By Courtney Clark
Jeffrey St. Clair, Pittsburgh native and pastor of Mandarin United Methodist Church, has lived in St. Johns County for three years. Initially motivated to move south for his son’s health, St. Clair and his family have come to love the area and community.
In his spare time, the pastor enjoys spending time with his family, coaching Jax Fusion 16U fastpitch softball, kayaking and fishing. He took time out of his busy schedule to explain his new outreach program and what he loves about St. Johns County.
- What’s your favorite part of living in St. Johns County?
I have three: 1) The people. There is a certain “southern hospitality” that we didn’t see living up north. I find myself saying “yes, ma’am” all the time now, as well as “y’all.” I don’t say “yinz” as much anymore (Pittsburgh slang for “you all”). 2) The waterways, from the ocean to the Intracoastal to the St. Johns River, it’s all beautiful. 3) The sunrises and sunsets are magnificent.
- How is Mandarin United Methodist Church different from others you’ve visited or pastored?
This church is the largest church I have served. We worship around 1200 people each Sunday and the church is multi-staffed. With that many people, we experience much activity from small groups to community outreach. It’s great to work on a team, as well.
- Can you tell me about your Fresh Expressions outreach?
Fresh Expressions is a new form of church in an ever changing culture. The Fresh Expression I lead, “Kayaking with Jeff,” is a fresh expression of church. We meet once a month on the water, changing locations each month. Kayaking with Jeff is intentional about reaching people in our community who may not be active in a church community and may never be. We want to bring church to the community. I share a message each time from the kayak and our community has grown from 15 in January to more than 60 last month. Like us on Facebook for more information: “Kayaking with Jeff” or “Longleaf @ 210.”
- What’s a little-known fact about you?
I bleed black and yellow. I am a die-hard Pittsburgh Steeler and Pirates fan. You can see my bright yellow and black Steeler license plate coming from a mile away. It’s nice being from a city that can say it has the most Super Bowl trophies — although I do root for the Jags if they don’t play the Steelers.
- If you could meet anyone (alive or dead), who would it be and why?
My new neighbors coming into St. Johns, because they are going to be a part of this community and it’s good to know each other and be connected. That’s the beauty of community.
Photo courtesy Jeffrey St. Clair
Jeffrey St. Clair leads Kayaking with Jeff on a monthly basis.