Meet the Ministers

DEL portrait 2019
The Rev. Dr. David Eugene Leininger is a child of the Presbyterian manse, the son of the late Rev. Milton N. Leininger and wife Rosalind. He was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in October, 1944 where his father served the Chelsea Presbyterian Church for seven years. The family moved to Baltimore, Maryland upon the elder Leininger’s call to the Abbott Memorial Presbyterian Church, a pulpit he served for the last 28 years of his life.David was educated in the Baltimore City Public Schools and was awarded a BA in Humanities from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, NJ. His professional degrees include the Master of Divinity from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC (1984), and the Doctor of Ministry from Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, SC (1987).

A successful career in Radio and Television preceded his answering the call to ministry. He worked for stations in Baltimore and Washington before moving to Hilton Head Island, SC in 1973 to establish a new station there. Seminary beckoned in 1981 along with a concurrent call to serve the congregation of the Liberty Hill Presbyterian Church in a tiny community about an hour north of the seminary in Columbia where he and his young family remained until graduation and a call to the Oakdale Presbyterian Church in Clover, SC. David has since served congregations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He officially retired from active ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2008.

2k year old preacher

David is the author of a number of published articles and sermons and his work regularly appears on internet preaching sites such as,, SermonSuite,, etc. He is also the author of seven books, the most recent of which is The 2,000 Year Old Preacher: 21st Century Sermons on 1st Century Texts, a series of messages based on the gospel lessons to begin Year B of the Revised Common Lectionary. Others include A Colorblind Church, the story of the intriguing events that unfolded in the lives of two small congregations – one black, one white – in Liberty Hill following the reunion of the northern and southern streams of the Presbyterian Church in 1983. God of Justice: a look at the Ten Commandments in the 21st Century grew out of a sermon series preached in First Presbyterian Church, Warren, PA. As We Believe, So We Behave: The Apostles’ Creed and the Christian Life is another book that was inspired by a sermon series there. Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit is a three-volume preaching resource that is primarily for those who preach from week to week. All the books are published by CSS Publishing of Lima, OH and are available on the Leininger’s website.

Heritage AnnouncerOn Hilton Head Island, David has experienced an unexpected demand for his pastoral services as an officiant for many destination weddings and has enjoyed getting to meet folks from all over the country as a result. He is President of the Sea Pines Men’s Club, a social organization which offers various events and activities through the year. His church involvement is with the St. Andrew by the Sea United Methodist Church where he was the regular soloist and liturgist prior to going to seminary and where good friend and seminary classmate, Neil Yongue (see below), served as pastor. He teaches the occasional special series and from time to time fills the pulpit. The photograph at right shows him in his uniform as public address announcer at the Harbourtown Golf Links for the annual PGA Tour stop each spring, the RBC Heritage.

Speaking of weddings on Hilton Head Island, David and his wife, the former Christie Alison Eaton, were married here in 1978. They are the parents of a grown son and daughter, and the grandparents of four.

golf course wedding

Imogene and Neil YongueReverend Neil M. Yongue Jr. was born February 21, 1954 in Big Spring Texas. Son of native South Carolinians he grew up on the coast. A few years and a variety of pursuits later he entered ministry in the United Methodist Church. Neil is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary where he and Dr. Leininger were classmates. He has spent his career in South Carolina serving churches all over the state.

Pastor Yongue is married to Imogene, with whom he is father of three children. They are additionally blessed with eight grandchildren! He served as pastor of Hilton Head Island’s Saint Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church for 14 years until his recent retirement and is blessed to live in paradise! Call Neil at 843-290-4073.

Dr. John M. Miller was born in Dixon, Illinois and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin where his family relocated when he was twelve years of age. As could have been predicted, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Upon completion of a degree in history John began his study for the ministry which had been his vocational choice since the fifth grade. Midway in his studies at the McCormick Theology Seminary in Chicago, he took his second year of seminary studies in Glasgow, Scotland. Ultimately he received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. Dr. Miller served as resident minister in two churches in the upper Midwest and one along the Eastern seaboard before being called to the ministry at The First Presbyterian Church of Hilton Head Island in 1979, where he preached for seventeen years. He is currently the pastor of Hilton Head’s Chapel without Walls.

He has written and published six books including The Irony of Christianity: A Pastor’s Appeal for a Higher Theology and a Lower Christology, which was published by The Institute for Religion in 2002. His writings reflect the constantly evolving process of his “trying to get things right”. He has said of himself, “I enjoy writing sermons more than preaching them.” Many find that hard to believe, for his spoken words filled with historic perspective, personal values and command of languages give expression and meaning to his riveting presentations.

In recognition of his many community activities, John received the Hilton Head Island Citizen of the Year Award in 1989. He has also planned and conducted many tours abroad, including the Oberammergau Passion Play in Bavaria, Germany and other European destinations. Only Israel with its historic orientation in the monotheistic religions keeps bringing him back; he has conducted many tours there. John regularly teaches courses at Lifelong Learning of Hilton Head Island and in the University of South Carolina’s Osher Program. And of course, his passion for research and writing sermons is forever in progress. Call John at 843-290-0500.