Church Staff


The Rev. Beverly Dempsey is the Interim/Transitional Pastor of Highlands United Presbyterian Church. She came to HUPCJax following the tragic passing of The Rev. Dr. David Lee, Highland’s 24-year pastor who died of cancer in January 2021. ­

Rev. Bev has a passion for glorifying God through a life of worship, justice, service and gratitude. She believes that each one of us is equally essential to God’s creation and that each of us is called to ways of being that continually expand the boundaries of hope for all people. Of her first few weeks at HUPCJax, she says she was stunned to learn that the congregation contributes 22% of its tithes and offerings to mission!


Rev. Bev enjoys just about anything that takes her outside – especially what she called “summer sports” before moving to Florida with her husband Joe, their youngest son and daughter (Owen and Caitlin), and their two annoying mini-dachshunds. Beverly’s three adult stepchildren, Brian, Carolyn and Tom (Nicole), will plan to travel south to enjoy the sun, links, and ocean as often as their professional lives allow.

Prior to joining Highlands, Beverly was Senior Pastor and Head of Staff of Avenue Church NYC. (She continues to Chair the Board of Trustees of the Urban Outreach Center NYC.) She has also served as interim pastor for Western Presbyterian Church (Washington, DC), transitional pastor for First Presbyterian Church (Ramsey, NJ) and West Side Presbyterian Church (Ridgewood, NJ).


Beverly earned her BA in Economics from Goucher College (1985) and her MBA from the University of Minnesota (2001) before being called to ministry. She earned her Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in NYC (2004) and is completing the final phase of her Doctor of Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. 

Rev. Dempsey is so pleased to have been invited to serve this faithful congregation of Christians during their transitional period and looks forward to a fulfilling experience here.

Anneliese Robbins,
Church Administrator


Anneliese has served as our Church Administrator since 2015.

Anneliese and her husband, Alan, have two adult children. They have been members at Highlands for over 20 years.

Anneliese enjoys spending time with her family and making delicious desserts at Logos each Wednesday!

Gibson Dixon,
Director of Music 


Gibson has served Highlands as our Director of Music since 2006. 


Gibson is a skilled musician.  He takes great pride in leading our Adult Choir and Children's Choirs, as well as participating in our Handbell Choir.  

Anna Serrano
Director- Highlands Precious Gifts Preschool

Before becoming our Director, Ms. Anna spent several years as both a teacher and the Assistant Director at HPGP.  She is a wife and the mother of two beautiful children. Anna loves teaching children of all ages and continues to share this joy as our music teacher.  She feels God has placed her where He wants her to be in both her career and home life.  

Pastor David Lee.jpg

Dr. David Lee:  After serving two pastorates in North Carolina, his home state, "Dr. Dave" was called to be the Sr. Pastor of Highlands in November 1996. Dr. Dave attended Atlantic Christian College (now Barton) and Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, graduating in 1981 with his Doctor of Ministry.

Dr. Dave is married to Susan Byrne Lee and their household is completed by their standard poodle, Samson. They enjoy travel, local eateries and music, and life with the wonderful people of Highlands. Dr. Dave is an avid reader and a collector of 'nativity scenes' from around the world.


Dr. Dave's ministry at Highlands is one of involvement in the lives of the membership as they worship, play, pray, and serve in the local community and in the world. His favorite moments at Highlands are spent watching children grow, youth experiencing faith, families finding expression of their life in the church, older members sharing the depth of their faith, and as the whole church gathers in worship.

Church Leaders

Highlands is lead by Elders that make up the Session. These individuals are " chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Ruling elders, together with ministers of word and sacrament, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships.” - Book of Order (G-2.0301)

Class of 2022

Nancy Marsh
Member Care - Moderator
Betty Stewart
Church Growth - Moderator
Bonnie Vanderberg
Mission - Moderator
Clara Whitaker
Fellowship - Moderator

Class of 2023

David Bauerlein
Christian Nurture - Moderator
Nancy Hart
Preschool Advisory - Moderator
Alan Robbins
Worship - Moderator
Tom Sweeney
Building & Grounds - Moderator

Class of 2024

Candy Cole
Audrey Regnier
Christian Nurture
Chad Sambito
Resources & Mgmt - Moderator
Donna Wilson
Our church committees are always looking for people to join us in serving the church and community.