The Rev. Ryan R. Whitley, Rector
The Reverend Ryan R. Whitley is both a cradle Episcopalian and a native Floridian. Fr. Ryan, as he likes to be called, grew up in Fort Myers attending St. Hilary’s Episcopal Church and it was there that he first heard God’s call to the ordained ministry, through his fellow parishioners, his peers, and the diocesan youth ministry of Happening.
After graduating from Wake Forest University with a double major in History and Religion, Fr. Ryan headed to Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. He spent his senior year of seminary as the Seminarian Intern for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, where he grew to a deeper love and knowledge of the church’s traditions in liturgy and music.
His first call was back in his home state of Florida, serving as the Curate at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Tampa under the leadership of the Rev. Ed Henley. There he had primary responsibilities for youth and young adult ministry. It was while he was serving at St. Mark’s that he met Elise Woodroffe, the woman whom he would wed, at DaySpring Conference Center in Ellenton while attending a Vocare weekend. (Coincidentally, Elise was baptized at St. Thomas!) In 2009 they were married by Bishop Dabney Smith and in 2010, Ryan was called to be the Rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Ardmore, PA.
While there he served as the Dean of the Merion Deanery, and as the Bishop’s representative to the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia, an interfaith body made up of the adjudicatory heads of over 30 faiths, as well as being the Diocesan Ecumenical Officer. He has served on the Diocesan Liturgy Commission, as well as Diocesan Council. He has been a past President of the local ecumenical ministerium, and a past Treasurer for an international collegial fellowship of Episcopal clergy called the Society of Catholic Priests (catholic in this sense meaning “the church universal” rather than “Roman”).
Fr. Ryan is a very dedicated baseball fan, rooting for his childhood team the Atlanta Braves in the senior circuit, but of course, for the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League! He also enjoys reading and discussing fiction, and loves playing recreational softball.
Ryan and Elise have been blessed with two beautiful, young children, Jackson and Caroline. They are all excited to be back home in Florida and are thrilled to serve in the wonderful community of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church. One of Ryan’s favorite scripture passages is John 10:10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” His prayer is that the life of Christ may be made manifest in each and every person’s heart, mind, and soul at St. Thomas, and that that abundant life would spill over into the surrounding community and beyond.
The Rev. Deacon Martha Goodwill
Rick Smith, Director of Music
For more than 35 years Rick has worked professionally as a church musician in the Episcopal, Presbyterian, and United Methodist traditions. Here in St. Petersburg he served as Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church. Rick has also served churches in North Carolina, Tennessee, the Atlanta Metro area and the San Francisco Bay area of California. His choirs have toured the U.S., England, Italy, Spain, and Scotland, leading worship in such places as St. Giles Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and St. Peter’s Basilica. Rick has also conducted community choruses and ensembles in Georgia, Florida and California. Rick is a native of the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. He earned the Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Michigan State University, where he studied with composer and conductor Dr. Robert A. Harris, recently retired from Northwestern University in the Chicago area. Rick earned the Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Tennessee, where he studied with conductor Donald Neuen, now at UCLA. Rick has additional graduate study in Church Music Education and in Christian Worship. As a conductor, Rick is at home in both vocal and instrumental music. He has extensive experience with handbell ensembles and is an accomplished composer. In addition to a lover of great music, Rick is a passionate sailor, a reluctant but regular runner, a solitary hiker and a happy gardener. Rick has been married to his wife, Grace for 35 years. They have one young adult son, Matt.
Joseph Master, Organist and Director of Finance
Music ministry has been in Joe’s life for the past 33 years. A native of Bethlehem, PA, at age 13, he began playing the organ in his home parish church. He studied music at Moravian College in Bethlehem and was a long time member of the Moravian College Choir. Joe has toured England, Moscow, Kiev, St. Petersburg, Prague and Germany with the college choir and came to appreciate the many cultures in these places as well as the composers and music indigenous to that country. After graduating from Moravian College in 1994, Joe continued singing with the college choir, accepted a position as senior accountant at Dun and Bradstreet, and worked part time as Music Director in a Lutheran Church. In 1997, Joe moved to Florida after accepting the position as Director of Music and Liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church. He remained in the same parish for 12 years. Joe is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Music from St. Joseph College in Rensselaer, Indiana and is a staff accountant at MB Advisors in St. Petersburg.
Pam Holley, Parish Administrator
Pam joined the staff in January of 2007. She is the first voice you will hear when calling St. Thomas and the first face you will see when you come into the office. Before coming to St. Thomas, Pam spent 19 years in the Travel business. She handled personal and corporate clients as well as groups and incentive travel. She has been in the choir since 1989 and a member since May of 2006. Pam and her husband, John, have a two adult children and four grandbabies.
Jon Ward, Sexton
Jon joined the staff at St. Thomas October, 2015. Jon grew up in Clearwater, Florida. He comes from a close family with one sister, both parents, and a myriad of nieces and nephews. After high school, Jon worked as a roofer. By age 20, he owned his own business installing windows. After spending eight years working as a mechanic, he found his way to Canterbury and St. Thomas. He has a nine-year old son who he loves to take fishing. Among Jon’s many hobbies and talents, he enjoys rides on his motorcycle and racing his RC car around the neighborhood.