Meet our leadership
The Rev. Dr. Tony Collins - Senior Pastor
Our Senior Pastor is an ordained Elder in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. He was appointed to Burks UMC in 2016. Dr. Collins completed his undergraduate work at Georgia State University, his MDiv from Candler School of Theology of Emory University, and his DMin from Columbia Theological Seminary with honors in Sociology of Worship. Dr. Tony is a caring presence in our congregation and holds 2 CPE certifications in Pastoral Care. He is passionate about worship, sharing Gods love, and working with you in mission.
He leads both worship and pastoral administration at Burks UMC so you can interact with Dr. Tony all around the campus and community.
Contact Dr. Collins:
Rev. Leslie Daniels - Associate Pastor & Director of Student Ministries
Rev. Leslie Daniels, Associate Pastor, came to Burks UMC in July, 2022, having served both in the North Georgia and the Holston Conferences. Her original call to ministry was working in cross-cultural ministries, and later in life, to ordained ministry in the UMC. She attended Texas Woman’s University for a BS in Nursing, then Fuller Seminary for a MA in Cross-cultural studies, and finally Asbury Seminary for her MDiv.
Leslie’s passions in ministry include missions/outreach, preaching, and helping others grow in their faith/discipleship. Leslie is very proud of her 3 daughters: Shanna (married with 2 children), Annabelle (attending SMU), and Kaylee who is 15, is home-schooled and attends Hilger Higher Learning in Chattanooga.
Leslie’s hobbies include gardening, reading, caring for her chickens, and riding bikes with Kaylee.
One of Pastor Leslie's roles at Burks UMC is to work with a talented and dedicated team of volunteers to lead Burks Youth, who typically meet Sundays at 5 PM, but might be out bowling in the afternoon or helping the church seniors with technology. Have youth that might like to try out the group? Be sure to reach out to Pastor Leslie at the contact information below!
Contact Pastor Leslie:
Alex Harper - Director of Music Ministry
There are many ways to connect with music ministries at Burks! Ask Alex all about it:
Alex Harper, Director of Music ministries, earned his BA in Music Performance from Berry College, in Rome, Ga. Alex and wife, Sara, are blessed with energetic twins, Will and Claire. Sara works in administration at UTC, and Alex also gives private music lessons and performs in venues around East Tennessee. Formerly the director of student instruction at Guitar Center, you just might love your budding guitarist to take lessons from Alex! Apart from directing the Burks Chancel Choir and leading the Burks Band, Alex enjoys some picking on his own time with local performers in the genres of blues, Americana and Country music. Alex and Sara sometimes treat us by singing together in worship settings. Together as a family, they love to enjoy the local terrain, camping and hiking a lot.
Dylan Owens - Media Specialist
Skills or longing to join in media work at Burks? There is always a need for people who are interested in a fast-paced volunteer position! Connect with Dylan today:
Dylan Owens, Media Coordinator, earned his BS in business administration and classical guitar from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Having played in the Burks Band for several years on both acoustic and electric guitar, Dylan transitioned to the other side of the stage and handles sound, equipment, and projection at Burks. Apart from his day job as a project manager in business marketing, he also works in film productions out of Nashville, and performs both locally and in Nashville. He and his wife, Dacia, enjoy the outdoors, all things art and music, international travel, and chickens. They have a new kitten, which is enchanting them at the moment.
Brenda Hobbs - Office Manager
When you come through the door you will be warmly greeted and assisted by Brenda!
Brenda Hobbs, Office Manager, is a multitalented individual who is very familiar to the Burks Family. Brenda is a member of both the Chancel Choir and the Burks Band, and was formerly the Hostess at Burks. She was the owner/operator of Brenda’s Elegant Catering for about 20 years, and having retired from that business has moved into the Burks office with her welcoming smile and helpful manner. Brenda is on the Board of the Scenic City Chapter of the Sweet Adelines, and you can see her perform with them around the area. Married to Phillip Hobbs, he and Brenda share 4 adult children between them, and are also grandparents. They have an adorable little dog, Nugget, who keeps them company.
Come visit Brenda in the front office at Burks!
Brena Tosconi - Business Manager
Birth name: Brena L GiOtis (No middle name, just the letter!)
Brena was born and raised deep in the heart of Texas. If you hear her talking about “home,” she is talking about Texas! She moved to Tennessee in 2010 with Marriott Corporation, which provided her with a job and the place she met her husband, Jamie Toscani. They have 2 boys, Lexas and Jericho, and live in Soddy Daisy. Prior to Burks, she worked for First Horizon Bank for 6 1/2 years and was in and out of banking and finance since 2006. There is a lot more she would love to tell you about herself so feel free to stop by her office to have a chat. She would love to get to know you.
Laura Wilson - Child Development Coordinator
If you have children ages 5 and under, you need to see Laura Wilson! She is the Director of the Child Development Center (CDC) at Burks. She has been the Director since 2011 and before that was a Pre-K teacher for almost six years. Laura has an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Chattanooga State. She also has her Child Development Certificate from the Council for Professional Recognition Association, TN Early Program Administrator Credential from Tennessee State, and is certified from the Reggio Inspired Classrooms at UTK as well the National Association of the Education of Young Children. Laura has lived in Middle Valley her whole life and married her childhood sweetheart, Robert, at Burks! She and Robert have two sons, Robert and Nickolas, as well as several cat fur babies.