Pastor Gayle Nelson was born in Jacksonville, FL and grew up between Tampa and Key West.  She graduated from Brandon High School in 1974 and Chaminade University of Honolulu in 1982.  Gayle earned a graduate degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC in Divinity in 2021. 

Pastor Gayle Nelson first felt a call to ministry when she was five years old, however did not recognize it as such.  When she was 16, the call became more pronounced, however not knowing what to do with it, she went to college and then entered the US Army.  When she left the Army, she became a police officer in Broward County, FL.  It was during this time that her call became clearer as she was made unofficial chaplain of the department.  She left the police department to attend seminary in 1993. 

When she became pregnant with quintuplets in 1996, she took a leave of absence from seminary to raise her children.  When her children were grown and on their own, she served as a missionary in Japan where she taught Japanese students at Luther High School and served as a lay pastor for the International Service.  The call to ministry became stronger while in Japan.  After completing her time as a missionary and returning to the US, she entered seminary to complete her education.  She began her formal ministry at Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church where she served as vicar in West Columbia, SC from August 2020 to August 2021.

Pastor Gayle Nelson enjoys helping to link God’s people to each other and to God’s word in deep ways.   Whether it be through one-on-one conversations, fellowship during group meals, Bible Study, sermons, devotions, or any other activity, she loves equipping people for service to God using the talents God has given them in ways that make their hearts sing.  She believes each one of God’s children is deserving of kindness, love, and respect.  She is passionate about helping all God’s children understand the unfathomable love God has for each and every person regardless of who they are because of whose they are.

Pastor Gayle Nelson has five children – Naomi, Lilith, Koda, Seth, and Arielle.  Four of them live in different parts of Florida and one lives in New York.  Though quintuplets, each of the five are very different from the others which keeps her hopping trying to remember which one likes this or that!  She has one granddaughter, Savannah, who was born while she was in Japan.  Pastor Gayle has been enjoying playing catch up with her and learning more and more about her.  Growing up near the water, she loves the beach but is equally passionate about forests.  She loves outdoor activities, especially cycling, canoeing, and hiking.  She also enjoys gardening and canning healthy foods.  She has two cats, Penelope, and Oliver, and one dog, Kenai.