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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Jocelyn Ashley, Office Manager

Jocelyn Ashley joined the staff at Melissa UMC in January of 2022 as the Office Manager. She came from Grace Avenue UMC where she was the financial assistant to the Operations Manager. She has been doing non-profit financials for the past 15 years.
Where did you grow up? I grew up all over the place, from Chicago, IL to Lubbock, TX then on to the Netherlands and then back to Texas in Trophy Club. My family then settled in Dallas when I was a freshman in high school.

Where did you go to school? I went to Ursuline Academy in Dallas and then on to the University of North Texas.

Who’s in your family? My husband of 20 years (my college sweetheart), our daughters Sophie and Alice. We also have our two beloved dogs Olive and Duke, 2 bunnies and a Beta fish.

What’s your favorite thing about Melissa UMC? The true inclusivity! I love that all are welcome, and no one is judged. That is truly in Christ’s image!
The best place to find me on Sunday mornings… You can find me popping into the church on occasion to say hi and check on my team or hanging around our home in Van Alstyne or with my large family for a birthday. If you are looking to connect, I am at the church during the week (Mondays-Thursdays from 9 am – 1 pm).

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Lindsay Cayford, Director of Family Ministry

Lindsay Cayford (she/her/hers) came to Melissa UMC in March 2021. 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!

The best place to find me on Sunday morning is connecting with our families with children or youth. I might be in the worship space in the prayground, in the nursery or in the youth room. You’ll find me during the children’s moment in worship for sure!

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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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Baylee Davis, Curator of Worship & Technical Arts

Baylee Davis (she/her) began an internship with Melissa UMC in August 2022 through the Iliff School of Theology and joined the staff as the Curator of Worship and Technical Arts in August 2022. She will graduate from Iliff with her Master of Divinity in June 2023.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in small town Granbury, TX just about 45 minutes southwest of Fort Worth. 

Where did you go to school? I moved to Denton in 2016 to attend the University of North Texas where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology – go Mean Green! After college, I began seminary through a hybrid program at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado.

Who’s in your family? I live in Aubrey, TX with my girlfriend and our two shi tzus, Rosie and Rona. 

What’s your favorite thing about Melissa UMC? This is a community of people who love people. I have been met with welcome and excitement, and it’s a joy to settle in somewhere that feels like home. 

The best place to find me on Sunday mornings… is either in the AV booth or ordering a second iced latte from Connections Coffee!

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Rev. Dallen Morgan, Pastor to The Gathering in Anna

Rev. Dallen Morgan (she/her) came to Melissa UMC in July 2022 in partnership with The Gathering, a new church start on Anna. She works with grief recovery and leads in worship. 

Where did you grow up? I grew up in The Colony so I’ve been around North Texas for a good portion of my life.

Where did you go to school? Many places, but I graduated from UTD in 2006 with a B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies and in 2017 with a Masters of Divinity.

Who’s in your family? My husband Matt and our children, Kaylee, Easton, PollyNell. Plus our furbabies Bernice Rose, Izzy Grace, Oreo.

What’s your favorite thing about Melissa UMC? The Love each person is shown as they walk through the doors.

The best place to find me on Sunday mornings is in worship or leading confirmation (or another class). I also spend a lot of time in Anna and visiting other churches in our conference.

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Ashley Shuma, Interim Youth Leader

Ashley Shuma (she/her) began routinely attending services at Melissa UMC with her family in April of 2021 and joined the staff in August of 2022 as the Interim Youth Director. 

Where did you grow up? I grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and moved to the DFW area in June of 2018. 

Where did you go to school? I graduated with my undergraduate degree in elementary education and special education from Western Illinois University. I then earned my graduate degree in special education administration from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. 

Who’s in your family? My husband, Steve, and I live in a small town north of Melissa with our son and our pup. 

What’s your favorite thing about Melissa UMC? I love that from the moment you enter our building you are welcomed as part of the Melissa UMC family and a sincere connection is offered to all. I am also very proud of the way our congregation continuously lifts others up and is committed to serving members of our community. 

The best place to find me on Sundays is at the 9:00 worship service with my family or Sunday evenings at one of our Youth at Melissa (YAM) events. 

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Emma Piyakhun, Music Ministries Intern

Emma Piyakhun (she/her/hers) moved to Melissa UMC in sixth grade! She joined the praise band in high school and is now serving as the music ministries intern.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Frisco and Melissa, and graduated from Melissa High School in 2020.

Where did do you go to school? I’m now in school studying music education at Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!).

Who is in your family? My parents, Keith and Stacey, and my younger sister Kayla all live in Melissa. I also have a pet fish named Cali!

What is your favorite things about Melissa UMC? My favorite thing about Melissa UMC is the love that we show to everyone who walks through our doors. If you come to visit Melissa UMC, you are immediately surrounded by a welcoming community.

The best place to find me on a Sunday morning is on stage leading music or talking in the commons!

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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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