First Presbyterian Church Johnson City

Our Staff

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Gary Arner

Adult Discipleship, Local Missions, and Facilities

I was born in Alexandria, Virginia but moved to the northern Indiana town of Highland when I was five and lived there until I went off to college. I was the second oldest of six kids, so I grew up knowing how to take care of babies and what it means to live in community. I enjoyed a wonderful, classic, Americana-style childhood and adolescence; walked to school, played sports, was a Boy Scout, went to church (Presbyterian, of course) every Sunday morning and church youth group every Sunday evening . . . I was also blessed to have to fantastic parents and even having gone to college and having been out and about the world for many years now my dad is still the role model to which I most aspire.

Having done pretty well in school math and sciences, I went off to Purdue University to become an engineer.
One of the best decisions of my entire life was proposing to my High school sweetheart, Sandy. Thankfully she said “yes.”
As our careers evolved we moved many times around the state of Indiana. Along the way we were blessed to have our two sons, Neil and Eric. The boys are now both married and are blessed to have children of their own, so now I proudly wear the title of Grandfather to Ephram Lee and Evangeline Rose.

In 1989 a job transfer led us to Johnson City, Tennessee. We Big-Ten, Indy 500, unsweet tea, non-sympathetic signaling (ask me about that one) people had a little adjusting to do when we came south; but many wonderful, welcoming people who love Jesus quickly made us feel at home here.

“Laura Jean was born in Tennessee” is the opening lyric to a Brian White song and bespeaks the reality of the blessing of our only daughter, Laura Jean, born at the Speciality Hospital in Johnson City. Laura is now a Senior in High school and will head off to college next fall.

In December of 2008 my world turned upside down when the company I had transferred to Tennessee with and for which I had worked for twenty years suddenly went out of business without warning. But, God is good all the time and within a few months I had the privelege of being invited to join the staff here at First Pres. Looking back, I can now see the fingerprints of God as he carefully prepared me for these days. I do not know what the years ahead have in store, but I know and trust our loving God to lead me there!


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Abraham Bodkins

Contemporary and Youth Music

I was born in West Virginia. My family is originally from Ohio, but I have lived in Tennessee my whole Life. I attended and graduated from University High School.

I’ve worked in telecommunications for many years, and have also worked in factories, pizza places, supercenters, and for finance companies. I currently work at the Doubletree Hotel and enjoy taking care of individual’s needs.

I have grown up in this church, and have been honored to serve in the music ministry here at FPCJC for eight years.


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Brenda Brewer

Maintenance and Kitchen

I was born and raised in Johnson City, and have worked at FPCJC since 1999.


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Laura Champouillon

Organist

I was born at Fort Jackson Army Base in Columbia, SC, but my family soon moved to Burlington, NC, where I grew up. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance. Besides being a church organist for many years, I have also maintained an active piano studio in my home since my college days.

I am a member of the Northwest Tennessee / Southwest Virginia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. I have been on the Executive Committee for the past 8 years, 4 years of which I served as Dean. I am also a member of the Music Teachers National Association, and its local chapter, the Appalachian Music Teachers Association.


 

Janice Cunningham

Ministry Assistant


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Larry Dodd

Worship and Music

I was born and raised in a small town in Northern Indiana. There were three kids in the family, all boys, and I was the youngest. I became involved in music ministry at the age of 16, when my home church, the Community Christian Church in New Carlisle, IN asked me to be their music director. What faith those folks had…but, being sixteen…I of course knew I could do the job?!?!? I received my Bachelor of Music Education from Indiana University in South Bend. I taught choral music in the Westville Public Schools and for the New Prairie Jr. and Sr. High Schools in Indiana. In 1985, our family moved to Florida so that Kathy and I could be closer to our parents, and so that our children would know their grandparents better. While in Florida, I taught music at Brigham Elementary…soon to be Brigham Academy as well as Dennison Middle School. In addition, I served as Lead Teacher and Technology Leader at Brigham Academy. For two years I served as a Technical Education Consultant or FIRNTEC for the Florida Information Resource Network, and was housed at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Throughout my educational career, I continued to serve as a part-time music and youth director in primarily United Methodist Churches.

