From Our Pastor

Rev. Stacey Piyakhun

My name is Stacey Piyakhun. I’m an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and I am humbly blessed to serve as a pastor to our friends and neighbors in Melissa. Since you clicked on the button ‘A Word from Our Pastor’, you could be looking for any number of things. You might be looking for more information on who I am and how I got here.

But you might be looking for something else… a church home, a word of comfort, a moment of peace, a pathway to more. Whatever it is that you were searching for when you clicked on that button, I hope this page serves a starting place.

Finding a pastor that you can connect with is an important part of choosing a church. You will want to find someone who can relate to your daily life and can make faith applicable and understandable. You’ll search for someone who can offer support when your first baby is born or when your loved ones are struggling. I’ve been in those places, so let me tell you a little about myself.

I grew up in Texas from the time I was about twelve years old. My parents were high school sweethearts and married after college. We didn’t talk about faith much growing up but it was an important part of our usual family rhythm. My sister and I grew up in the United Methodist Church. I have a Bachelors of Music from West Texas A&M. My plan was to be a band director and then a stay-at-home mom but, as I have learned many times in my faith journey, sometimes my plans only lay the groundwork for what God is working on. I taught elementary music before becoming a youth director, and then a “real” pastor (that’s a much longer story).

My husband Keith and I met when we were 17 and 19. There are lots of things I could say about our marriage but, for now, let me just say that I am blessed by a partner in ministry and a best friend that shares my greatest joys and my deepest sorrows. We have two daughters that are nearing teenage years, faster than we thought was possible.

If you come to worship at Melissa UMC, you’ll get to know me and our faith community on a much deeper level. We are going to be honest with you about our lives and our faith. We’ll use some real-life examples to talk about how God is working in the world around us. We’ll give you some questions to think about like… “Where is God in the midst of Highway 75 construction traffic?” or “How can we really change the world by being a part of a church?”

That’s ‘A Word from Our Pastor’. I’m a real person with faults, fears, and questions. My life is less than perfect. Our house is full of laughter and laundry (both clean & dirty). I spend more time than I should at Sonic happy hour and sometimes my car is my best office space. Most importantly, I believe in the power of God’s love in my life & in yours. When you start to look for God’s love in the world around you, it becomes pretty clear. You have to have courage to name the beauty of the sunset, the laughter of a child, or the kindness of a stranger as God’s love. But that’s what it is. God is there! That’s God’s love in action!

If you come to worship at Melissa UMC, I know you’ll find God’s love waiting. You don’t have to have answers to the big questions. You don’t have to own a bible or even understand what church is all about. You’ll come searching for something… and if you come with a heart open. You are going to find God’s love in action. I’m looking forward to meeting you soon!

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Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Rev. Stacey Piyakhun, Lead Pastor

Rev. Stacey Piyakhun (she/her/hers) came to Melissa UMC in January 2014. She is an ordained elder in the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Here are a few fun facts:

Where did you grow up?  I was born in Illinois and lived in Virginia and Indiana when I was a kid before moving to Texas. I’ve been in the DFW metroplex since I was in the 6th grade.

Where do you to go school? Mustangs, Buffaloes and Mustangs again… Grapevine High School. West Texas A&M for my Bachelors of Music. Perkins School of Theology at SMU for my Masters in Divinity.

Who’s in your family? Keith and I have been married for over 20 years and our teenage daughters, Emma and Kayla. We have 3 dogs: Reggie (the tennis ball player), Jack (the gentle giant), and Ryder (the pandemic foster puppy turned permanent).

What’s your favorite thing about Melissa UMC? YOU ARE! I love that we are a church that welcomes all people, then connects us to one another and to God as we grow in faith together.

The best place to find me is on Sunday mornings before or after worship. However, I love meeting up for coffee or a meal to see what God is up to in your life.

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Tyler Ferguson, Worship and Music Ministries

Tyler Ferguson (He/him/his) came to Melissa UMC in June of 2014 and while he is not a native of North Texas, he got here as quickly as he could.

Where did you grow up? I was born in Milwaukee, but my parents and I moved to Texas when I was around 2 and have lived in DFW since then.

Where did you go to school? I graduated from Frisco High School and attended Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!) and received my Bachelor’s in Music Education and then attended Perkins School of Theology for my Masters in Sacred Music.

Who is in your family? My wife Sawyer and I have been married since April of 2018 and had our first child, Caroline, this in January of 2020.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working? I love spending time with my family and friends, watching movies, and doing all the active-lifestyle things like playing sports, working out, and living life to the fullest!

What do you want to make sure and do before you die? There is a whole list of things, as in a whole long list of things, but I would love to climb the tallest mountain on every continent before I die. That would be really cool.

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Emily Scott, Youth Ministries

Emily Scott (She/her/hers) came to Melissa UMC Summer of 2020 as our Director of Youth and Families. She is partnering with CYMT to continue her education at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary while leading our youth. A few things fun facts about me include…

Where did you grow up? I grew in Pittsburgh, PA, and moved to Birmingham, AL when I was 10. I grew up alongside my two brothers (Matt, 28 and Patrick, 26), my mom and dad (Kim and Mike), and my pup Yogi Bear.

