Pastors Elliott & Mary Jo
Pastor Elliot: I was born, in Port Jervis, NY, to Rose and Herbert Blake, when I was two years old they divorced, later Mom remarried and I was adopted by Donald T. Oakes. We moved many times because Mom and Dad were transferred from Port Jervis to Newburgh and then to Poughkeepsie. I graduated from Newburgh Free Academy 1962 and went to work in The Newburgh Police Department as a new police cadet. I attended Orange County Community College and then transferred to Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa where I received my BA in Philosophy and Religion with a minor in science. That was 1967. I attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary from 1967-1969 at which time I was drafted, instead I entered the United States Navy until 1973.
I was saved at the age of 13 in St. George’s Episcopal Church in Newburgh, New York. Then in 1980, I renewed my salvation and baptism in an outdoor pool at a church picnic through The First Assembly Church of Tempe, Arizona.
After the Navy I entered Emory University, Candler School of Theology and graduated in 1976 with a Masters of Divinity Degree in New Testament Studies and Clinical Pastoral Care. That degree included an internship at The Georgia Mental Health facility in Atlanta Georgia and a residency at The Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children in Atlanta, Georgia.
During this graduate work time, I joined the North Georgia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. I served The Eastland Road United Methodist Church as their Director of Music. That was a three year appointment. In 1974 I joined the United States Naval Chaplains Corps as a Theological Student Programs Officer. This lasted until 1984.
My appointment after graduation in 1975 was to The Blairsville Parish in the North Georgia Mountains. Sadly I went through a divorce and moved to Tempe, Arizona where I married Margie Cheeks, we had two children, and I worked at The Car Graph Company as their Maintenance Machinist and Company Chaplain from 1978 through 1987. In 1988, we moved to Treadwell, New York where I became pastor of the Treadwell Parish in the New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. I served there nine years then moved to The Stamford United Methodist Church for four years and then to The Prattsville United Methodist Church until 2011. In March that year Margie passed into heaven. I retired from full-time service and was assigned to The Jefferson/Brimstone churches, part-time, for the next three years. While in my first year there I married Mary J. Hitchcock. I again retired from that parish after the third year there.
Currently, I have been serving for 20 years as Police Chaplain in The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Police Chaplain for The Department of Environmental Protection Police and Deputy Fire Coordinator for the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services. My wife MaryJo and I are now the Senior Pastors of Mountaintop Christian Fellowship in Bloomville, New York where Al and Shelly Vamosy served as the founding pastors from 2007 until 2018 when they entered full-time mission work and moved to Florida.