Rev. Dr. Dawn Conti
I was born into a loving Christian family in which education was valued. My maternal grandmother, the first of her family to go to college, began her teaching in a one room school house in northern Ohio; she was still teaching Sunday School until she died at age 86. My mother, also a teacher, established and directed a Lutheran Preschool and taught elementary through high school. My father, who “always wanted one of his kids to earn their doctorate” was an Elementary School Principal. Most of my life with my family of origin was spent in the Cleveland suburbs, with the exception of two years in Anchorage, Alaska. In 1978 my family moved to Florida, the state I call home.
My post high school education includes two years at Erskine College, a BS in Business from Rollins College, an MBA from Drexel University, a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree from Louisville Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) in Preaching from McCormick Seminary.
Although I experienced a call to pastoral ministry in college, 20 years went by before I answered that call only after being fully convinced by the Holy Spirit, who, in infinite love and patience, overcame my objections. During that time I was equipped with a business education and experience in the corporate world through calls as an Executive Secretary in NYC, a Budget Analyst in Philadelphia, and an OperationsManager in Greensboro, NC.
In God’s economy, nothing is wasted; my first career in business provided me with many transferable administrative skills that I have drawn from and built upon in my 14 year ministry as Solo Pastor at Kanapaha Church in Gainesville, FL. While in this call, I have earned my doctorate, been blessed to be a member of a Macedonian Ministries cohort, and been heavily invested in service in the Presbytery of St. Augustine. Highlights include: serving as a Jamaica Mutual Mission Youth Trip leader and as the Chaplain for a Medical/ Dental Mission Trip; moderating the Planning & Feedback Team, Examinations Commission, and Presbytery and Worship Planning Committee; and, serving as an ordination exam reader and commissioner to the 2008 General Assembly. Most recently, I have been blessed to serve as a member of the Presbytery Council.
My husband, Kevin, and I have been married for 27 years and are the proud parents of two daughters: Emily (23) and Kate (21). We welcomed our son-in-“love,” John, into the family in June when he and Emily were married. Emily and John, both USF grads, live in Jacksonville, FL. Daughter Kate is a junior at the UF majoring in Construction Management, a degree inspired by her work through the Appalachia Service Project Mission Program.
As soon to be “empty-nesters,” Kevin and I give thanks to be starting our call to First Presbyterian in October, 2017. The area was one of our favorite vacation spots when our daughters were growing up. God was surely listening when we would dream of “one day” living in such a beautiful place offering many opportunities to do the things we love including biking, kayaking, and eating! We look forward to meeting new friends in ministry and becoming not only a part of the church and Presbytery of Tampa Bay, but also of the community of St. Petersburg. This call is an answer to prayer and we are grateful beyond words for this new chapter in our lives. Thanks be to God!
Click here for video of the Installation Service at First Presbyterian Church of St. Petersburg on December 3, 2017.