About Us

Rev. Dr. Jim Earley

An Introduction to Pastor Jim and his wife, Phyllis:

The Rev. Dr. Jim Earley was appointed to serve Tabernacle UMC at Annual Conference this June. Our new pastor will be coming to us from Walker Chapel in Arlington, Virginia, where he has been since October 2006. He has served as a United Methodist pastor since being appointed to Good Hope UMC in Chesapeake, Virginia, in 1974. He has been in ministry in rural, small town, suburban, and inner city congregations in Tidewater and Southside Virginia, Northern Virginia, and western Georgia.

Jim is a native of Norfolk, Virginia, and graduated from Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake. He received a baccalaureate degree in Religious Studies from Virginia Wesleyan College, and a Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., in 1995. He and his high school sweetheart, Phyllis, were married in 1975. They have an adult daughter, Alacia (who will be married in June 2016), and an adult son, Nathan (who teaches elementary school music in St. Mary’s County, MD); both were born in Portsmouth in the early 1980’s. They also have a Golden Retriever, Goldie.

Jim’s wife of 40 years, the Rev. Phyllis R. Earley, also has a BA from Virginia Wesleyan, and a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary. Phyllis has served as the pastor of several United Methodist congregations in Virginia, including Trinity UMC in Alexandria, Plantersville, Bruen Chapel, St. Marks, Trinity (McLean), and Epworth in downtown Norfolk. She is presently on medical leave, and that status will continue until at least June 2016. Their daughter, Alacia, holds baccalaureate’s and master’s degrees in Health and Human Services, and works with Cornerstone (previously Reston Interfaith) in the area of transitional housing for those in need. Nathan, with similar degrees in Music and Education, teaches elementary school music in the St. Mary’s County, MD, public schools.

The pastor enjoys a wide variety of interests, including woodworking projects, home repair, music, and travel…. both as a missionary and for personal relaxation. He and Phyllis have been most often to southern Mexico, as well as to Paris and London, but their favorite places include the Outer Banks and the mountain towns of North Carolina. He also likes TV’s NCIS (especially trying to spot the bad guy in the first 3-5 minutes), a range of online authors, and live music presentations. Jim has played the autoharp and mountain dulcimer since the early 1990’s…. mostly for his own amazement!

Pastor Jim grew up in a faith-filled household, and was formed by their life in a small Presbyterian–and then United Methodist congregations. He carries from those years a tenacious personal faith, a love of mission, belief in the church as the Body of Christ, and a great love for service to all of God’s people, both inside and outside the church. He has served on several United Methodist Volunteer in Mission teams to central Mexico, eastern North Carolina, Honduras, and Ghana, in western Africa. He has also been a part of the diverse work of the church in district and conference ministries, though his first love remains in the local congregation. He enjoys preaching and leading worship, as well as being among God’s people in a range of settings.

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