I had always felt a call on my heart into full-time music ministry, but my practical side always felt that a full-time ministry would have to wait till I retired from the educational system. God had other plans! In the late 90’s, First United Methodist Church of Auburndale, FL asked me to consider leaving education and moving into a full-time ministry position with them their youth and music director. There was no way to turn my back on God any further, and I made the transition to full-time music ministry. I have since that time served the church in Auburndale, FL, First United Methodist Church in Gainesville, FL, and came to First Presbyterian Church in September of 2007.


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Sherry Gaskins

Church Business Administrator

I was born and raised in Greeneville, Tennessee. I worked in Corporate America in Management before coming to First Presbyterian in 2000. I am married to my wonderful husband, Jerry. I have been blessed we three great children: Ashley, who is an elementary school teacher and Romel, and Maria, who are both still students. In my spare time I enjoy family times, riding our Harley with my husband and listening to music, especially if it is live.


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Jennifer Jacobs

Director of Children’s Ministry

I am originally from Cleveland, NY, and have lived in Florida and Virginia before settling in Tennessee. I attended ETSU majoring in nursing when I realized this was not God’s plan for me. I have been with FPCJC since 2005 where I volunteered with the Children’s ministry unitl my good friends planted the seed for me to take on the job of Children’s Ministry Coordinator in 2008. I love working and playing with the children while teaching them about Jesus’ love!


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 Tim Jones

Director of Student Ministries

I was born in Picayune, Mississippi, the oldest of two sons to Tim and Frieda Jones.  My father was a worship pastor, his father was a senior pastor.  I have several other family members that are or have been ministers, missionaries, or deacons.  I graduated from Parklane Academy, in McComb Mississippi. I then attended UNC-CH, where I received a degree in Exercise and Sports Science while minoring in Religious Studies. While in college I worked as a youth pastor at a local church in Chapel Hill. During this time I felt God’s call for me to serve in full-time ministry.

Right after college I coached basketball at Lees-McRae College for three years before becoming the Assistant Director at Camp Rockfish near Fayetteville, NC.  After nearly 5 years at Rockfish I worked with two two churches youth groups for a short period. One where I was attending while they were looking for a youth pastor and another new church that I helped to start their youth ministry.

I then served as the Assistant Director at Camp Maranatha, near Huntsville, AL before moving back to North Carolina to serve on staff at Holston starting in January of 2012.  I have worked with youth as a minister or leader ever since I finished high school in 1992.

In my free time I enjoy basketball, paintball, rock-climbing, white-water rafting, snowboarding, reading my Bible, listening to music, eating sushi, cheering on the Tar Heels, and spending time with friends and family.


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Stacy Larsen

The River

I lived all over Iowa, Indiana, and Minnesota while growing up and attended college at Gustavus Aldolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota – graduating with a B.A. in Political Science with minors in Women Studies, Art, and Social Studies. Following college, I moved to Jackson, Mississippi where I was a librarian while my ex-husband attended medical school. Sarah was born in Des Moines during her dad’s surgery residency and we moved to Johnson City when she was three. At that time I entered the E.T.S.U. Early Childhood Department and graduated with a Master’s in 2000. I was employed at ETSU (adjunct teacher, research assistant, Master Teacher, and Family Support Specialist) before becoming the Director of The River in the summer of 2004.


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Amy Sentell

Preschool

I was born & raised here in beautiful Johnson City, TN. I went to ETSU and majored in Advertising & Fine Arts. Several years later I began graduate work at Carson-Newman College in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. I taught Kindergarten for several years in Jefferson City before moving back to Johnson City. My husband Ray and I have two amazing children (Hi Zeb & Ramsey!) and a menagerie of pets.

I love this crazy life with my family, a good cup of coffee, reading, creating art, home improvement projects and my church family here at 1st Presbyterian Church. I’m proud to be a part of this wonderful preschool program!


 

 

Come and Worship!

We are so glad that you have stopped by to check out our website, and we hope you come worship with us.

105 South Boone Street
Johnson City, Tennessee 37604
423-926-5108

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