Rev. Dr. Bill Buchanan is the Executive Director for Youth Mission Co, parent organization of Asheville Youth Mission, which began and is housed in the FPC-A facility. Bill grew up in Raleigh, NC and has worked in churches in Virginia and North Carolina, particularly focusing on ministry with youth and mission. Bill has been a leader in many national conferences, including Faith In 3D, Montreat Youth Conferences, Massanetta Middle School Conferences, and the Presbyterian Youth Triennium. He is the father of two teenage children, and enjoys live music, barbecue, and watching college basketball. On Sunday mornings, Bill is often in worship at FPC-A at the 11 a.m. service.
North Carolina-native and former Executive Director of Asheville Poverty Initiative, Rev. Dr. Shannon Spencer is Director of Spiritual Life and Chaplain of the College at Warren Wilson. Before her time at Warren Wilson, she coached Division I basketball and was the Founder and Executive Director of Asheville Poverty Initiative and the 12 Baskets Cafe. She has a TedTalk and a documentary! Additionally, she has served as an interfaith chaplain at the Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women and served churches in Illinois, California, and North Carolina. Shannon holds a BS in Special Education from Appalachian State University, an M. Div. from Duke Divinity School, and a D. Min. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Shannon served as an adjunct pastor on the staff of FPC-A from 20162018.
The Reverend Paul Timothy Roberts Sr. is President of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA, a position he has held since the spring of 2010. Under Paul’s leadership, JCSTS has redefined itself—and is helping redefine theological education and expanding social justice understanding in the process. He is in demand nationally as a teacher and preacher and has been profiled in his alma mater’s publication, the Princeton University Alumni Weekly. His writings have been included in the Presbyterian Outlook Magazine, Journal for Preachers, Feasting on the Word (Westminster John Knox Press), and Pastoral Theology from a Global Perspective (Orbis Books). Recreationally, Paul enjoys hot yoga and gardening. He and his wife, Nina, have a daughter and two sons. In 2015, Paul preached every other week at FPCA during a time of pastoral transition and formed a lasting friendship with this congregation.
Merri Alexander is a retired minister member of Western North Carolina Presbytery and currently serves as the co-chair of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry. Most recently specializing in transitional ministry, Merri has served congregations in North Carolina and Tennessee as they journeyed through changes in pastoral leadership. Merri holds degrees from the Southeastern Center for Photographic Studies, St. Andrews University, and Union Presbyterian Seminary. Merri is an active participant at FPC-A, and when not helping a congregation through transition, she is usually in worship at 11 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Ted Wardlaw is President Emeritus of Austin Theological Presbyterian Seminary in Texas. He became the ninth president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in the fall of 2002, having come to the Seminary from the position of Pastor of Atlanta’s Central Presbyterian Church, a historic downtown congregation directly across the street from the Georgia Capitol. After retiring from Austin in 2022, Ted continues to contribute to a variety of journals, and serves as the editor of the Journal for Preachers. Ted is married to Dr. Kay Bryant, a clinical psychologist, they have two daughters, and they are often at their home in Montreat.
Rev. Dr. Lewis Galloway was born and raised in Columbia, SC. He is a graduate of Davidson College and Union Presbyterian Seminary. He is married to Rev. Dr. Eleanor (Bunny) Alexander who is also a Union graduate, a PCUSA Pastor, and a Pastoral Counselor. Lewis served as Senior Pastor at Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC for fourteen years before being led to serve as Senior Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. Lewis served Second Presbyterian for fourteen years before he and Bunny retired to Black Mountain, NC in July of 2018. Lewis currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Montreat Conference Center and has served on the boards of both Union Presbyterian Seminary and Davidson College. Lewis and Bunny are actively engaged at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, where Lewis is often a guest preacher and serves on the capital campaign committee and Bunny is actively involved in a prison ministry. They are the parents of three grown children and have two grandchildren.
The Rev. Dr. Margaret Torrence returns to FPC-A after an absence of eleven years, having served here as Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care between 2006 and 2012. As a PCUSA pastor, Margaret has served churches in New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida; most recently as Interim Pastor and Head of Staff at University Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill (20172019), and Interim Pastor and Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, Florida (2020-2022). She and her husband, Lee, remain grateful for the love the FPC-A community offered to their family during formative years. Their son, Nate (married to Luiza Mouzinho), now makes a home in the Boston area, where he is a psychotherapist. Their daughter, Hanna, lives in Chicago, where she serves as a senior data analyst. Lee and Margaret share a home in Swannanoa with Margaret’s parents, John and Olivia.