Mississippi United Methodist Katrina Response staff


  Ed Blakeslee

Position: Conference coordinator

Contact information: 228-234-7333; edblakes@aol.com

Office location: Gulfport

Primary responsibilities: Overall responsibility for recovery, working closely with the bishop, Cabinet and director of connectional ministries

Background: Retired vice president of Mississippi Power; member of Gulfport Trinity UMC

Favorite scripture: Luke 12:48


• Chris Bowers

Position: Conference coordinator of logistics

Contact information: 866-435-7091; chrisbowers@meridianumc.org

Office location: Disaster Response Center, Meridian

Primary responsibilities: Coordinating resource and volunteer support for regional coordinators

Background: business manager 9 years; seminary 3 years with focus on urban issues and theology

Favorite scripture: John 1:5


• Terry Lynn Hilliard

Position: Western Gulf Coast regional coordinator

Contact information: 228-234-3390; terry_hilliard@bellsouth.net

Office location: Nugent UMC, Gulfport

Primary responsibilities: Disaster recovery in Hancock and Pearl River counties and Pass Christian

Background: Pastor at Pass Christian First UMC; led mission and work trips throughout the United States and outside U.S.

Favorite scripture: Matthew 25:1-46

Comment: “I am excited about helping folks in the state with their homes, as well as ministering to them concerning their spiritual and emotional needs.”


• Elijah Mitchell

Position: Central Gulf Coast regional coordinator

Contact information: 228-539-9332; mississippico119@bellsouth.net

Office location: Gateway UMC, Gulfport

Primary responsibilities: disaster relief in Harrison and Stone counties

Background: Pastor at Seashore Mission and St. Rock UMCs


• Robert Sharp

Position: Eastern Gulf Coast regional coordinator

Contact information: 228-234-3387; rsharp@datasync.com

Office location: St. Paul UMC, Ocean Springs  (downtown campus)

Primary responsibilities: Disaster recovery efforts in Jackson and George counties

Background: Retired from flying with Hurricane Hunters; United Methodist Volunteers in Mission coordinator for Seashore District with 62 mission trips in the last 15 years

Favorite scripture: James 2


• Dena Parker

Position: Pine Belt regional coordinator

Contact information: 601-426-2201; denaparker@bellsouth.net

Office location: West Laurel UMC

Primary responsibilities: Disaster recovery efforts for counties north of the six Seashore District counties.

Background: Youth minister at West Laurel UMC; 20 years in the Mississippi poultry industry;

Favorite scripture: Psalm 71:14


• Kevin O’Hara Hughes

Position: Western regional construction facilitator

Contact information: 601-668-6941; kevinoharahughes@yahoo.com

Primary responsibilities: Networking, rebuilding and coordinating rebuilding efforts

Background: 20 years as an industrial-commercial electrician

Favorite scripture: “All of them lately.”

Comment: “It will take all of us working together to be effective. Communication will be critical in making this effort possible and realistic.”