GROWING WITH GOD
S I N C E 1 9 0 9

We believe our Mission, moving forward, is to plant and to nurture Spirit-filled relationships in God through Christ-centered Prayer, Fellowship, Discipleship, Worship, and Service.

Our Leadership Team

The staff and leadership here at Young Harris is comprised of men and women who love, care and pray for every single person in the church. If you have any questions for any of our staff, feel free to reach out and email them or call our church office to speak with them. You can contact the church office at psimpson@yhmumc.com

  • Rev. Dr. Luis Ortiz - Senior Pastor

    Pastor Luis was born and raised in Ohio.  One of his most memorable employments there was being the private chef for Don King, the Boxing Promoter.  He accepted Christ in 1984 shortly before moving to Georgia. In 1990, he accepted the call to ministry.  Pastor Luis received his Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Piedmont College.  Then received his Master of Divinity with a concentration in Biblical Studies at Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta.   He has served as Senior Pastor in all his appointments. Pastor Luis was ordained as Full Connectional Elder in the North Georgia Conference in 2015.  He will complete his doctoral degree with a concentration in Christian Leadership and Renewal with the next three months.   

  • Reverend Angela Baza - Hispanic Ministries Pastor

    Rev. Baza is from Peru.  She has lived in Athens for 22 years, enjoying family and friends.  She loves being part of the Methodist church because she has an opportunity to join families and friends, sharing and learning from each other. Testifying who we are within the body of Christ. 

      

  • Blake Tabb - Youth Director

    Blake is father to two spunky children and married to Sara Tabb.  He spends most of his time at the Athens YMCA.  

  • Jenn LaRue - Minister of Music

    Jenn is a PHD student in ethnomusicology at UGA, with a passion for global music and worship.  When she is not researching music from different parts of Africa, she is working with various organizations to help provide primary school education for vulnerable children in Kenya.


     

  • Daniel Self - Accompanist

    Daniel is a lifelong musician performing extensively on both flute and piano for over 20 years.  He works for the Athens Clarke County Leisure Service Department when he is not performing.  In addition to piano accompaniments, Daniel double on the organ when needed and assists with the Young Harris handbell choir and church orchestra.

  • Patti Simpson - Communications Administrator

    Patti is originally from Upstate NY.  Patti and her husband, Steve now call Winder their home.  She is a devoted believer and disciple of Jesus Christ and it shows in her passion for her care and compassion for the ministry of Young Harris.   When she is not at Young Harris she is attending muscle car shows with her husband, Steve or spending time with her grandchildren and dogs. 

Our Beliefs

This congregation has been, is, and believes she is being sent out to cultivate, nurture, and harvest with God for His Glory!  We are called to share the Love of God with anyone and everyone!  We believe that this is our task: to Grow with God by making disciples of Jesus Christ, to care for people, to be God's witness to people, and to serve God and God's people accordingly.  We believe we are being sent into the world to do this.  We believe Athens is the starting place that we do this, but we believe God is not calling us only to Athens, but, instead to both Athens and beyond  We believe Young Harris Memorial UMC to be our home, our base, from where God is sending us out in ministry and mission.  We love this congregation, but it is not the end all, be all.  It is God's and not ours to hold.