Jay Kowalski, Senior Pastor
Office Phone: 727-784-9250 Ext. 102
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, 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
subcommittee 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.
Judy Keats, Minister of Visitation
Office Phone: 727-784-9250 Ext. 114
Judy is our Minister of Visitation here at East Lake. She enjoys reading, getting together with family and friends, walking, and going to the beach. She graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta. She hopes that her ministry will further equip all of us to fulfill our mission in serving our Lord Jesus Christ in our church and community by reaching out to the world with the love of God.
Karen Gambrell, Administrator of Church Operations
Office Phone: 727-784-9250 Ext. 103
Danielle Muller, Communications Coordinator
Office Phone: 727-784-9250 Ext. 105
Anthony Nielsen, Bookkeeper
Office Phone: 727-784-9250 Ext. 109
Anthony was born in Hamilton Texas and raised in Iowa- Spencer. (Iowa Great Lakes) He is a veteran of the US Army, in which he served from 1967-1969. He graduated from Anderson University, Indiana in 1974 with a B.A. in Accounting. He worked as an accountant for 35+ years in Indiana, New Jersey, and Palm Harbor, FL. He has a wonderful wife, Janice N Nielsen, and two great step children, Samantha Feitz from Phoenix AZ and Chris Bell of Palm Harbor, FL.
Elyse Milligan, Director of Children’s Ministry
Office Phone: 727-784-9250 Ext. 116
Office Phone: 727-784-9250 Ext. 104
Vickie Downing, Receptionist
Office Phone: 727-784-9250 Ext. 100
Vickie joined the ELUMC Team in July 2011, after retiring from 29 years of government service with the U.S. District Court. Vickie is a Florida native and a graduate of St. Pete College. She lives in the East Lake area with her husband and their German Shepherd. She has praised God through her love of music since childhood, and continues as a member of the Chancel and Bell Choir.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Charles Cheeseman, Director of Music Ministries
Faye Monroe, Organist
Simon Gjoni, Custodian
Joe Truman, Custodian
Joe Truman joined the East Lake UMC team in the Spring of 2012 as a custodian. He is originally from Orlando and moved to Tampa three years ago. He enjoys anything to do with water whether it be fresh water or salt water, such as wake boarding, wake skating, surfing, fishing, and boating. He also enjoys going to the beach.