About Our Deacon
The Rev. Melissa M. Sands

Deacon Melissa began her ministry with St. Paul’s Wesley Chapel on January 28, 2024. Deacon Melissa was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida in June, 2006. She has served as Deacon at Calvary Episcopal Church in Indian Rocks Beach, FL and at Resurrection Episcopal Church (another mission church) in Largo, FL. Prior to ordination, Deacon Melissa was a parishioner at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, in St. Petersburg, FL, where she served as a Lector, Eucharistic Minister and instructor. Deacon Melissa is a Safeguarding on line administrator for the Diocese of Southwest Florida, has taught pastoral care in the diocesan Deacon formation program and attended Cursillo. She loves Anglican liturgy and music, and really can’t imagine being in any other denomination.

She is a native of Texas, and was baptized and confirmed at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Houston. Deacon Melissa moved to Florida to attend graduate school at the University of South Florida, where she earned a Master’s degree in Clinical and Health Psychology. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Her secular career, which she also sees as a calling and ministry, is with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Her clinical work was with patients who have addiction issues and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In recent years, she has focused on Health Informatics at a national level, supporting VA clinical and administrative staff in sharing patient health information. She works full time.

Deacon Melissa has been married to Greg Wesley Donham since 1980. They recently moved to Wesley Chapel from Pinellas County. Her hobbies include reading (mostly mysteries, history and historical fiction) and genealogy. Deacon Melissa enjoys walking in nature and bird watching. She has started playing Bocce again after not playing the game since college.