The Rev. Chris Cumbest began his ministry at Wells in July 2019.
Chris came to Wells from his most recent assignments at Shiloh UMC and Little Zion UMC near Pelahatchie in Rankin County, Mississippi. He has served at Crossgates UMC in Brandon, St. Paul UMC in Ocean Springs, Alta Woods UMC, First UMC in Lucedale, Flora/Bentonia UMC and First UMC in Clinton. In 2006, he served in a major state role as Coordinator of Church Recovery for the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church after Hurricane Katrina. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and Duke University Divinity School.
There are three pastors in the Cumbest family. His wife, Sheila, recently served as an associate pastor at Christ United Methodist Church, and began a new assignment as senior pastor of Morton First United Methodist Church in July. His daughter, Elizabeth, serves as associate pastor of Peachtree UMC in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia. Chris' family also includes: son-in-law Phillip Byrd, a teacher and coach at Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia; and Jesse Cumbest, a recent USM graduate and team leader at Kaldi’s Coffee in Atlanta.
Chris’ background and ministry experiences have uniquely shaped him to lead Wells. His father was involved in working in his church and with the minister during turbulent times of burned crosses and death threats. His older sister also shaped his life view exposing him to the Civil Rights Movement.
He was particularly impacted by the Methodist ministers who signed the 1963 “Born of Conviction” statement on racial reconciliation, one of whom was Keith Tonkel.
Chris enjoys most anything outdoors and hobbies include: hunting, fishing, gardening, farming, kayaking, hiking, camping, Duke basketball, baseball, mission trips and the list goes on…