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Like to sing? Play an instrument? Get involved! We are always looking for volunteers who have a heart for worship and aren't afraid to get up and show it! Feeling inspired? Have a song on your heart?

Contact Derek Weston (Traditional Music) or Loren Russell (Contemporary Music) at the email addresses shown below.

Rehearsal times:         


Praise Team: Every Wednesday @5 pm (Chapel)

                              Summer break: May-August


Band & Praise Team:  Sundays @8:45 am (pre-service) (Room 214-Parlor/Sanctuary)

and Tuesdays @6:00 pm (Sanctuary)



Chancel Choir: Sundays @10:15 am (pre-service) (Room 312)

and Wednesdays @7:30 pm (Room 312)  No Wednesday rehearsals: June-August

 Handbell Ringers: Sundays @12:10 pm (Room 310)  Summer break: May-August


Derek Weston

Senior Director of Ministry and Church Operations

My name is Derek Weston and I am the Senior Director of Ministry and Church Operations.  I have been part of the St. Pete First staff since August of 2011. Previously, I served for twenty years as the Assistant Principal and Director of Choral Studies for the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School.  Previously, I have held the positions of Director of Music for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Visiting Director of Choral Activities for Eckerd College, Artistic Director of Una Voce: The Florida Men’s Chorale, Conductor of the Richey Community Orchestra, and held conducting positions at Eastern Illinois University.  In addition to my administrative role at St. Pete First, I also conduct the Chancel Choir and Fellowship Ringers.


My Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Master’s Degree in Orchestral and Choral Conducting are from Eastern Illinois University, and my Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership degree is from St. Leo University.  My wife Gwenn and I live in St. Petersburg with my daughter Grace, and my son Gregory is stationed in Honolulu as a member of the U.S. Army.

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Loren Russell

Director of Contemporary Worship

Loren Russell is a seasoned worship leader with experience spanning over 15 years. He embarked on a notable journey as a touring musician with a band under Universal Music Group, gaining valuable insights into engaging diverse audiences through music. Additionally, Loren has played a pivotal role in fostering spiritual growth within communities as a pastor for a church plant.


Family is an integral part of Loren's life, and he finds joy in his marriage to Kristina Russell. Together, they embrace the blessings and responsibilities of raising their two sons, Jaiden and Riley.


Loren's commitment to his craft extends beyond worship leading, as he also owns a video production company specializing in commercial work, photography, and graphic design. This creative outlet enables him to channel his artistic talents and produce captivating visual content that resonates with viewers.


Through his multifaceted journey as a worship leader, pastor, musician, entrepreneur, and family man, Loren strives to possess a well-rounded character. His unwavering dedication to guiding others into encounters with God, coupled with his diverse experiences, positions him as a dynamic presence within the realm of worship ministry.

Rick Nay



Rick was born in Fairmont, West Virginia and moved to Dayton, Ohio with his family at age 4. He was drawn to the organ from childhood and started on a Magnus Chord organ at age 11. He took lessons from the organist at his church, Ethel Dare. Mrs. Dare realized his potential and had him play a duet with her during a church service. At age 16 he played his first service in church, filling in during his teacher’s vacation. He decided to pursue a career in organ and studied with Paul Jones at Wright State University, where he majored in organ performance. Rick moved to Florida in 1975, and has been the organist at several area churches, including Riviera United Methodist. He has played for church services, concerts, dedications, weddings, and funerals in over 30 churches in West Virginia, Ohio, and Florida. Rick has over 50 years experience in church music, and has been church organist at FUMC St Petersburg for over 25 years.

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