Benji Van Fleet – Pastor
Benji was appointed by the Bishop’s cabinet as a Full Elder of the Northwest Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church and came to us in June of 2022. He received his Master of Divinity from Logsdon Seminary and has a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Language with a minor in architecture from Texas Tech.
Benji’s step-grandmother was attending St. Paul while enrolled at McMurry in the 1960’s, and she was the first person to lead him into a personal relationship with Jesus. God’s influence in the spiritual formation of his grandmother ultimately resulted in forming the faith of one of St. Paul’s pastors six decades later!
Benji spends his time with his wife, Anna, and son, Abe. They are proudly expecting an addition to the family in May. He likes reading, playing strategy games, hunting, hiking, and hanging out with King Tut.
Ruby Moultrie – Associate Pastor
Ruby came to St. Paul by way of music! With dual Masters degrees in Sacred Music and Vocal Performance, she says “the only thing I thought I was any GOOD at was singing.” Aren’t we glad she was wrong? Ruby spent many years teaching voice and choir until Jesse Hodge, the Pastor of Levelland FUMC, walked into her office and said “God is telling me to tell you that HE is calling you into the ministry.” Her life changed in 1996, and she began her climb into ministry. Quickly, she found the ability to sit, listen, and LOVE God’s children.
Ruby will pastor the Wesley Covenant Groups that affiliate with St. Paul. She will continue to be busy keeping track of all their activities, but, as a member of a large family, she is accustomed to the challenge! Ask her about her book!
Russell Miller – Director of Music Ministries
Russell’s St. Paul story reaches back decades! As a teenager, he met his wife, Sylvia, at St. Paul and married her in the sanctuary; their officiant was Rev. Dr. Cyril Stone, Sylvia’s grandfather. Before “coming home” to Abilene and St. Paul, he graduated from Hardin-Simmons with a double major in music and Spanish, a master’s degree in Choral Conducting from Sam Houston State, graduate theological work from Perkins School of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary. His doctoral work focused on the connection between theology and the arts.
Russell’s free time is spent on their ranch, quilting, watching British mystery shows, and being a grandfather to four perfect grandchildren.
Ask Russell about his relationship with The Lion King!
Claudia Anderson – Director of Children and Family Ministry
Claudia was born in Freemont, California and raised in Abilene, Texas. She graduated from Hardin-Simmons University with her Bachelors of Education and Abilene Christian University with her Masters of Education. Claudia is fluent in Spanish and enjoys teaching others.
She worked for Abilene Independent School District’s Bilingual/English as a Second Language program for 28 years and taught students from around the world. Claudia followed her call by accepting the position of Children and Family Ministry Director at St. Paul in 2018.
She takes a great delight in teaching children about the love of Jesus Christ, playing games, and helping them grow in their faith. Claudia enjoys reading, staying active, and doing DIY projects. She has two grown sons and one granddaughter who are her precious heartbeats!
Anthony Avina – Director of Youth Activities Intern
Lisa Barela – Office Administrator
Lisa joined St. Paul in 1987 and began her position on staff in 1991! Lisa’s expertise has guided and directed St. Paul for decades, and her patient presence helps numerous pastors and lay people gain their footing in the church. She assists the office staff, handles wedding arrangements, is a friendly face for funeral communications, and visits homebound members. She has many favorite memories of St. Paul but reflects fondly on a Youth ski trip where the snow was so deep they had to walk to the main lodge! Lisa’s spirit is filled when working with members, meeting new people, and using her creativity to design newsletters and advertising elements for the church.
Lisa spends lots of time with her close-knit family — siblings, children, and grandchildren! She takes her planning nature home with her and prides herself on being the “cool aunt” who plans the fun birthday parties, family events, and vacations.
Mark Yeilding – Business Manager
Mark saw the door God was opening for him and joined our St. Paul staff in September 2023. Mark has an accounting degree from Hardin-Simmons University, and he would tell you his second career was in banking as a Commercial Loan Officer.
Mark is just getting started at St. Paul is already pleased with the warm welcome and friendly atmosphere. He and his wife have been married for over 40 years, and he’s a proud grandparent. Mark spends his free-time with his creative pursuits and owns his own custom laser engraving business! Contact him for laser engraving and church finance needs.
Jeanine Wheeler – Pianist
Jeanine joined St. Paul almost a decade ago and leads the church as the head instrumentalist. She has a gift for playing any instrument nearby (yes, that’s a challenge) and can often be found playing her sneaky renditions of famous songs as prelude and postlude for worship — you’ll have to listen closely to hear her inspirations! She received a dual Bachelor’s in Music Education and Music Therapy from Radford University with a dual emphasis in trumpet and piano; she taught elementary music, choirs, and various math and science courses at parochial schools throughout mid-Michigan before heading to the University of Kentucky to begin a Masters in Musicology. While in Lexington, Jeanine became well-known as a collaborative pianist and independent piano teacher. In addition, she completed her Master’s in Music Therapy at Colorado State University and went on a brief performance tour through Sydney (Australia) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
In her free time, you’ll find her writing a journal of Schnessa’s thoughts, her sheltie puppy, and training “the girls” to win big in showcase arenas and provide companionship to others as therapy dogs.
Sylvia Miller – Organist
Sylvia came to St. Paul when her husband was hired as the Director of Music Ministries. She has a gift for music and has played piano and organ for many years. She has a BBA from West Texas State University and a music minor. She loves the people at St. Paul dearly and enjoys the loving and friendly atmosphere of the church staff and congregation! From her time on staff, she sees a deep desire to share the love of God with their community and each other. To her, St. Paul feels like home.
She celebrates over 40 years of marriage to Russell; they met at Cooper High School in the choir! Sylvia enjoys spending time with her children and perfect grandchildren. You’ll find her playing with them, reading, gardening, or quilting.
Glynell Hughes- Membership Secretary
Glynell has attended St. Paul since 1955, when she became a student at McMurry College. She married Harold Hughes, who was a beloved member of the choir and graduated from McMurry in 1959 with a degree in English and History.
Glynell has served on nearly every committee at St. Paul, and for Methodists, the list is never-ending! She is a preacher’s kid, taught 5th grade Sunday School, was an MYF counselor and began working with the membership records at the request of then pastor Dr. David Hamblin. She sings in the choir and plays handbells. Her children were raised in this church and remain active in their churches.
The people of St. Paul have been friends and special people to Glynell; she calls them all family! It’s a blessing and a pleasure to her to be an active member of God’s church — and this church.