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Ministry Staff

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Matt Ryman

Pastor

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Matt has been on staff at UPC since 2006 (though he's only been the Senior Pastor since 2013).  Matt grew up in a Christian home but rebelled and lived as a prodigal for numerous years until the Lord graciously gave him a new life.  He knows what it is like to seek fulfillment, joy, and satisfaction apart from God and fail miserably.  He knows what it is like to doubt God. He also knows what it feels like to be judged and rejected by religious people.  But, by God's grace, Matt knows the profoud joy of being accepted and cherished by Almighty God.  He knows God is gracious and kind and patient and powerful.  And he enjoys preaching about the sufficiency of Christ to reconicle God to sinners like him and the power of the gospel to change lives.  Matt is married to Hana and they have four children.

 

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Michael Hart

Associate Pastor

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After coming to understand the gospel in college at Murray State University, Michael served two years in Brazil doing campus ministry. He left Brazil for seminary where he met his wife, Miriam, on a blind date. Michael married her the summer of 2007 and they headed to Cleveland, MS where he served as Assistant Pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church. They were called to UPC in October of 2013. They have four children.    

   

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John Downs

Youth Director

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John is from Ohio and came to know Jesus through the ministry of Young Life. For the past twelve years he has been serving in a variety of ministries as both a paid staff person and volunteer. John has been married to Lindsay for seven years and they have three children (two of whom are delighted to move so close to a certain theme park in Orlando). When he’s not doing family or ministry things, John likes to read, exercise, and complain about the Cincinnati Bengals. All of this is fueled by too much coffee.

 

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Jean Carland

Director of Women and Children's Ministry

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Jean was raised in the great state of Texas and firmly believes all people should own at least one pair of boots. After graduating from Midwestern State University with a degree in social work, she began working with children and families in crisis. Jean eventually moved to Florida and has led ministry to children for the past twelve years. When not hanging out with kids, she loves to read, spend time with family, watch college football, and drink diet Dr. Pepper. Jean has been happily married to Paul for 19 years and they have three daughters, Grace, Erin, and Amara.

  

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Caleb Hughes

College Ministry

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Caleb grew up in Orange, CA, and moved to Spokane, WA when he was 20 to attend Moody Bible Institute, where he earned his B.A. in Biblical Studies. He and his wife, Lauren, got married in 2015, and they moved to Oviedo, FL a couple of years later. Caleb is currently in the M.Div program at Reformed Theological Seminary, and Lauren works in Communications at Reformation Bible College. He still gets confused when people refer to Tampa as “the west coast,” and after a year in Florida has yet to see a living armadillo.

 

 

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Michael & Rachel Blackston

Redeemer Counseling

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Michael and Rachel Blackston lead Redeemer Counseling here at UPC. They are Licensed Mental Health Counselors for the state of Florida, receiving their Master of Arts in Counseling degrees from Reformed Theological Seminary. They worked at an Oviedo counseling center before coming to UPC. Rachel got her Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology degree from James Madison University, and worked as a career counselor and adjunct faculty member at JMU and then the University of Central Florida. Rachel loves working with adolescents, women and couples. Michael specializes in helping men deal with depression, sexual addiction, masculinity and gender issues, and abuse. He also enjoys working with couples experiencing relational difficulties and adolescents with self-esteem or behavioral struggles.