A graduate of Washington High School, Jean grew up in Pensacola, Florida. She received a B.A. in Religion from Davidson College and is a Certified Christian Educator in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Jean has served in three congregations as Director of Christian Education including Christ Episcopal Church, and Trinity Presbyterian Church in Pensacola, Florida, and Grace Presbyterian Church in Panama City, Florida. Most recently Jean served as the Associate Executive Presbyter/Head of Staff and Hunger Action Enabler for the Presbytery of Florida.
As the new executive director of United Ministries, Jean views her position as a culmination of her experiences in working with churches and in hunger action. She views her work as chiefly about helping people and churches live out the Greatest Commandment (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and love your neighbor as yourself – Mark 12:30-31), and the mission of United Ministries is a natural continuation of that work.
“I have felt for some time that I would enjoy being more hands-on in mission through my work with the Church, to love my neighbor as I do myself. Working with United Ministries is the answer to my heart’s prayer.” Jean also finds it an act of coming full circle at United Ministries. When she left her position at Christ Church in 1987 and moved away, she knew Father Bob Graves was working with other pastors to create United Ministries. ”And now 26 years later,” she observes, “here I am, working alongside dedicated volunteers who live out Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 – ministering to the least of these, and therefore, doing it to and for Jesus. And it is all made possible because of the generosity of the churches and individuals in this community.”
Jean has two grown children, Joe, a law student at UNC, Chapel Hill, and a daughter, Katherine, a student at Davidson College in North Carolina.
Thanks to the Independent News for giving us some press again! United Ministries is grateful!
Check out the My Pensacola page for this week: My Pensacola-Ashley Wilkinson Meyer
United Ministries wishes to thank several member churches, as well as community partners and agencies for helping us to spruce up the office!
It all began in February when members of First United Methodist Church asked if they could come paint and help us out during their Great Day of Service. Well, naturally, we said yes! We got in touch with Greg and Lynn Schweigert over at The Paint Mart on Fairfield, and they helped us out with colors and paint – Greg, Lynn and the rest of The Paint Mart staff were awesome to work with and are just top notch!
The First Church volunteers did an amazing job and we began to see a new office taking shape!
A few months later, we experienced some water damage from the flooding on June 9. With more help from The Paint Mart, along with some great volunteers from Cokesbury United Methodist Church and Northminster Presbyterian Church, we ripped up some damaged carpet, and painted the floors and a few more walls in the office.
Further, we received donations of filing cabinets from American Fidelity Life Insurance, ceiling tiles from Armstrong World Industries, and phenomenal support and assistance from United Way and Manna Food Pantries. We live in a generous and caring community, and we are so grateful to be a part of it! Thanks to these wonderful community partners for so much care and help!
Thank You Society of the Debutante Charity Cotillion
For the many volunteers at United Ministries who offer counseling to families in crisis, one of the most challenging experiences comes when the need is greater than the funds available. As so many of us know, utility, rental and mortgage rates only seem to increase each year. The families who come to United Ministries often face multiple challenges – medical bills, funeral expenses, a loss of hours or wages – when more than one issue arises, the needs are simply greater.
And who are some of the amazing people stepping up to help meet those needs? The Society of the Debutante Charity Cotillion through the Grace Pace Fund for Immediate Relief! The purpose of the Cotillion is to raise funds for education and charitable purposes for the Northwest Florida area. Founded in 1961, Mrs. Ashley DeWitt Pace (Grace) served as the first President. The Grace Pace Fund for Immediate Relief is named in her honor. Over the 51-year history of the Cotillion, more than one million dollars have been funneled into the Pensacola community through membership donations, memorials and gifts.
Channeled through local non-profit agencies, such as United Ministries, the special Grace Pace Fund makes help immediately available for those in crisis situations. The Cotillion Board acts as the steward of membership donations and discerns opportunities to distribute additional funding to United Ministries each week to help those families who are facing great challenges. In addition, several of these women are dedicated volunteers at United Ministries. The gratitude felt by the volunteers and clients at United Ministries for this dedication and commitment cannot be overstated. Thank you to the women of the Society of the Debutante Charity Cotillion!