Our Staff

David Wehrle, Pastor

mobile: (201) 972-5279
office:   (201) 944-2970

David, Janet, Nate, Gabe, and Elliot Wehrle

David, his wife Janet, and their three sons, Gabe, Elliot and Nate, moved to Leonia in June of 2011. David is the son of a United Methodist minister and an entrepreneur/teacher. He graduated from Ridgewood High School in Bergen County. He holds the BA in Biblical Literature from Taylor University (Upland, IN), the MDiv with an emphasis in missions from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA). In 1997, David was selected as a Beeson Pastor and spent one year in residence at Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, KY). David is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and a member of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.

Before serving as pastor of Leonia United Methodist Church, David served as Youth and Christian Education Director at a multi-staff church, as a missionary to Soviet Ukraine and independent Russia, as manager of tech support and engineering at a private software firm, as pastor of First United Methodist Church (Mount Ephraim, NJ), and David started TRINITY United Methodist Church (Garner, NC).

In addition to serving as pastor of Leonia Church, David serves on the GNJ Conference Council on Youth Ministries; he is a Circuit Elder on the Palisades District; he is Registrar of the Palisades District Board of Church Location and Building; and he serves the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference as an official mentor to both candidates for ordained ministry and not-yet-ordained clergy.

David is especially interested in contemporary worship forms, missions, small group discipleship, work with youth and young adults, mentoring, building community, music and technology. He enjoys playing guitar, cycling, basketball, hiking, travel, reading and spending time with his family. (He is rumored to be an Army Football, New York Jets, Knicks, and Yankees fan.)

Sung Woo “Aiden” Lee,
Associate Pastor

mobile:  (646) 580-0507
office:    (201) 429-9610

Sung Woo Lee and Ji Sun Yang
Aiden and Ji Sun

Sung Woo and his wife, Ji Sun, moved to Leonia in February of 2011 and began attending Leonia United Methodist Church. In October of 2012, Sung Woo became our Seminary Intern. He served as our church office administrator and as a ministry assistant to Pastor Wehrle. In September of 2015, he became the Director of Student Ministries and Worship. In July of 2016, Sung Woo was appointed Associate Pastor of Leonia United Methodist Church and Senior Pastor of Waldwick United Methodist Church. Sung Woo is involved in a little bit of everything, but takes lead responsibility for student ministries, young adult ministries, and new worship services.

Sung Woo holds the Bachelors of Theology from Methodist Theological University (Seoul, Korea), the M.Div from Drew Theological School (Madison, NJ). Before coming to Leonia United Methodist Church, he served in the Korean Army for two years, and was on the staff of Yulrim Korean Methodist Church (Seoul, Korea) for several years.

Sung Woo is especially interested in worship and worship arts, praise, student and young adult ministry, music, movies, sports (squash, ping pong, and bowling), and photography. Sung Woo plays a mean ocarina.

Soyeon Park, Director of Music

mobile:  (201) 741-4887
office:  (201) 944-2970

Tim Lerner-Lam and Soyeon Park
Tim Lerner-Lam and Soyeon Park

Soyeon Park has been serving Leonia United Methodist Church for several years. She leads our choir, coordinates various instrumental ensembles, and plays piano and organ for worship and other program. (Her supportive husband, Tim, also attends worship at Leonia UMC when he is not flying around the country as a professional pilot.)

Soyeon has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, Romania, Italy, Czech Republic, China and Korea.  She appeared on the stages of the La Villa D’este in Tivoli, Italy, Auditorium Camera Di Commercio and Cattedrale di Giarre in Sicily, Italy, Brevnov Monastery and Bertramka (the Mozart Museum) in Prague, Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, The Bravo Club in Beijing, China, Sejong Arts Center in Seoul, Korea, Banff Center Concert Hall in Alberta, Canada, Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Steinway Hall, The Yamaha Salon, The Kosciuszko Foundation, and Weill hall at the Carnegie Hall in New York.

As a young artist, she won many awards from various competitions and auditions including ARTS (Arts Recognition and Talent Search) by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, The Prague International Piano Festival Competition, Heida Hermann International Competition, Wideman Piano Competition and the Corpus Christi International Competition.  Soyeon has participated in master classes with many renowned pianists, including Alexander Kobrin, Julian Martin, Robert McDonald, Ann Schein, Ian Hobson, Jerome Lowenthal, Tamás Vásáry, Ivan Moravec, and Menahem Pressler.

Soyeon is a passionate teacher.  Recently, she served as an associate faculty member at the Center for Musical Excellence, and taught master classes at International Piano Academy in Beijing and the New York Piano Festival.

Soyeon received her Bachelor and Master Degrees from Manhattan School of Music and is a Teaching Fellow in the Doctoral program.  She is recipient of the Svend Svendsen and Margarethe Svendsen Scholarship and the President’s Award.  Soyeon is honored to study under the tutelage of renowned pianist and pedagogue, Zenon Fishbein.


Yevgeniya Przhebelskaya, Administrative  Assistant

Email: Yevgeniya@Leonia.Church
phone:  (201) 944-2970

me and jerry

Yevgeniya visited Leonia Church soon after hurricane Sandy in 2012, and started working here in April of 2014. Her daily tasks include print and email communication, scheduling worship servants for various tasks on Sunday morning, advertising church programs in local papers and online platforms, and other administrative support to the pastoral and ministry leaders.  Yevgeniya loves inviting people to ministry programs at Leonia Church, and she is always thinking about creative ways of reaching people.

Yevgeniya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing from CUNY Baccalaureate Program and a  Masters’ degree in Childhood Education from  Hunter College, CUNY.   Before working as an Administrative Assistant at Leonia Church,  Yevgeniya taught Critical Thinking as an Adjunct Instructor at LaGuardia Community College and advised freshman and continuing students in the Office of Academic Advising and Financial Aid.

Yevgeniya lives in Leonia with her husband Dr. Jerry G. Ianni.  They have been married since 2007, and have they been a part of many ministry projects together.  Currently Yevgeniya and Jerry serve as  co-organizers for the Conversational English Program at the International Students Inc Westside Fellowship . For the last two years, Yevgeniya and Jerry have become caregivers to Jerry’s father Vincent. They draw on that experience to co-facilitate caregiver support group at Leonia Church.