Our Pastor & 1st Lady
Pastor James E. McKnight, Jr. was born in Gainesville, Florida to Bishop J.E. and Sister Jessie McKnight. As a young boy, he was always serious about the work of the Lord by integrating preaching, praying and teaching into his normal childhood routines. At the age of 18, he committed his life to Christ and served in various capacities including youth minister, deacon, musician, choir president and Sunday school teacher at his local church.
In 1985, Pastor McKnight received his call into ministry and later was led to plant a church in Starke, Florida. With a clear vision, strong faith, determination and God’s help, he founded Starke Church of God by Faith in March 1987. He studied business administration at Sante Fe College and received his license as an ordained Elder of Church of God by Faith Inc. in December of 1991.
Pastor McKnight is also president and founder of Bradford County Faith Community Center, a faith-based organization that serves North Central Florida by providing HIV testing and counseling, a recovery program, prison outreach, food distribution and a family literacy program.
His dedication and ministry in the Church of God by Faith was recognized by the leadership of the church and as a result, he was recommended as a candidate for Ruling Elder. In December of 2003, he was selected by the National Church at-large and became a member of the Executive Board.
His life and ministry is driven by the fact that, every soul matters to God. His mission is to reach people and develop lives with a message of life and hope. Moreover, his ultimate passion is to resource and help leaders build strong local churches.
Pastor McKnight has been married to his childhood sweetheart, DeLois Turner McKnight since 1978 and they have three children: Candace, James III and Devin.
If you would like to contact Pastor James E. McKnight Jr. you may e-mail him at PastorMcKnight@starkecogbf.org
Creative Arts Leader
Casey has been a member of Starke COGBF since September 2002 and is a lifelong member of the Church of God by Faith organization. His life has been ordained, and his steps truly ordered by God to be a true worshiper, and leader among God’s people. Casey has been married to the love of his life, his Bahamian princess Nekia Jones since August 1998, and is the devoted father of five children, three daughters and two sons. He feels there is no greater expression of love for God, than worship. “What comes from worship is power – power that lifts burdens, destroys yokes and sets the enemy to flight. He is inspired by artists such as Fred Hammond, Israel Houghton, Marvin Winans and others. He is very passionate about being a disciple of Jesus, leading the body of Christ into true Worship and equipping and raising up Worship leaders.
Elaine was born and raised in Lawtey, Fl. She grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ at the early age of 10 while at a summer bible camp in Ft. Valley Georgia. She graduated from UF with a BS in nursing and has worked in various capacities in the nursing profession. She got connected with SCOGBF after returning from active duty military and has served as former Executive Director of BCFCC and currently has oversight for Fellowship ministries. Elaine is the mother of 3 adult children and 4 grands who affectionately call her Mamalaine.
Pastor Avery Shell
Pastor Shell, whom The Lord delivered on January 1, 1997, has been married since June 30, 2001 to Sandra Shell. The Lord called him to minister through evangelism in 1998 and gave him Isaiah 61: 1-3 as a template of how and what to accomplish for the kingdom of God. He’s driven to accomplish the mission for the Evangelism ministry, which is “To inspire, teach and motivate believers to share their faith more effectively on a daily basis”. He is presently Involved in Youth ministry as a youth leader and teaches the middle/high school boys. He also works at the Florida Youth Challenge Academy, where he works with at-risk teenage males, ages 16- 18. His favorite scripture is Isaiah 61: 1-3.
Guest Services Leader
Winefred Sherman Major
Winefred Sherman Major, aka Sis. Winnie, serves as Guest Services Director. She has been a member of Starke COGBF since 2001. She also tirelessly volunteers in the Food/Clothes Ministry at the church. Her favorite scripture is “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Her Favorite Song: I Have Decided To Follow Jesus.
Iana (Adrienne) Patterson
Education Directors, they both possess a heart to serve God and to walk in His precepts. Together, with the grace of God, they have raised three (3) children that are well-adjusted, successful, firmly planted in God’s word. Their shared belief in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” has been the guiding strength of their charge, passed down to them from their own parents. They have a combined (50) years experience in dealing with, and oftentimes, ministering to incarcerated individuals. Vincent and Adrienne firmly believe that given the correct information, guidance, inspiration, men and women, young and old can advance in the kingdom of God and be the men and women of God for which they were intended to be. Proverbs 3:13 says, “Blessed are those that find wisdom, those who gain understanding.
Children and Youth Leaders
Jermaine and Nikki Hutchinson