The Rev. Thomas Purdy
Tom began serving with Christ Church in May, 2013, after serving parishes in Poolesville, MD and Lancaster, PA. Tom is blessed to be the husband of Donna, and father of Eva and Calleigh, who make his life rich and beautiful. Together they enjoy exploring the southeast and getting outside as often as possible. Tom likes playing in the dirt, losing golf balls, taking journeys, and enjoying good food.
Tom graduated from Millersville University with a BA in Philosophy and Psychology, and The School of Theology at The University of the South at Sewanee with an M.Div. His vision for his ministry is to help people deepen their relationship with God and Christ and to equip people for their unique calling. He fancies himself a humorous guy, but most people try not to encourage him, especially his puns.
The Rev. Ashton Williston
The Rev. Ashton Williston graduated from the School of Theology at Sewanee in May 2017 and is a fourth generation Episcopal priest in her family. Ashton was ordained as a priest at Christ Church on August 5, 2017 and brings extensive parish ministry experience to our congregation. For the eight years before she began her studies at Sewanee, Ashton served as Director of Family Ministry at St. James Episcopal Church and School in Ormond Beach, FL. Before that she served as Director of Youth Ministry at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Melbourne, FL. She is eager to engage in pastoral care, which is one of her ministry strengths, and to engage in the many ministries we offer at Christ Church. Ashton and her husband Joseph have been married for 17 years and they have two daughters, Isabella and Abigail.
The Rev. Becky Rowell
A communicant at Christ Church since 1980, Mtr. Becky was ordained to the diaconate in November, 2009 and to the priesthood in April, 2015. After 13 years as a speech pathologist and 24 years of service in county government, she joined the staff of Christ Church on August 1, 2014. A life-long learner, she completed a MA in Theology in 2015 through the distance learning program at Virginia Theological Seminary. In addition to her work at Christ Church, she feels called to a ministry of reconciliation training vestries and clergy in conflict transformation skills and assisting churches in conflict. A native of Moultrie, she holds degrees from the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern University. Becky recognizes her role as the house staff for rescue basset hounds Merry and Winston. They all serve at the pleasure at THE Cat, Boomer.
The Rev. Dcn. James D. Wethern
Jim Wethern serves as an ordained Deacon of the Episcopal Church at Christ Church. He received his BChE from the University of Wisconsin and his MS and PhD through the Institute of Paper Chemistry, which is now part of Georgia Tech. His many years working in the pulp and paper industry took him all over the country; to Camas, Washington; Wilmington North Carolina; Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Princeton, New Jersey. Jim now lives on St. Simons Island, where he has been for over the 40 years. He has been a member of Christ Church for 44 years. As a deacon he is involved in civic activities, makes home visits to shut ins, and makes hospital visits 3 days each week. He was happily married to his wife, Yvonne for over 65 years.
The Rev. Nancy Acree
The Reverend Nancy Acree is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South. After graduation, she served as a Chaplain at Fort Sanders Hospital, in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was ordained as a Deacon at St. John’s Cathedral, in Knoxville, and was later ordained as a priest at the Church of the Ascension, also in Knoxville. Rev. Acree’s career in the Episcopal church has taken her to many locations throughout the south, including the University of Tennessee, where she worked in Clinical Pastorial Education; Palm Harbor, Florida, where she served as Lay Assistant to the Rector at St. Alfred; Nags Head, North Carolina, where she served as Lay Assistant Rector at St. Andrews; St. Louis, Missouri, where she trained as a retreat leader and wrote designs for children’s education; and back to Knoxville, where she served as Associate to the Rector at the Church of the Ascension. The Reverend Acree has been an Assisting Priest at Christ Church, Frederica since 2015.
The Rev. David Somerville
Father David Somerville is a retired U. S. Army hospital Chaplain, and has been canonically resident in the diocese of Georgia since 1996. Fr. David’s home of origin is Hillsborough, New Jersey, a New York suburb. Educated at Boston University and the Philadelphia Divinity School of The Episcopal Church, he was ordained in 1969, and served for seven years in parish ministry in the Diocese of New Jersey before going into the army. He and his wife, Sherry, have made their home in the Belle Point subdivision on route 17, three miles north of Brunswick. Fr. David enjoys doing volunteer and supply work for priests when absent. For leisure he enjoys travel, creative writing and model railroading.
The Rev. John Thomas
The Rev. John Taliaferro Thomas is currently on sabbatical and worships with his family at Christ Church, Frederica. For the past nine years, Thomas served in educational ministry as Head of School at St. Andrew's-Sewanee School, Sewanee Tennessee, and as Head of School at Frederica Academy. Prior to being Head of School, Thomas spent nine years as the Chaplain at the St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, while also serving as an Adjunct Associate at St. Columba's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. He has served in parish ministry at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Christ Episcopal Church in Pensacola, Florida, and St. David's Episcopal Church in Ashburn, Virginia. Mr. Thomas is a native Georgian, having graduated from Athens Academy before receiving a B.A. in English Literature from The University of the South in Sewanee and a Masters of Divinity at the Virginia Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Janice, have two children, Emily and Sam, as well as two Golden Retrievers, Henry and Gus.
