Meet Our Minister & Staff
Rev. Kristina Spaude, Minister
The Rev. Kristina Spaude is a native of NE Ohio, having grown up in the suburbs of Cleveland and then spending about 20 years in Kent. The congregations of that whole area are very special to her, having shaped so much of her ministry with their love and support.
Rev. Kristina is coming to Florida by way of Pennsylvania, where she worked as a Staff Chaplain for Geisinger Medical Center (a Level 1 Trauma and Regional Medical Center) in Danville. Prior to that, she completed a Chaplaincy Residency and Fellowship (2016-8) at the Northeast Ohio VA Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. Serving our nation’s veterans continues to be important to her.
Rev. Kristina also served as a part-time Director of Religious Education (2013-5) with SouthWest UU Church in North Royalton, OH, and Intern and Sabbatical Minister (2014-6) for the First UU Church of Youngstown, OH (UUYO).
She is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School (2016) and previously a graduate of Kent State University (history and French and Russian Translation).
Among Rev. Kristina’s passions are intersectionality, working to dismantle systems of oppression, sexuality education, community-building (including timebanking), theology, sciences, linguistics, history, and especially learning. One of her favorite current practices is cross-stitching. Her happy place is being in water and she loves to swim. Occasionally, she also runs.
Rev. Kristina is delighted to serve as the minister of the UU Church of Tarpons Springs and is looking forward to meeting you!
You can contact Rev. Kristina at email@example.com.
Bonnie Whitehurst, Music Director
Hello, I'm Bonnie Whitehurst. Let me share with you my journey to this church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs.
My first introduction to UUism was in Flint, Michigan in the 1970's, where I was invited to perform at a coffee house held in the church basement. I became a regular there and was frequently invited to provide music for the Sunday services. Having been raised Methodist, I found it a very different, intriguing worship experience.
When I moved to Florida in 1979, I met a woman who was a vital part of the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater. She encouraged my involvement in that congregation's music and religious education programs and I was active there until 1997.
Since that time I have enjoyed being a guest musician and worship leader at many UU churches throughout the state of Florida and every summer I travel to the Southeastern Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute (SUUSI) in Blacksburg, Virginia where I join other musicians to make music for an entire week.
In 2000 I became the music director of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs, FL. It has been a pleasure to work with the ministers over the years. Together we strive to intertwine the message and music to form a seamless Sunday garment that the congregation can put on and take home. I have always been encouraged to be creative, inventive, intuitive, and free in the music I choose each Sunday. It is truly one of the very best positions a musician can have and I hope to continue providing music in Tarpon Springs for years to come.
Gayle Gardner, Office Administrator
Gayle Gardner has joined the staff at the Unitarian Universalist Church as our office administrator. She is a native of Vermont and relocated to Florida in 2000. She met her husband, Mike, in 2004 and they have been married for 17 years. They have a blended family of four adult children, and now have seven grandchildren aged two through twelve. Quality time with family is the most important, they enjoy taking vacations together, boating, and cruising to the Caribbean. Gayle is a seasoned office administrator and will be happy to assist you with any questions or concerns. Please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamilet Cruz, Faith Formation Specialist
Jamilet “Jami” Cruz implements our Faith Formation for Children program, with the support of volunteer congregants, who are dedicated to the spiritual growth of our children, and in collaboration with Rev. Kristina. During the week Jami works full time as a youth specialist for Cops ‘n Kids where she has worked for several years and has earned her Directors Credential. Jami is also credentialed as Child Development Associate (CDA) and is CPR and AED certified. We came to know Jami through her service on the Community Garden Board. Most importantly, Jami loves working with kids. It is her passion and we love having her!
Rev. Robert F. Murphy, Minister Emeritus
Rev. Robert F. Murphy, Minister Emeritus, served the congregation from 2015 until his retirement at the end of 2019.
Rev. Wes Stevens, Minister Emeritus
Rev. Wes Stevens, Minister Emeritus, served the congregation from 1997 to 2007.