Say hello to the leadership team at Burks United Methodist Church

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. Dr. Tony 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. Elizabeth Sullivan - Associate Pastor

Beth is a Hixson, TN native and an Elder in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. Beth has an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She attended Candler School of Theology and received her Masters of Divinity in 2012. She is excited to be a part of the ministry at Burks UMC and is looking forward to seeing how she and Burks can grow in faith together.

Contact Rev. Beth:



Rev. Rachel Collins - Student Pastor

Rachel is our newest addition to the Reverend Team at Burks. She is a second year student at Candler School of Theology and is participating in the Teaching Parish Program. Rachel was Licensed as a Local Pastor in June of 2019 and is working to hone her skills in Pastoral Care, Worship Planning, Preaching and more! You can find her in the Ministry Garden out back or around town doing visitation.

Rachel also handles all things technical at Burks. She oversees media services such as sound projection and media marketing. Rachel brings 6 years of experience in media ministry. She is a graduate from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and is a Masters Candidate at Candler School of Theology pursing a Masters of Divinity .

Contact: Rev. Rachel

(423) 521-2388

Casandra Karl - Director of Youth Ministry

Casandra is the Director of Youth Ministry at Burks UMC. Casandra brings her background in historic antiquities into her depth of understanding of the Bible, and her playfulness as a mother of 3 into her lively and engaging youth ministry. Casandra holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Casandra is active and engaged with the youth of our church and community, and is a full time ministry staff member at Burks UMC. 

Contact Casandra:



Jessica Brackett - Director of Childrens Ministry

Jessica is the Director of Children’s Ministry, to which she brings much energy and joy! Children's Ministry at Burks is called JAM: Jesus and Me, and includes weekday and Sunday programming as well as special events. Jessica also works with our newest ministry, a rebirth of Young At Heart which is a ministry to Seniors. She holds a BS in Psychology and Family Studies from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. You can find Jessica nearby the happy chatter of children and folks of any age around her! (And certainly wherever there are crafts and fun!)

Contact Jessica:


Matt Kelly - Director of Music Ministry

Matt represents all things musical at Burks UMC. He directs the Chancel Choir, leads Burks Praise Team, supports the accessory music ministries such as on-line worship and Burks Handbells, as well as contributing to music for special occasions including VBS and Children’s Chapel for Burks CDC. Matt holds a Bachelor of Music in Church Music with an emphasis in instrumental music from Lee University, and teaches trumpet lessons as well as music lessons here at Burks. 

Contact Matt:


Bindy Lewis - Office Manager

When you come through the door you will be greeted warmly and assisted by Bindy. Always active and moving through tasks such as Helping Hands and Food Vouchers, paper publications, reservations, and being friendly! Bindy has a Bachelor's degree in Communications, which she puts to good use intersecting with those who have a need. Bindy enjoys hiking, riding bikes, knitting and cooking for her family. She is married to Jim and they have a family of three teenagers! Come to visit Bindy in the front office at Burks.

Contact Bindy:


Laura Wilson - Child Development Coordinator

If you have children ages 4 and under, you need to see Laura Wilson. She is the Director of the Child Development Center (CDC), Parents Morning Out Program, and Nursery here at Burks. She has been the Director since 2011 and before that was Pre-K teacher for almost six years. Laura has an Associate 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 National Association of the Education of Young Children. Laura has lived in Middle Valley her whole life and married her childhood sweetheart, Robert. She and Robert have two sons, Robert and Nickolas. And yes, Laura has three cat fur babies.

Contact Laura:



Brena Tosconi - Business Manager

Birth name Brena L GiOtis (No Middle Name just the letter) 

I was born and raised deep in the heart of Texas. If you hear me talking about “home” I am talking about Texas. I moved to Tennessee in 2010 with Marriott Corporation, a wonderful company that provided me with a job and also a place to meet my husband, Jamie Toscani. We have 2 boys Lexas and Jericho and we live in Soddy Daisy. Prior to Burks, I worked for First Tennessee Bank for 6 1/2 years and have been in and out of banking and finance since 2006. There is lots more I would love to tell you about myself so feel free to stop by my office and have a chat with me! I would love to get to know you too. 

Contact Brena Toscani