Pastor – Jeff Edwards
Pastor Jeff has served the Parsippany UMC since 1989. He has remained here for so long he says “because this congregation is uniquely loving and inclusive, truly embodying the grace of Jesus.” As he is fond of saying with our children every Sunday, “there is always room in the circle!” He is fascinated and awed by the stories that have shaped peoples’ lives, and by the power of simple acts of kindness.
Jeff was born in Mississippi but since first grade was raised in Summit, New Jersey. He has a BA from Earlham College (1977) and an MDiv from Yale Divinity School (1982) where he received the Mersick Prize for Excellence in Preaching. Jeff is married to Sarah and together they have three grown children: Andrew, Kate and Bobby.
Jeff enjoys his daily walks in the woods, blessed by the marvelous beauty of trees. He also plays banjo and harmonica, enjoys playing softball in an over 50 league, and rooting for his son Bobby in college soccer games.
Jeff has written eleven full length plays, all of which have been produced in our church with casts composed of church members ranging in age from four to eighty-five. The dramas employ imaginative story lines that move audiences to both laugh and cry as they experience anew the wonder of God’s grace. Jeff takes a particular pleasure in taking people with little or no experience in theater, conjuring parts uniquely suited for them, and then guiding them through the communal experience of creating something beautiful to the glory of God. Contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Pastor - Sabitha Kanukolanu
Sabitha moved to the United States from Hyderabad, India in January, 2014 in order to study at Drew Theological School where presently she is a third year M.Div student. In India Sabitha was commissioned as a deacon and served in a wide range of capacities in the local church including preaching, teaching Bible studies, directing Christian education, youth and stewardship programs, and organizing Vacation Bible Schools. Sabitha also served as the president of the All India Council of Christian Women, the vice-president of the Asia Pacific Diakonia of the World Federation, and as the executive secretary of the Council of Women’s Work. Sabitha has an extensive educational background that includes an MA in English Literature. She has worked as the administrator in a public high school as well as in three different colleges.
Sabitha’s husband Swaraj is still living in India where he works at an accountant. Sabitha and Swaraj have three children and a son-in-law spread across the globe: Hana, Danile, Moses and Abhinav, two of whom are medical doctors. Sabitha enjoys painting, cooking, reading, singing and playing the sitar and the guitar. In her own words, Sabitha works for “the glory of God, wherever He sends,” and her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 1:21: “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Contact Sabitha at
Director of Music – Barbara Bradley
Barbara has been the Director of Music at our church since 1980. In this capacity she plays the organ and piano for services, directs the choir and the bell choir with extraordinary devotion to her members, and organizes concerts. On occasion gives solos.
In the past Barb helped direct “Heart and Soul Productions” with her friend Debi Valenzuela. The group included many Parsippany UMC choir members and performed concerts to raise money for various causes, as well as to bring pleasure to senior citizen groups around New Jersey. Barb was also a member for ten years of “One Achord”, an A Cappella group from our church. Barbara feels a deep affection for our church having attended since she was six years old. She runs the annual Happy Apple Bazaar and previously served as an advisor to the youth group. In her spare time, Barb loves reading, crocheting, spending time with her friends and rooting for the New York Mets!
A graduate of Centenary College with a degree in music (1979), Barb has worked for the past 37 years for the company that was first known as Bell Labs in Whippany. Presently she works for General Dynamics in Florham Park as a member of the Quality organization. Contact Barb at email@example.com
Lay Leader and United Methodist Lay Servant - Bob Keller
Bob is a certified Lay Servant in the United Methodist Church. In this capacity he fills in for Pastor Jeff when he is away on vacation and organizes a Laity Sunday worship service each year in October. Bob also provides pulpit supply for other United Methodist Churches in the Skylands District of the New Jersey Conference.
Bob grew up in a small town just outside of Pittsburgh, PA (Go Steelers!) and 43 years ago married Connie, his high school sweetheart. He is a graduate of California State University and worked for a time as a radio DJ in Florida and Pittsburgh. Bob worked in New York for the Standard and Poors division of McGraw-Hill before retiring in 1996. Bob is very active in the local community and is a Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Parsippany and has held many offices in the Lake Parsippany Volunteer Fire Company. Bob is currently Vice Chairman of the Planning Board of the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills. Connie donated one of her kidneys to Bob in 2002 and both are active with the New Jersey Sharing Network, Bob as an Ambassador. Bob and Connie have two grown sons, Jonathan and Michael. Bob’s favorite verse is: “Those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Volunteers (Monday through Wednesday)
Elizabeth Polen, Pat Winz, and Betsy Adams
Contact them at (973) 887 4657.
Church Custodian - Jahn Schnetzer