Pastor John White
Pastor John White joined the staff as Pastor in January of 2003. Prior to serving First Presbyterian Church, John was Pastor at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, South Carolina.
John is a graduate of Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, and of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He is married to the former Susannah Gordon of Spartanburg, South Carolina, and together they have four children and one granddaughter. John is an avid sports fan and enjoys reading, bicycling, hiking, and all kinds of outdoor activities. He also enjoys archeology and history, particularly Civil War history.
Associate Pastor for Youth Courtney Bowen
Pastor Courtney Bowen joined the staff as Associate Pastor for Youth in January of 2020. She graduated from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2018 and served as Pastor for the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Elizabeth, IN. While in seminary, she served for three years as Student Pastor for First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville, IN, primarily focusing on families, young adults, youth and children. She has also worked as a Chaplain Intern in the Trauma Center at the University of Louisville Hospital. Courtney is originally from Birmingham, AL. She enjoys hiking, knitting, and is an avid reader. She and her husband, Lane, have two children.
Ceil Cowles, Director of Congregational Life
Ceil Alexander Cowles joined the staff in August 2008 as the Director of Congregational Life with the primary responsibility for visitors and new members. Ceil graduated from Rhodes College and received a Masters from the University of Memphis. Ceil comes from a long-standing family history at FPC having been born to parents and grandparents who attended First Presbyterian Church. She was baptized, confirmed and grew up at FPC. Ceil was married here in 1992 to Ty Cowles and they happily raised their 2 children at First Presbyterian.
Libby Smith, Children’s Ministry Director
Libby Marcom Smith joined our Staff as the Children’s Ministries Director in July 2012. She has her Bachelors in Elementary Education and a Masters in Special Education. She retired from teaching elementary students after 30 years.
Libby thoroughly enjoys working with the children ages birth-5th grade at First Presbyterian Church. She has two sons and daughters-in-law as well as four grandsons who are also members of FPC.
Laura Byrd, Director of BLAST Learning (K-5th grade)
Laura Byrd joined the staff at First Presbyterian Church in 2016. She has been working with children and youth for over 10 years. Laura has a Bachelors in Education and a minor in Music from The University of Mississippi. In college, she enjoyed studying English, Vocal Performance, and singing in various choirs and ensembles. Laura and her husband, Bryan, have 2 children and are active members of First Presbyterian Church.
Molly Richardson, Interim Youth Director
Molly Richardson joined the FPC Staff as the interim Youth director in December 2016. Molly has a degree in Child Development from the University of Tennessee- Knoxville, Early Childhood Education from Trevecca Nazarene University and English as a Second Language from UT- Chattanooga. Molly and her husband, Wesley, have 2 children. Molly has been active with the youth for many years and loves working and watching the Holy Spirit grow in their lives.
Helen Redding, Director of Music
Helen Redding retired after 30 years of teaching vocal music in public high school. She and her family have lived in Jackson since 1990. Helen began teaching at Jackson Central-Merry High School and then became the vocal music teacher at Madison Academic Magnet High School.
Helen has been an organist and musician for many churches and is now serving as Director of Music for FPC since 2015. She and her husband, Bob, have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.
Dr. Terry McRoberts, Organist
Terry McRoberts is professor of music at Union University, where he teaches piano, organ, and related courses. Prior to moving to Jackson, he taught at Blue Mountain College in Mississippi, and has served as a church organist for thirty years. He holds degrees from Ball State University, Youngstown State University, and Manchester University. He has served as president of various professional organizations, and enjoys reading, walking, and traveling in his spare time.
Ellen McClune, Director of Children’s Choir (Age 3-PreK)
Ellen McClune has been the Director of Children’s Choir (Age 3 – PreK) since 2014. She is from Maryville, Tennessee and attended Maryville College where she majored in music education. She received her Masters at UT Knoxville in Deaf Education. She has lived in Jackson and taught elementary music in the Jackson-Madison County School system for 41 years.
Lindsey Patterson, Director of Children’s Choir (Age K – 5th Grade)
Emily Morrow, Administrative Assistant to the Pastor
Emily Morrow graduated from MTSU in 1998 with her Bachelor of Science in Communications and Journalism. She has been a visual journalist and illustrator for most of her career, working for various newspapers, magazines and websites across the country. Emily, and her husband Josh, have been married for 22 years. They have a 12 year old son, Henry, who is in middle school at Jackson Christian. They recently moved to Jackson from Middle Tennessee. She is excited to be part of the First Presbyterian staff!
Machelle Daniel-Hall, Financial and Educational Secretary
Machelle Daniel-Hall began working at First Presbyterian Church in February 2019. She was born and raised in Chester County. Machelle has two sons, Tyler and Cody who are both attending college in Oklahoma. She enjoys playing with her two dogs, Nico and Mia. Machelle also spends her free time reading, traveling, and volunteering with her service dog (Nico). She also works on the weekends at her family’s restaurant, Snookum’s.
Tamara Haynes, Custodian
Tamara Haynes has been on staff at First Presbyterian Church since 1985 when she began working as a nursery worker and then in 2001 Tamara became the church custodian, Tamara views her role as custodian as a way of providing a clean and welcoming facility for all of the members and guests of First Presbyterian Church.
Ernie Wilson, Maintenance
Ernie Wilson joined First Presbyterian Church in 2006 as is our “Facilities Maintenance” guy, aka “Mr. Fix It”. Ernie works closely with the staff and the Property Committee to keep our facilities in good working order.
Stephanie Swims, Playschool Director
Stephanie Swims joined FPC Playschool after being a public school teacher for 30.5. She has taught PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st-grade students and holds a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership. Stephanie is not new to Playschool – she was a Kindergarten student at First Presbyterian and both of her children went to Playschool! Additionally, her mother, Penny McRee was a director of FPC Playschool. She has been married for 32 years, has 2 married children and 4 precious grandchildren. As FPC Playschool enters its 50th year, Stephanie is looking forward to continuing the legacy of learning through play!