Clergy & Staff
The Rev. Dr. Al W. Jenkins is the Interim Priest while Good Shepherd searches for their new rector. He lives in Lakeland. His wife’s name is Vivian and they have one son, Michael, and a granddaughter, Mary.
Rev. Jenkins retired in December 2015 after serving over twenty-six years as rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in downtown Lakeland. He helps churches in the Southwest Deanery for the Diocese of Central Florida and consults as needed on stewardship and church growth.
John, an active member of our parish for over twenty years, was ordained a deacon by Bishop Brewer in December of 2012. His duties include: acolytes, young adults, Stephen Ministry, home communion, pastoral care, serving in the liturgy and preaching. Additionally, he serves as the Diocesan Disaster Relief Coordinator. He is the Director of the Church, Civic and Business Coalition and a board member of Fresh Expressions US.
Suzanne came to us in the Fall of 2008 retiring after 30 years of working for the Polk County School Board. She spent 26 of her 30 years at Haines City High School. During those years she spent her time working in the classroom, Media Center, and as a computer lab manager.
Before moving to Florida she attended Barrington College where she received her BA Degree in Christian Education and Biblical Studies. After serving a few years as a Director of Christian Education, she applied, and was accepted to be in the first class of the National Institute for Lay Training which laid the ground work for her diaconal training and studies, especially in the area of pastoral care and hospital visitations.
Suzanne was ordained to the Diaconate in December 1999 and has served in parishes in the Diocese until she was called to Good Shepherd.
As part of Suzanne's duties at Good Shepherd she serves in the Liturgy as Deacon and preaches. She visits the hospital and nursing homes on a regular basis, taking Holy Communion to the sick and shut-in. She is a volunteer chaplain at Lake Wales Medical Center where she visits those who have requested a clergy visit, and visits each of the floors, and checks in the with nursing staff for anyone requesting a clergy visit. She also works a shift at the Thrift Store speaking with customers and assisting them.
Lisa Carter's responsibilities include greeting parishioners and visitors by phone and in person, putting together two weekly Sunday bulletins, and coordinating volunteers so that there are no scheduling conflicts. She also handles all financial matters, including paying bills and employee payroll, maintaining the church's database and running reports and statements. She also assists with special projects. "Every day is different," Carter says. "There are always new projects which positively impact the life of this church."
Carter likes Good Shepherd because of the small, family feel of the church and congregation. "I have great respect for Father Tom and just feel really good every time I enter this church. I took a position here because I wanted my work to be meaningful and I think I'm accomplishing that at Good Shepherd," she explains.
Carter and her husband started attending Good Shepherd in January 1996, when they first moved to Lake Wales from the northeast. She started her position in June 2006.
Outside of her duties as parish life administrator, Carter serves as a lay reader, as a volunteer on one of the Wednesday night dinner teams, and as a social hour host.
Christopher joined us in July 2017 as our Youth Director. He serves along with Julie Stewart to provide an educational and fun program for our middle and high school youth group on Wednesday evenings during the school year. Christopher is a great professor who can thoughtfully engage our students in spiritual discussion, then turn around and use his creative talents to show them how to make puppets from scratch. He has also used his creativity to lead our Vacation Bible School, doing everything from writing the curriculum to designing and sewing props.
Pat Nepute has been director of the adult handbell choir, the Ridge Ringers, since 2016, bringing years of experience leading and playing in a variety of handbell choirs.
Addy Willette is the wedding director at Church of the Good Shepherd. She meets with engaged couples who are planning on marriage in the church and answers any questions they have about the ceremony.
“I attend the rehearsal and wedding ceremony to help Fr. Tom, the wedding party and the organist know when key people are seated and sent down the aisle,” she says. Willette has been attending Good Shepherd since she was three years old.
“I feel like Good Shepherd is my second home,” she says. “I love seeing the familiar faces, and people are genuine and sincerely interested in what is going on in your daily life. We have a very friendly and loving congregation.”
She also helps to put together some other receptions at the church. “I am glad that I am able to apply my talents that I have learned from the University of Florida to help our church and its parishioners,” she adds.
Tiana helps to keep our youngest children safe and engaged while their parents attend church.
Cyndi has kept our church clean for many years. She also serves as our Altar Guild Directress.
As an ordained deacon, the Rev. Palmer Wood is responsible for reading the Gospel, reciting the Prayers of the People and assisting in the Eucharist (serving the body and blood of Christ). He sets up the altar, the Ablutions, hospital and home visitations and the carrying of consecrated elements in Eucharist to the homebound. He has also officiated at funerals and assisted in marriages, Kiros and sermons and support for visiting clergy in the rector's absence. He assists in Sunday School, as well.
“Good Shepherd Church has been my parish for 25 years,” Wood says. “As a cradle Episcopalian, I have always been an active communicant. Good Shepherd is a traditional, middle-ground High Church and a parish I have always been familiar with.” Wood joined the parish in 1983 and has been a deacon since 2005. Before that, he served as a LEM, mentor for EFM, a DOCC and ALPHA instructor. Wood is also disaster director and is on-call for any emergency. He attended DOCC (Disciples of Christ in Community) at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.
In a continuing education program over four summers, he studied Holy Scripture. “In respect to Christian services, I write a weekly religious column in the local newspaper, The Lake Wales News,” he adds.