Pastor Sonia has a zeal for helping others find their place in God’s world. She enjoys the opportunity to walk with others in their life’s journey, and especially helping them to find Christ along the way.
Pastor Sonia comes to us from Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, where she has served as a Chaplain, and from Christ the King Church where she served as the Associate Rector, both since 2003. Her community involvement includes volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, KidsGames, Relay for Life and many others. She has a passion for mission work, both at home and abroad. Her other loves (and entertainment) are her husband, Steve (the Rector of Christ the King Church), her son Christopher (a FSU grad, employed at McCoy FCU), her stepdaughter Catherine (a Sewanee grad and currently interning for the Sewanee Review), her “pseudo-children” (the young adults God seems always to be bringing into her life to raise), and Walt Disney World. Take a peek at her office and you’ll discover her infatuation with Mickey Mouse; and if you ask, you’ll hear the cool story behind it too!
Before moving to Orlando, she served for ten years in Swainsboro, Georgia. Her major responsibility there was serving as the rector of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and in several diocesan leadership capacities. She led a community-wide youth ministry program called CrossRoads and was a part of many community outreach organizations. She served on the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club and the Sunshine House Children’s Advocacy Center, led Youth Leadership Emanuel, was one of the County Chairs for Relay for Life, and served on the Community Involvement Committee for the public school system.
Pastor Sonia was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, received her BBA (’84) and MBA (’89) degrees from Valdosta State University and her M.Div. (’93) from the University of the South (Sewanee). Outside of professional ministry, her work experience is rooted in management and marketing, mainly for non-profit organizations.
Many of you have spoken with Ken, and/or his wife Laura, as they have quietly worshipped with us over the last year or so. Fr. Vinal is a graduate of the University of Florida where he studied accounting and practiced for several years before attending the University of the South where he attained his M.Div. He is a native Floridian, having been born and raised in Jacksonville. Ken and Laura have two adult children – Elizabeth is married and lives in Japan, while Cooper will enter FSU as a freshman in January. He has served parishes in Kentucky and Florida and has spent the last 12 years as a Chaplain at Trinity Prep.
The role of a school chaplain is unique and while opportunities to teach, preach, and provide pastoral care abound, there are few opportunities to celebrate the Eucharist and lead worship. For most priests, this is a very important part of their vocation.
As fate would have it, Pastor Sonia and Fr. Vinal have had their paths intertwine over the years. Pastor Sonia was Ken’s “Seminary Host” when his family moved to Sewanee. Ten years later when Pastor Sonia moved to Orlando, Ken was the person who gave her the lead for her job as a teacher and then a chaplain at Trinity where they worked together for 10 years. And, now, we have invited Fr. Ken to join us at St. Matthew’s as Priest Associate. What this means is that he will worship among us, at times lead worship and celebrate, and he will occasionally preach.
I was the oldest of three boys and raised in a conservative Baptist home in Michigan. I move to Central Florida in 1975 and have lived here ever since and I consider myself a Floridian. I earned a degree in English from Oral Roberts University where my understanding of faith changed radically. I became an Episcopalian because I fell in love with the freedom of the liturgy and the traditions of the greater church and because most of the English faculty seemed to go there too.
I have been married to Patti for 26 years. We live on a 5-acre ranch in Oviedo where my wife tends to more animals than I care to know about. I have three children. The oldest lives in Japan with his family and my only grandson. I have two children in college: a son at UCF and a daughter at FSU. That does not make me a Gator-hater, although I have my suspicions .
I have worked as a technical writer in the aerospace field for 31 years. My hobbies are reading, disc golf, running, brewing beer, and playing video games. My wife and I are big Orlando Magic fans.
I was ordained a deacon in 2010. Since then I have completed a Master of Ministry degree and Nashotah House, an Episcopal seminary in Wisconsin. My faith is very simple. I believe in God. I believe that God is good. I believe that Jesus is the most perfect expression of God’s love. The role of the deacon is to have one foot in the church and one in the world. I like that. The emphasis of my ministry is on visitation and community outreach.
I come from a musical family. My sister, brother, and I all play instruments, and have served in church music ministry during our adult lives. My mother, a very talented musician, all taught us to play the piano, because this was her way of sharing herself with us. She also did many things to encourage our spiritual growth. My sister and I decided to major in music.
I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at East Carolina University, in Greenville, North Carolina. Did I mention that I was a Tarheel from many generations back? My family has lived in North Carolina since before the Revolutionary War, so I am a PROUD Tarheel. I met my husband, Dan, at school. He is a fine organist, and has been a church musician for several years. He is also a nurse. We have a college-age son, Paul, who is our pride and joy.
I am a career music teacher; I have taught school for over twenty-five years. I am currently teaching at St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando. I have also taught English, Social Studies, and Theater Arts part of the time, because those are three subjects that I am also passionate about! I have participated in community theater here for several years. My dream is to FINALLY play the Mother Abbess role in a production of The Sound of Music. I have played two of the other “big nun” roles, but I have never landed that one yet. Someday… I am also part of a five lady singing group, The St. Andrew Sisters (Yes, we are on youtube). We have a lot of fun, and are available for club meetings, rehearsal dinner parties, etc.
After many years of teaching Preschool, I have been blessed with 4 of my own sweet children ranging in age from 10 months to 10 years. I have a wonderful and supportive husband, Keith who is also actively involved with our St. Matthews family. I am currently enrolled at the University of Central Florida seeking my Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education. I love being the Children’s Minister at St. Matthews, it is truly a chance to teach children the faith, grace and love that God has extended to me in so many ways. The Lord has taken me on on incredible path and I look forward the opportunities that tomorrow will bring. Blessings!
I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. My husband Jim and I moved to Orlando in 1980. We’ve been married 34 years and have so much for which to be grateful. We have three beautiful children who are now grown. Our daughter Erin, the youngest, currently attends UF. We also have two sons, Corey and Bryan. Corey is stationed at the Marine Corp Training Center in Twentynine Palms, California. Our oldest son, Bryan, lives in Atlanta and runs his own hobby shop while also attending Georgia Tech. He and his wife Jaime have blessed us with an amazing granddaughter, Amber.
I’ve spent the past 15 years volunteering and working for Orange County Public Schools. Prior to that, I worked in many different areas of accounting which included working for a bank, a law firm, and a retirement community.
Aside from spending time with friends and family, I love photography and have even taken a few courses. I’m very excited to be a part of the St. Matthew’s family.