Leadership & Staff

Rev. Patrick W. T. Johnson

Pastor, Head of Staff

Email

pjohnson@fpcasheville.org

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Patrick has served as Pastor/Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Asheville since December, 2015, after serving congregations in Virginia, California, and New Jersey. Before coming to Asheville, he was a pastor for six years in New Jersey and adjunct faculty at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, and the book The Mission of Preaching: Equipping the Community for Faithful Witness. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Government) from the College of William and Mary, and a Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Philosophy in Practical Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.

His spouse, Caitlin, is also a PC(USA) minister serving part-time as a solo pastor at Oak Forest Presbyterian in Asheville. They live in North Asheville, with their four children, Isla, Luke, Claire, and Felicity. The family loves to spend time outside, and Patrick enjoys biking, hiking, and any time spent in the woodshop.

At FPCA, Patrick focuses on worship and preaching, strategic direction, leadership and stewardship development, pastoral care, and community involvement. The best way to reach him is by email at pjohnson@fpcasheville.org.

Rev. David Germer

Associate Pastor

Email

dgermer@fpcasheville.org

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David joined the FPCA staff in January of 2022, after spending most of his life back and forth between Texas and Washington state.  He received his Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary after working in several PC(USA) congregations in a variety of roles after graduating from Whitworth University in 2004.  David served as the Director of Christian Education at University Presbyterian Church from 2010 to 2018, and as the pastor of Packwood Community Presbyterian Church near Mount Rainier in Washington from 2018 to 2021.
David’s spouse, Tracy (another Whitworth grad), has spent time teaching in public elementary schools, leading church youth groups, producing children’s plays, and starting her own businesses. She is also an incredible mother to their three children (whom she homeschooled for many years) – Josiah, Titus, and Naomi (who collectively cover an 11-year age range).
David is passionate about the good news of Jesus (and sharing it with others in ways that help others live into it and become more like Jesus), the Bible, movies and stories that shape us, and enjoyment of creation and beauty and physical activity.
David loves to teach and preach, and he is delighted to share ministry with incredible colleagues, allowing him to focus much of his energy at FPC on mission (with a particular interest in local/community engagement) and on ministry with youth and their families and with young adults.

The best way to reach him is at dgermer@fpcasheville.org.

Rev. Shannon Jordan

Associate Pastor

Email

sjordan@fpcasheville.org

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Shannon joined our staff in January of 2022, after serving at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Decatur, AL, where she was a solo pastor. Before that, she served in several director positions at Vienna Presbyterian Church in Vienna, VA.  She received her Master of Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.

At FPCA, Shannon focuses on adult faith formation, children and their families, congregational life, and congregational care.

Shannon met her husband, John,  at Vanderbilt.  Shannon and John have two adult children.  Stephen lives in San Francisco. Anna, her husband Gabe, and their son, James, live in Winston-Salem. For fun Shannon and John like taking walks with their dog, Ozzy, and exploring Asheville and the surrounding areas. John enjoys golf and Shannon enjoys photographing God’s world.

The best way to reach Shannon is by email at sjordan@fpcasheville.org.

Nancy McNeill

Director of Engagement

Email

nmcneill@fpcasheville.org

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Nancy began her work at FPCA in 1998 as Coordinator of Children’s Ministries and later added responsibilities for adult educational ministry as Director of Faith Development. She is very grateful to be back part-time on staff after an extended medical leave. Nancy and her husband Paul have been active members of FPCA since 1996. They cherish family time with their children: Aimee and husband Brady, Alex and wife Nicole, who live here in Asheville; and son Chase and wife Anna, who live in Los Angeles, and whose visits are less frequent, but equally precious. Nancy likes to hike, cook, work on home projects, or enjoy the beauty of the mountains from their back deck.

At FPCA, Nancy’s current role involves welcoming and engaging visitors, new members, and members in the life and ministry of FPCA through mission, faith formation, and congregational life. The best way to reach her is nmcneill@fpcasheville.org or 828-242-5774.

Anita Sayles

Administrative Assistant

Email

asayles@fpcasheville.org

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Anita began work at FPCA on July 15th, of 2019 after serving for decades as a minister, trainer, and educator in Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Texas, Missouri, and now North Carolina. A graduate of Agnes Scott College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Anita has published curriculum and created punny skits, dinner theatres, and musical programs.

Her husband Guy has served over 40 years as senior pastor, most recently at First Baptist Church, Asheville; he is as a consultant, coach, and speaker/preacher in semi-retirement. They share the lives of their adult children, Amanda and Eliot, and their home with dog Ellington. Anita sings, reads, enjoys friends, and often counts down the weeks until she can soak both her toes and soul in the Atlantic.

At FPCA, she assists Patrick and Robyn, wrangles the church calendar, and manages our database; she helps with publications and administration. The best way to reach her is at asayles@fpcasheville.org or 828-216-6591.