Where do you to go school? I am a recent graduate from Belmont University in Nashville, TN where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Christian Leadership and Spiritual Formation. 

Who’s in your family? Matt Purvis and I recently got married, June 20 of 2020, so right now it is just us in our household (hoping that one day we can add a dog into this chaos but for now we are enjoying all the fun of McKinney, TX).

What’s your favorite thing about Melissa UMC? One of my favorite things is the teamwork that takes place here! I Iove how this community supports one another and wants to help in any means possible. It’s really cool working alongside folks who just want to take care of one another!

If I am not working or doing school, you can find me on the couch enjoying New Girl or Marvel Movies. I have 4 moods at all times – happy, hungry, tired, grumpy – all which can be solved with a good meal and nap. My go-to order at McDonald’s is a 10 piece McNugget meal with a coke.

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Lindsay Cayford, Director of Children’s Ministry & Joyful Hearts Learning Center

Lindsay Cayford Bio

Lindsay Cayford (she/her/hers) came to Melissa UMC in March 2021. She is the Director of Children’s Ministry and Joyful Hearts Learning Center. Here are a few fun facts:

Where did you grow up? I was born in southern California but growing up my family bounced back and forth between California and Minnesota. If I had to choose, I’d consider my childhood home to be good old sunny California.

Where did you go to school? After doing some undergrad work at Orange Coast College in California, God directed my path to Victory Bible College in Tulsa Oklahoma where I earned my diploma in Ministry with a focus in Cross Cultural Studies and interned overseas in several countries as a missionary.

Who’s in your family? My whole world is contained within a spunky little boy named Bennett. He is my miracle! Bennett and I are blessed to be surrounded by so many friends and family who love us so well.

What’s your favorite thing about Melissa UMC? That we welcome ALL and love ALL. Behind the walls of MUMC you will only find love, acceptance, and the chance to be welcomed exactly as you are.

What are you happiest doing when you’re not working? Any time I am surrounded by my family, I am in my happy place. We often find ourselves up and my parents lake house. Being on the water fishing with my Dad and my son fills my heart!

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Jocelyn Ashley, Office Manager

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Dana Conklin, Facilities Manager

Dana Conklin (She/her/hers) became a part of Melissa UMC staff in December 2021.

Where did you grow up? A native Texan born in Lubbock, my parents moved us to the Dallas area and eventually Plano, which I call home. My family, Jerry and Lindsey, moved to Melissa in 2001 to enjoy a smaller community like Plano was as I grew up.

Where did you go to school? As a graduate of Plano Senior High School, I attended Texas Tech University for a short time, then went on to get a Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation Administration from the University of North Texas. Many, many years later I also obtained a Masters of Public Administration from UNT which served my municipal government career well until I retired in 2013.

Who is in your family? Jerry and I married in 1993. A few years later we welcomed our daughter, Lindsey who is grown and married to Bryce Keller. My parents, Bill & Yvonne England are founding members of Melissa UMC and the reason we found Melissa UMC.

What is your favorite thing about Melissa UMC? I enjoy being a part of a faith community that exists outside the walls of a building and works in the community without large trumpets sounding out our work.

Where can you find me? In front of a fire; laughing with friends; enjoying community activity; serving others through the Melissa Rotary Club or Melissa City Council; cycling throughout the area; visiting with family; just being part of a community.

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Rev. Pepa Paniagua, Ecumenical Pastor Kindom Community

Rev. Pepa Paniagua (she/her) came to Melissa UMC in February 2020 in a partnership with kin∙dom community, and joined the staff as the Interim Minister for Children in May of 2020. She is an ordained pastor in Grace Presbytery, in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Here are a few fun facts:

Where did you grow up? I was born in Oklahoma City, and lived there for 4 whole days before I was adopted and raised in The Bay Area of California. (Go 49ers!)

Where do you to go school? Sacred Heart Preparatory in Atherton, CA, Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA (The town so nice, they named it twice!), and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Who’s in your family? Kelli Rabalais and I have been married for just over 3 years, and we live in McKinney with our dogs: Tyson, Opie and Posey.

What’s your favorite thing about Melissa UMC? The real and abundant welcome that this church offers to ALL People, and how committed this community is to loving God and loving others. This church walks the walk!!

The best place to find me is in my car- I do a lot of commuting and a LOT of visiting with people…usually, if I am not in my car, I am at a coffee shop!

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You are welcome here

We are excited to welcome you to Melissa UMC. This is a church that is committed to building up each person who enters our doors and encouraging them to grow as a person and in their faith. We seek to serve those around us by meeting the needs of our community. So, if you are looking for a place to welcome you as you are, encourage you to keep growing, and connect you with ways to serve, Melissa UMC might be just what you are looking for.

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