Meet our staff

Our Pastors

Senior Pastor

James H. Powell

James Powell, likes to be called “Jim” or “Pastor Jim” and has served as the Pastor of Palm West since February of 2019. Before that Jim served as Lead Pastor at Richwoods Christian Church in Peoria, Illinois for 21 years. Jim received his Masters’ Degree in Theology and Philosophy from Lincoln Christian Theological Seminary at Quincy University and was ordained by the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ in 1997 in Denver, Illinois.

Jim met his wife Stephanie through a youth group while in college. Stepanie, an educator now disabled, and Jim have two sons: Timothy, who is working and also attends college and Trevor, who will graduate from high school in 2022.

Outside of church Jim is an avid sports fan. He enjoys the swimming pool and playing golf. He also plays competitive pickleball and is a certified Pickleball Coach offering lessons in his spare time.

Brian Thomas

Associate Pastor – Pastoral Care
Brian Thomas joined the Palm West Pastoral Staff in early November of 2019 as the Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care. Brian is married to Cindy, and they have an adult daughter, Emma, and a teenage son, Luke.  Brian has served in a number of ministry roles through the years and is thrilled to now work alongside our Palm West church family.  

When not in the office, Brian can be found spending time with his family or exploring and trail-running the amazing back-country that Arizona has to offer.

Joe Place

Minister of Music and Media
Joe Place joined the Palm West Staff in January of 2022 as Minister of Music and Media.  Joe is a 5th generation Arizona native.  He has served churches in Arizona, California and Texas.  He is a graduate of the Church Music program at Grand Canyon University, and studied additionally at the University of Redlands, CA.  Joe is married to Debbie and they have three adult daughters.  Joe and Debbie met in the choral music program at Grand Canyon University.

Music - Administrative - Facilities

Gwendy Joysen

Director of Modern Worship
Gwendy Joysen is originally from the Greater Nashville area and has been involved in the professional music industry most of her life. She began writing songs at the age of nine, working on Music Row as a vocalist in her late teens and recording her own material in her early 20's. Now, as a seasoned recording artist, producer, vocalist, songwriter and musician, Gwendy also runs a publishing company and small Christian record label, developing upcoming Christian artists and songwriters. Over the years, Gwendy has been honored with the generous support & collaboration of top Nashville musicians and producers and had the privilege of opening for major acts and NYT best selling authors. However, this all pales in comparison to the great honor of serving as Director of Worship. Creating a transcendent worship experience for lovers of God is her heart's home and she is overjoyed to join the PWCC family. 

Jan Orrick Kliever

Jan Orrick Kliever began her ministry at Palm West on August 26, 2007. Jan  was married to Rev. Ken Kliever, former Associate Pastor at Palm West who passed in 2021. Jan received her B.A. in classical education with a secondary emphasis in piano performance from University of Northern Colorado. She went on to Bob Jones University where she earned a specialized diploma in evangelistic (sacred) piano. Jan has taught piano for over 50 years. Jan has a sweet servant’s spirit, recognizing in her early years that Go d had blessed her with a special gift. Jan accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior when she was 11 years old and states, “I have always felt the Lord gave me the talent, then asked me to give it back to Him as a ministry.”

Eunjae Park

Eunjae Park joined us as Organist in August of 2021.  Eunjae is from South Korea.  She studied at Oberlin Conservatory and, upon graduation moved to Arizona to study at Arizona State University.  She enjoys snowboarding, wakeboarding, Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) and skating.  She loves to travel and has visited 20 countries.

Joyce Sopilnick

Church Administrator
Joyce Sopilnick has served Palm West as Church Administrator since May of 2015. Joyce is from Long Island, New York and has lived in Arizona since 1999. She is married to her high school sweetheart; Richard and they have two daughters and six grandchildren. She enjoys walking, cooking and entertaining.

Peg Rideout

Connections Coordinator
Peg Rideout serves as the Connections Coordinator for Palm West. She and her husband, Tim Kurtz, arrived in Sun City West in 2021 after visiting Peg’s mom several times here and deciding it was a great place to live once they retired. Peg and Tim have four adult children and six grandchildren who reside in Indiana and North Carolina. Peg’s background is in education and she’s enjoyed serving in the local church for most of her adult life.

Besides traveling to see family and exploring the country, Peg enjoys reading, playing cards, puzzles, golf, bocce, Pilates, and getting to know people.

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