|Jay Kowalski, Senior Pastor|
Thomas J. Kowalski, who goes by Jay, has been a United Methodist pastor for 32 years and has served churches in Tallahassee, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Naples and Venice.
He has also served as the campus minister at Florida Atlantic University, the director of the urban ministry for the United Methodist Church in Broward County and started a singles congregation at Christ Church in Fort Lauderdale.
Jay’s involvement beyond the local church has included the Conference Youth Department, the Outreach Committee (a sub committee of the Mission Committee), the District Committee on Ministry, the District Board of Church Location and he is currently the chair of the conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry.
Jay also enjoys being involved in the community; he has been a board member of Rotary Clubs (in Miami and Naples), the Theological Center at Naples, the CPE Advisory Board for the Naples Community Hospital, the Mental Health Association of South West Florida, Loveland Center in Venice (dealing with adults with developmental disabilities) and is currently the chair of the Board of Trustees for Village on the Isle in Venice, a retirement community of over 400 people.
He was born in New Jersey, but moved to Ft. Myers when he was five. He has lived all around the state of Florida, moving some 16 times in 15 years. He served 4 years in the US Navy and then attended Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida where he received a BS degree in Behavioral Science. After working for the State of Florida for two years with children and youth, he then attended Duke Divinity School where he received a Masters of Divinity degree.
Jay is married to Eileen, a New York native who has lived in Florida since high school. She has a background in healthcare marketing and currently has a staging and home decoration business called Eye Appeal. They have two children, Sari who lives in Pensacola and Robert a senior at the University of Florida.
Jay and Eileen are Duke Blue Devil’s and Rays fans and their hobbies include tennis, golf, anything on the water, and exercising regularly.