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Pastor's Welcome


These are exciting times around the United Methodist Church of Elmwood. We are constantly building and reconstructing how God's Spirit  is moving among us and through us. Howard Snyder, a beloved author and spiritual mentor of mine, has reminded us that New Testament biblical writers focus much more on community building in the process of building the body of Christ than any other in topic. Our congregation is a unique hybrid of traditions and cultural backgrounds. We emphasize Christian biblically based community building and de-emphasize doctrinal differences. Someone asked me to describe our congregation. My description is a gathering of God's seekers and Jesus' disciples reaching out to the world with love and compassion. We recognize that we have differences among us but choose to lift up love first, understanding next,  and hope in the daily life experiences of the people we encounter.


Dr. James Pernell, Sr.

Meet The Pastor

Reverend Dr. James Pernell, Sr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He is a proud father of five and a wonderful husband to Mrs. Roxanna E. Pernell.  He is currently a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary with a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership.  He is a graduate of Tuner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) with Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree with emphasis in Pastoral Care and Counseling.  He is also a 2010 graduate of Delta State University with a Bachelor's in Business Administration with emphasis in Computer Information Systems.  Reverend Dr. Pernell as licensed in the AME church in 2003 and ordained Itinerate deacon in 2010.  He was appointed the pastor of Bethel AME church (2009-2011) in Senatobia, Mississippi and has functioned in numerous ministries primarily young adult in the 8th, 6th and 11th District.

He was blessed to serve as the Associate Pastor at Historic St. James AME church in New Orleans, LA, serving  as the lead advisor for the young adult ministry.  On November 20th, 2016 Reverend Dr. Pernell as ordained Itinerate Elder in the AME church at the 152nd Louisiana Annual Conference in Baton Rouge, LA.  He also received a Certificate of Transfer to the 11th Episcopal District during the Conference.  Reverend Dr. Pernell has served on the ministerial staff at Wayman Temple AME in Jacksonville, Florida where he gleaned experience and guidance under the tutelage of Reverend Dr. Mark L. Griffin.  Reverend Dr. Pernell was apportioned pastor at Mt. Zion AME Church in Green Cove Springs, FL., where he served as Senior Pastor for five years.  During his tenure in Green Cove Springs, FL, Reverend Dr. Pernell was apportioned president of an ecominimal ministerial alliance called Breaking Bread Alliance.

Reverend Dr. Pernell was gainfully employed with Trinity Restoration Roofing Company as a Project Manager in Jacksonville, Florida where he was one of the lead project advisors in the company.  he has earned numerous leadership awards with the company.  Reverend Dr. Pernell is the Co-Founder and CEO of his own Credit Repair business which helped bring awareness to the importance of having and maintaining a good credit score and financial literacy in the black community.  Reverend Fr. Pernell desire is to serve the present age with relevancy and to equip future leaders with the tools needed to continue the necessary pursuit of speaking truth to power.


Mrs. Roxana Pernell

Meet the Pastor's Wife

Mrs. Roxanna Pernell, is a powerful woman of God who always strives to walk and talk in season in ministry, family, work and community.

Roxanna is an active member of Elmwood United Methodist Church, where her husband, Rev. James Pernell, Sr., serves as the Senior Pastor.  She continues her life long journey of outreach as a member of the Women in Faith Ministry.

As an avid community servant, Roxanna takes great joy in utilizing her gifts and talents beyond the local church.  Roxanna currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, multi-purpose, faith based community center in relationship with the United Methodist  Church whose mission is to empower individuals and families to move out of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency.  With an aim to assure that a new generation of children has the support needed to be successful in school and in life.  Roxanna is also a member of Galesburg-Altrusa International.  Altrusa, and international non-profit organization making our local communities better through leadership, partnership, and service.

Professionally, Roxanna currently works full-time as an Admin with Graham Hospital.  Most recently worked as an Executive assistant with Baptist Health, Jacksonville, Fl.  Roxanna also enjoyed a seven-year career with the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity.  Her time in Asia offered exposure to cultural diversity, and further cultivated her interest and passion for outreach ministry locally and abroad.

Interestingly, Roxanna has lived in seven states and two countries.  She has visited several countries and has engaged in missionary work as far away as Madagascar, Cambodia, Thailand, Korea, Egypt, and Japan.

She is especially gifted in the areas of administration, hospitality.  She and her husband are always a gracious and warm hosts.

She has utilized her gifts passionately as the 1st Vice President of Minister's Spouses, Widows and Widowers Plus PK (M-SWAWO+PK) of the 11th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the East Conference.  And as a member of the Women's Missionary Society at the area, district and connectional levels.

Roxanna is a native of the Sunflower State of Kansas.  Reared in the beautifully vibrant city of Wichita, Roxanna grew up learning about God and gained an appreciation and astonishment for the splendor of God.  At an early age, she consented to accept Christ into her life.  She discovered a deeper love for God while traveling, living abroad and along with many of life's trials, which helped her to fully understand that God loves people in all nations, on every continent, and all over the world.  God's love and mercy are truly universal TO ALL.

Roxanna was educated in the USD 259 Sedgwick County School System, and graduated from Southeast High School in Wichita Kansas.  Roxanna earned the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma.

Among the many joys in life, Roxanna most enjoys and has delighted in the blessings of marriage, motherhood and the excitement of becoming a first-time grandmother (GiGi).

Together, with her growing interest and abilities, Roxanna is committed to live in a right relationship with God by supporting the foundation on which she steadfastly and eagerly stands in service of.

You will always find her standing beside and supporting her husband while offering a helping hand to everyone else; whether it is washing dishes after fellowship, serving food during Manna Meals or packing boxes for the food pantry, she is not afraid to get dirty or stand in the cold all while smiling and offering a warm hug to all she meets.

Fun Facts:

Favorite Song:  Awesome (He Can Move Mountains)

Favorite Color:  Fuchsia & Royal Blue

Favorite Quote:  "He who shuns the dust of the arena shall not enjoy the shade of the olive tree."

Favorite Book:  Faithing It

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