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.
Praise Team: Every Wednesday @5 pm (Chapel)
Summer break: May-August; Returning September 6th
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
Director of Traditional Music and Worship
My name is Derek Weston, and I am the Director of Traditional Music and Worship at First United Methodist Church of St. Petersburg. I am also the Assistant Principal and Program Director for the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School, having previously served as the Director of Choral Studies at PCCA for thirteen years. 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.
My Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Master’s Degree in Orchestral and Choral Conducting are from Eastern Illinois University, and my conducting schedule has included performances throughout Florida, Illinois, South Carolina, Colorado, and New York, including serving as Assistant Conductor for a performance in Carnegie Hall. My wife Gwenn and I live with our two wonderful children, Greg and Grace, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
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 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.