direct her life if she was off the music path for very long. Prior to becoming the organist at McKendree, she served for 12 years as the organist at St. Philip’s Episcopal church in Donelson. She had supposedly retired when she happened to serve as a substitute organist at McKendree one Sunday in 2015 and was immediately drawn to the diversity and the spirit that guides this place. She has truly felt blessed to be here since. Dana is married to Richard Pride, a retired Vanderbilt political science professor, and the two have three married children and six grandchildren.
Cindy Ligon – DayCare Director
Cindy holds a B.S. in Child and Family Studies from the University of Tennessee and has previously directed three other early childhood programs. She serves on the board of the Tennessee Association for Children’s Early Education, is a former president of the Nashville Area Association for the Education of Young Children, and is active in the early childhood education community as a trainer, editor, and mentor. Married to Jay Ligon, they are the parents of two grown sons, Peyton and Wes (and a 4-legged canine son, “Mr. Pants”). Cindy enjoys spending time with her family, reading suspense thrillers, traveling, and creating art.
Tyler Blystone – Facilities Manager
Tyler grew up in Mount Juliet, Tennessee and now lives in West Nashville where he began working as Faciliyty Manager at McKendree in June of 2019. Tyler manages our building systems and oversees maintenance at both the church and the Christian life center. He performs many maintenance tasks himself, and engages in services the company needs. He works to maintain and improve the facility, to keep the buildings safe and secure, and helps meet the needs of those that work at McKendree. Tyler is married to a woman from Nashville, and we are blessed to have recently welcomed our first child, a beautiful baby girl.
Bobby Lee Smith – Restoration Pointe
Bobby brings over 35 years of non-profit organization development and fundraising experience to the Restoration Pointe in support of its ministries of caring for our unhoused neighbors and disrupting cycles of poverty. Prior to joining the Restoration Pointe’s Team on August 1, 2019, Bobby was self employed and served as a consultant for nonprofits and faith based organizations from 2016 to current. Also, served as interim CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of West GA & Chambers County from August 8, 2018 to March 31, 2019 He worked as Manager of Corporate Sponsorships with the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) of The United Methodist Church from 2011 to 2016. The majority of his career, he worked with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a national youth serving organization headquartered in Atlanta, as a Regional Service Director and a Chief Executive Officer (1977 to 2010). His responsibilities included providing leadership and support to advance the mission of local Clubs in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Virgin Islands. Bobby is a graduated of Clark College (Clark Atlanta University), a United Methodist supported HBCU, with a BA degree in Business Administration / Management. His wife, Rev. Dr. Paula B. Smith, is Lead Pastor at Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church, Nashville, TN. His daughter, Brieanna, graduated in May 2019 from Georgia State University in Atlanta with a law degree. Bobby, blessed with the gift of servant leadership, is a member of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church and is active in several ministries in the local church and nonprofit organizations.