Click a tab below to view our various leadership staff.



  • Rev. Joel Long
    Bridge Interim Pastor

    A native of North Carolina, Joel holds a Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary PC(USA), Decatur, GA.  He is a Certified Transitional Specialist (Levels 1 & 2- Montreat Conference Center-Montreat, NC).  His home is in Surfside Beach, SC., where he lives with his wife, Ann.  Ann is currently serving as Church Accompanist, Trinity Presbyterian, Surfside Beach, SC.

    Joel loves working with churches in transition.  His hobbies include playing golf, riding his bike, and fishing.  He and Ann have a total of four children and seven grandchildren.

  • Jessica Bettinger
    Childrens Choir Coordinator
  • Joni Brown
    Director of Music Ministries

    Joni Mabry Brown is originally from Lee County, Virginia. She received her B. S. in Music Education from Western Carolina University and her Master’s of Music Education degree from the University of South Carolina. She taught band and choir in Skyland, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina before taking a position as band director at Bates Middle School in Sumter.  After her retirement, she accepted her current position at First Presbyterian Church in 2012. She directs the Chancel Choir, Joy Ringers, Youth Bells, and instrumental ensembles.  She is an active member of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, American Choral Directors Association and Handbell Musicians of America. She is married to David R. Brown, a retired CPA.  They live in Sumter with their SPCA rescue dog, Sasha. 

  • Marian Carnes
    Director of Preschool & Kindergarten

    Marian Carnes is a Sumter native and lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church. Upon graduating from The University Of South Carolina with a BA in Early Childhood Education, she taught Kindergarten at Crosswell Drive Elementary School for fourteen years. Marian has been the Director of our Preschool and Kindergarten since the summer of 2000.


    Marian is married to Mike Carnes and is the proud mother of two wonderful sons, Matthew and Mark. Marian is honored and blessed to serve our wonderful teachers and families.

  • Harold Gadson





  • Barry Gholson
  • Kelly Hickey
    Director of Faith Formation

    A native of Florence, SC, Kelly joined our staff as the Director of Faith Formation in August, 2019. Prior to her arrival, Kelly served as the Program Director at Camp Pee Dee Retreat Center in Bennettsville, SC.  She also served as the Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Hartsville, SC and Bethesda Presbyterian Church in Camden, SC. She attained a Masters in Christian Education at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Charlotte, NC. 

    Kelly has a huge heart for God and all of God’s children.  One of her greatest passions is providing opportunities for children and youth to grow in relationship with one another and, most importantly, with God.

    Kelly is married to her best friend, Jamie. They have three beautiful girls: Allie, Mary Beth and Gracie. Kelly loves to laugh, especially at herself and she also enjoys family time and fishing. 

  • Neil Ross
    Business Manager

    Neil joined the First Presbyterian team as business administrator in June 2012.  A native Sumterite, he is married to Joyce; they have two children (out of the nest) and two grandchildren. A graduate of USC Columbia with a B.S. in accounting, Neil is a certified public accountant holding memberships in state and national professional associations.  His professional background includes 35+ years in public accounting practice, from which he retired in 2010.  Neil has a two-fold responsibility with the church, managing its day-to-day business and financial affairs and, as property manager, keeping oversight of church buildings and campus physical needs.  In that regard, he supervises the church’s custodial staff.  In his role as business administrator, Neil understands how critical it is to maintain integrity, fiscal responsibility, and accountability to the church in all financial and business affairs.  Neil enjoys spending time with family and friends, and especially long weekends in the NC mountains where hiking trails are in abundance.

  • Hamilton Stoddard
  • Shirley Wood
    Administrative Assistant

    Shirley is originally from upstate New York and feels blessed to be a part of the staff of FPC since May 1989. As Administrative Assistant, she maintains the church calendar and membership database, in addition to producing the weekly newsletter and bulletin. She also provides support to the pastors, staff, and committee chairs. She is married to Jimmy Wood. They enjoy visiting their three children and nine grandchildren as often as possible and sailing whenever they get the chance.



“The pastor of a congregation shall be the moderator of the session of that congregation … The moderator possesses the authority necessary for preserving order and for conducting efficiently the business of the body.  he shall convene and adjourn the body in accordance with its own action…” (Book of Order, G-3.0104) 


“The session is the council for the congregation.  It shall be composed of those persons elected by the congregation to active service as ruling elders, together with all installed pastors and associate pastors … The session shall have responsibility for governing the congregation and guiding 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 … Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matt.20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life.” (Book of Order, G-3.0201, G-2.03)


Class of 2021

John Dunn

Caron DuRant

John Moorman

Whit Shaw

Kay Smith

Class of 2022

Missy Coulter

Ann Geddings

Jack Osteen

Dan Spencer

Debby Williams

Class of 2023

Gus Blum

Liza Cooper

Chuck Fienning

Linda Hogon

Glenn Woodrum





The ministry of deacon as set forth in Scripture is one of compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress … Deacons may be … organized as a board of deacons … their ministry is under the supervision and authority of the session. (Book of Order, G2.0201, G-2.0202)


Class of 2021

Elyn Croft

Greg Edwards

Taylor Geddings

Meg Hill

Macaulay Smith

Chris Somheil

Charlie White

Class of 2022

Jim Alexander

Matthew Berger

Katherine Brogdon

Colin Davis

Kimberly Land

Andrew McCord


Class of 2023

Gary Bratton

Lark Haynie

Kathy Lyons

John Michael Osteen

Suzanne Wates