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Rev. Nick CheekSenior Pastor, Head of Staff
Growing up in New Hampshire, Nick has no choice but to be an enthusiastic New England sports fan. But please, don’t hold that against him. As a child, Nick served as an altar boy in the Greek Orthodox Church. This instilled in him an early foundation of faith that Nick credits his parents for today. Nick enjoys writing and composing music, taking hikes, talking with folks about theology, spending time with his family and watching reruns of the Office late at night when he should be sleeping.
Nick finds the First Pres family to be a congregation that seeks to welcome all, care for all and reach out to a world in need. First Presbyterian embraces a strong history of service to the Sumter. It is a foundation of missions that encourages our calling today; to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our Lord.
Nick is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte and Union Presbyterian Seminary (Charlotte Campus). Prior to coming to First Presbyterian Church, Sumter, Nick has served at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park MD and Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.
Nick is the lucky husband of Rev. Ashley Cheek. Together they have three children, Lydia, Nicholas and Ada.
Rev. Ashley CheekPastor of Family Life
Ashley's greatest privilege is to be married to Rev. Nick Cheek and to be the mother of their three wildly independent, out spoken, creative children- Lydia Grace, Nicholas and Ada Lee. They are her first call, and they are the reason she feels so blessed to serve as Pastor for Family Life here at First Presbyterian Church Sumter. It is her belief that family ministry is essential for a healthy church. It is what the church is called to be- brothers and sisters in Christ. It is in the church that we discover God’s call and claim on our lives – marked as God’s own. It is the church that empowers its family to radically love the world, serve the community and proclaim the gospel in real and tangible ways. First Presbyterian Church Sumter seeks to be a place where we journey together, explore our faith together and live into the covenantal promises together. Ashley is incredibly thankful to be a small part of what God is doing here at First Pres!
Jessica BettingerChildrens Choir Coordinator
Joni BrownDirector 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 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 dogs, Toby Joe and Sasha.
Marian CarnesDirector 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.
Sherri RedmondKitchen Coordinator
Sherri was born and grew up in East Liverpool, Ohio. She has three sons, sixteen grandchildren (counting spouses), eight great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, She has lived in Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Alaska, Texas, and South Carolina and visited Canada, Mexico, Ireland and England. She has been in Sumter since March, 2015.
For many years Sherri has been a committed volunteer for many charitable efforts. When she lived in Plano, TX, she was selected as Humanitarian Volunteer of the Year for Collin County, Texas because of her commitment as a volunteer in the emergency room at Presbyterian Hospital of Plano. Sheri is also an excellent cook, as many at First Presbyterian of Sumter can attest.
She now helps to keep the kitchen at the church well stocked with everything needed for a kitchen that is useful and usable. She has been in this position for approximately one year and tries to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
Neil RossBusiness 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.
Christie StutzConnections Coordinator
Christie was born and raised in Sumter, SC and grew up in First Presbyterian Church. It brings her great joy to be the Connections Coordinator She has the chance to grow with current members and welcome new members to our church family. Christie is married to Matt Stutz and we have 3 wonderful children Victor (15), Ellie (9), and Gracie (7). Matt and Christie enjoy working with the youth group at FPC as well as spending time with our friends and family.
Shirley WoodAdministrative 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 2018
Class of 2019
Class of 2020
Fred Brogdon, Jr.
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, G–2.0201, G-2.0202)
Class of 2018
Class of 2019
Class of 2020
Randa Carole DuBose