Jeremy Roberts

Director of Music, Organist

Email

jroberts@fpcasheville.org

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Jeremy has been at FPCA since August of 2016. He holds a Bachelor of Music and Religion from Grove City College and a Master of Arts in Church Music from Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Prior to joining the staff at FPCA, Jeremy served Presbyterian, Lutheran, and United Church of Christ congregations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

He also maintains a private piano studio and has worked as music director for a youth theater company in Ohio. Jeremy can often be heard as a recitalist around the region and has been a presenter for events hosted by the American Guild of Organists, Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and Presbyterian Association of Musicians. He will be the organ contributor for PCUSA’s 2021/2022 Call to Worship Lectionary Aids Edition.

Jeremy enjoys cooking, reading (especially poetry and memoirs), art, meaningful conversations, cultivating imaginative living, a good cup of tea, and hiking with his Great Dane-Coonhound mix, Rupert. At FPCA, Jeremy is responsible for planning worship in collaboration with the pastors and for overseeing the music program which includes four vocal choirs and periodic instrumental and bell groups. The best way to reach him is at jroberts@fpcasheville.org.

Liz Thurston

Church Administrator

Email

lthurston@fpcasheville.org

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Liz is the newest member of the FPCA staff, starting her role as Church Administrator in June 2021.  A native North Carolinian who grew up in Greensboro and in the Presbyterian Church, Liz had a long career in higher education administration.  Prior to moving to Asheville at the end of 2018, she was the Director of Student Affairs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education for over twelve years.   She also held positions at Greensboro College, Peace College, Midway College in Kentucky, and the Graduate School of UNC-Chapel Hill before moving up North to Boston.  While in Asheville, Liz served as the Administrative Manager for the Asheville Census Office for Western North Carolina. 

 Liz loved her time in New England where she fell in love with the Boston Red Sox!  However, she always knew Asheville would be home which she shares with her family: Karla, her wife, their two rescue dogs – Cooper and Zeke, and their calico princess Sophie. Karla is the head pastor at First Congregational Church UCC in Hendersonville. Liz is an avid sports fan, loves to travel, and to spend time outdoors, doing just about anything. 

 At FPCA, Liz is responsible for the financial and business operations of the church, donor records and giving, as well as facilities management, communications, and information technology.  Liz manages the support personnel to ensure work is well-coordinated and supportive of the church’s ministry and the work of other staff. 

 Liz is very happy to be at First Presbyterian Church Asheville and looks forward to meeting and working with all members of the Church.  

The best way to reach Liz is to email lthurston@fpcasheville.org or to call her at the church at 828-253-1431 ext 117

Kim Thomas

Choir Assistant

Rieley Bennett

Sexton

Email

rbennett@fpcasheville.org

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Rieley came to FPCA in December of 2018, after he retired as a Firefighter/ Paramedic and Emergency Manager from a local fire department and hospital. You can find him throughout the church and grounds on any given day. He and his wife Eva have three adult daughters: Mary, Martha, and Madeline.

Rieley continues to volunteer at a local fire department, hikes, and works a tractor in the neighborhood, sharing stories and humor as he goes. At FPCA, Rieley is the Sexton, where he keeps the church building and grounds safe and functional for all ministries. The best way to reach him is at rbennett@fpcasheville.org.

Mary Beth Asher

Communications Assistant

Email

masher@fpcasheville.org

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Mary Beth Asher started working for the First Presbyterian Church of Asheville in December of 2011. Her first cleaning job, in 1990, was for Grove Park Inn, and she worked in many other jobs before starting her own cleaning business, Life Maid Easy. After she began cleaning Georgia Lodge for Wayne and Angela Drummond, Sally Campbell Lodge soon joined her list of jobs.

When she began work as FPCA’s part-time housekeeper, she kept cleaning houses with her business partner Michelle. Now working full-time at the church, Mary Beth is single and resides with her mother and adult daughter. She enjoys taking care of her home, her mother, and her Etsy shop, PlanninginBlueJeans.

At FPCA, Mary Beth is now the Communications Assistant, she makes the bulletin, helps add the words to the worship service, and makes changes to the website she can be reached at masher@fpcasheville.org.

Eve Bennett

Hospitality

Email

ebennett@fpcasheville.org

Sky Trice

Nursery Supervisor

Session

First Presbyterian Church is governed by a session, which is comprised of ruling elders elected and installed by the congregation and pastors.

The role of the Session is to govern the congregation and guide its witness to the sovereign activity of God in the world, so that the congregation is and becomes a community of faith, hope, love, and witness.

The Session is made up of three classes, with members serving three year terms.

Deacons

First Presbyterian Church has a Deacon team that supports the Session in a variety of caregiving roles, with emphasis on Congregational Care, Bereavement, New Members, and Prayer. 

The Deacon teams are lead by Deacons but anyone can participate in the variety of care options. If this is an area that interests you, please reach out to Rev. Shannon Jordan

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