Assisting Ecumenical Clergy
The Rev. Dr. Bob Brown (UMC)
The Rev. Dr. Robert W. “Bob” Brown is a native of Virginia but has resided in Georgia for more than 45 years. He holds a BA degree in Psychology from Emory & Henry College; a M Div. degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University; and a Doctor of Ministry degree from McCormick Seminary at the University of Chicago. He likes to say that he is a “retired United Methodist Pastor (40 years of Service) who is now a happy Episcopalian.” He and his wife June have been an active part of Christ Church for more than seven years. He assists with worship; is a Docent; and is the facilitator and teacher for the Adult Sunday Morning Class and he occasionally preaches (his true love in ministry) at the worship services. He has also led book studies for a Sunday Evening group at CCF. Bob is married to his wife of 45 years, June and they have three sons and daughters-in-law and three grandchildren with a 4th on the way. Both Bob and June are very involved in the community through Rotary and Cassina Garden Club. They love St Simons and feel blessed by the wonderful family at Christ Church, Frederica. Bob feels that God is doing great things at CCF and he’s happy that he and June can be a part of it.
Sexton and Assistant Cemetery Superintendent
Harrison Branch came to Christ Church August 1, 2012. He has been married to Dorriann for 36 years, and has two daughters, Laura and Jennifer and one granddaughter, Amelia. Harry enjoys cooking, fishing, and outdoor activities.
Oscar B. Covington, Jr. was born in Savannah, GA and attended Clemson College and Southern Tech. He served 13 years as an Artillery Officer in the Army National Guard. Oscar retired from Georgia Pacific after 38 years. Oscar is married to Zoann. They have raised their three children in Christ Church, where Oscar as served as Junior and Senior Warden (at the same time!), Sunday School teacher and Superintendent, and now he now serves as the Cemetery and Grounds Superintendent.
Brad grew up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in the small town of Loudon, Tennessee. He is a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville as a Religion Major where he met his beautiful bride Kristi. Brad has served parishes in Tennessee, Texas, Kentucky and Georgia in both youth ministry and music.
Kristi and Brad have three wonderful children, Jackson, Kerrigan, and Harrison. In addition to serving in ministry with young people, Brad enjoys spending time with his family, playing music with friends, songwriting and the great outdoors.
Julie Hancock joined our staff as Communications Associate in March of 2016. She has many years of communications experience, including working in a church setting. Most recently she served as the chief communications coordinator at Frederica Academy. At Christ Church, her work includes our weekly emails, our advertisements, collateral pieces, the website, social media platforms, and periodic brochures and mailings. She also serves as our in-house photographer. Julie and her husband, Kevin, have two adult daughters; Emily, who is married to JD, and Darcy, who is married to Curran. She is also the devoted grandmother to Alice, Emily's and JD's amazing toddler!
Assistant Organist and Choirmaster
George Ingram joined the Christ Church music team in February 2017. Before then, George had been the organist at First United Methodist Church, Brunswick since 1993, and prior to that, he had served as organist at St. Simons Baptist Church and Lovely Lane Chapel at Epworth by the Sea. His main job has been in the real estate industry for many years but his love of sacred music has been a constant in his life since childhood. At Christ Church, George works closely with our Choirmaster and Organist, Kathleen Turner. When the parish hall service is in normal session, he usually plays piano at that service, and then assists Kathleen however he is needed at the 11:15 a.m. service in the historic church. He also fills in wherever needed in the choir or the hand bell choir when that is called for. George is a longtime St. Simons resident, having moved to the area in 1980. He has been friends with many of the members of Christ Church for more than 30 years and he enjoys seeing them at services and helping to meet their needs with church music.
Sharon began serving with Christ Church in January 2017 after a satisfying life in ministry including missions in Turkey and Nigeria, parish director of operations in Colorado, and organizing and leading prayer teams to various places around the globe. She loves the outdoors and wherever she lives enjoys long walks experiencing its beauty and mystery.
Being at Christ Church gives Sharon opportunity to use her administrative gifts and call to ministry while connecting with people who love God and their community. Sharon graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Foreign Missions and Colorado Christian University with a BS in Organizational Management.
Stan Kyker became the part time Christ Church Financial Administrator in May 2013. A graduate of UCLA, Stan retired after 30 years with the California Restaurant Association including 18 years as its Chief Staff Executive. He and his wife Cathy moved to St. Simons Island in 2002 from Long Beach, CA to retire, travel and play golf. He has three grown daughters and three granddaughters, all of whom enjoy visiting St. Simons.
Stan is a member of the Rotary Club of St. Simons Island, volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), plays alto saxophone with the Golden Isles Community Band and also performs periodically in Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association radio productions.
Volunteer Ministry for Sunday School
Ed & Lynne Turner
Ed and Lynne have been members of Christ Church since 1996. Both retired educators, they have enjoyed teaching Sunday school for 9 years. They have taught ages pre-kindergarten through high school. For the last 5 years they have also served as coordinators of the Sunday School Program. Both Ed and Lynne agree there is an excitement about studying God’s word through the eyes of a child. They have 2 adult sons who are also members of Christ Church. Ed and Lynne also enjoy cooking, biking, walking, and spending as much time as possible at Walt Disney World.
Organist and Choirmaster
Kathleen Kalin Turner
Kathleen Kalin Turner has twice served Christ Church Frederica as Organist and Choirmaster, first from 1998-2000, and since her return in 2010. She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Westminster Choir College. In collaboration with Father Tom Purdy, Kathleen directs and oversees all of the music organizations at Christ Church.