What does being a member of First Presbyterian Church mean to you?

What Does Being a Member of First Presbyterian Church mean to you?

As Mona and I reflect on the impact that First Presbyterian Church, Jackson has had on our lives and on our spiritual journey, three things come to mind.

First, FPC’s emphasis on Christian education offers unique opportunities to interact with fellow members and exchange reactions to scripture.  Jesus’ message of God’s unconditional love for each of us and His desire for an individual relationship with each of us is fundamentally simple and straightforward, but it is easy to misinterpret when filtered through the complexities of today’s lifestyles. It is so helpful to be able to share thoughts and interpretations with others on their unique spiritual journeys.

Second, FPC offers a wonderful platform and starting point to fulfill Jesus’ command that we love each other as He loves us. Other members of our church are easy to love, and hopefully that serves as a foundation for extending that love beyond our church. Finally, our church offers an environment that makes it easy to accept and receive love, which is sometimes more difficult than giving it. Our members are so genuinely caring and concerned for each other, that their support is readily and thankfully accepted.

Jim & Mona Campbell


May 2012

I feel privileged to speak to you about this church, the members, and what it all means to my family and to me. My husband, Chuck, and I moved to Jackson about 6 years ago. We had been living in Trenton and attended church regularly. When we made the decision to move to Jackson, we knew we wanted to find a church home and family that made us feel as good as the church that we were leaving behind. First Presbyterian has done that for us and so much more.

At first, we visited a number of churches here in Jackson. There were some really great ones but this one stood out above them all. At the time, we didn’t have children and our priorities were very different than they are now. One night, we were downtown when we ran into Harbert Alexander, Jr. We started talking about churches and he suggested we try First Presbyterian. He said his sister, Ceil and her huband Ty, taught a young adult Sunday School class and that we would love it. So we gave it a try the very next day and he was right…we did love it. We felt completely at home. Every church member made a point to introduce themselves to us, find us just the right place to sit in church, and graciously welcomed us.

We joined the church within the first year. Now, as life would have it, we are on a different path. In the past two years, we have adopted two beautiful boys. Luke who is 3 years old and Sam who is 21 months old. Chuck and I started our adoption journey 4 years ago and I have to admit that there were times when I thought we would never have a child, much less two children. I shared this with a few church members as well as my Sunday School class. The power of prayer definitely works. We had so many people praying for us during our adoption journey. And you know what is interesting? When you finally let go of your fears and worries and let people help you, good things happen. I have met many people here in this congregation that have personally been touched by adoption and that’s a wonderful feeling!

Our latest adoption for Sam was like being on an emotional roller coaster ride. I would send daily emails and text messages to John and Ceil telling them what was going on. I could tell that both of them truly felt our anxiety as well as our excitement. They would send back encouraging words and always told us that people were praying for us. It was all of these thoughts and prayers that got us through each day that led up to the finalization of the adoption of Sam. Our sons are extremely blessed. Not only are they healthy, safe, and loved beyond belief…they have another family right here in this church. As you may remember in the covenant of baptism, we, as members of First Presbyterian, promise to help raise and nurture these children in the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Chuck and I are counting on that and we feel blessed to have each and every one of you as our Church family.

Chuck & Sharyn Thompson






“As a part of this church family, I feel the love, security and concern from the congregation. It also gives me the ability to be able to reach out and help others in need in the community.”

Logan Keen, 11th grade




June 2012

Shortly after retiring, my wife, Jeannette, and I moved from the Cleveland OH area to Jackson in January 2002, to be close to Jeannette’s widowed father, who at age 91 was living alone in Dyersburg. Because we were “liberal Yankees”, we believed our most difficult task was going to be to find a new church home. We had made “which area - Jackson or Dyersburg- has the best potential for finding a new church home” our first priority.  Although born in the Dyersburg area, Jeannette had moved north as a child. During our 50 years of marriage (1952-2002) we had lived in the St. Louis area (1952-1968), Salt Lake City area (1969-1991) and the Cleveland area (1991-2002). The other thing that set us apart from the typical couple “looking for a new church home” was that we had lived in Cleveland for 11.5 years because I had been an elected officer of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Jeannette had been an employee of the UCBHM for nine years.

The First Presbyterian Church was not our first church home in Jackson. Our first was the Westminster Presbyterian Church, a new church start located two minutes from our home. But proximity to the church was not a consideration when we chose Westminster as our new church home. We chose Westminster for the same reason most new members state is the reason they chose that particular church as their new church home: we were warmly welcomed and made to feel wanted by both the members and the clergy. We became members of FPC when, after struggling for 18 months to sustain Westminster, it was closed. During those months I became acquainted with John White which made our decision to make FPC our “new” church home easy.

Our experiences as members of FPC over the past 8.5 years have confirmed the correctness of our decision, enriched our lives in untold ways and proved that following Christ’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself” can make even a couple of liberal Yankees feel welcome and accepted. Being members of FPC means that:

1. We are members of a loving, caring, supportive church family

2. We are blessed with a gifted staff led by our pastor who preaches a fine sermon, leads an excellent worship service supported by an outstanding music program, has a good sense of humor, respects the rights and beliefs of those with whom he may not agree, and is either lucky or has some talent as a washer player.

Jeannette’s role as care giver to her dad until his death and increasingly as my care giver, has limited her participation in most church related opportunities to serve. However, FPC has challenged me and provided many opportunities for me to use the talents God has given me. I have been privileged and honored to:

  •  Be ordained an Elder, serve as a member of Session, and concurrently serve as the Clerk of Session and as Chair of the Property Committee;
  •  Serve as a member of the Personnel Committee and the Property Committee;
  •  Assist Ken Stumpenhorst as he worked on various property related projects almost every Tuesday (until heath issues intervened);
  •  Serve as teacher of the Seekers adult church school class;
  •  Be a communion server, greeter, usher, head usher;
  •  Serve as the Chair of the Carillon Renewal Task Group;
  •  Provide assistance to many of our outreach efforts, e.g., Habitat for Humanity, RIFA, the soup kitchen, ARM, Room in the Inn, home repairs for the elderly poor.

May God continue to bless the FPC – it is our beacon and anchor. - Bill and Jeannette Hendricks




For me, being a member of FPC is like being in a family. Everyone knows when you're sick so they send food or cards. When something great happens in your life, everyone in church congratulates you. When a baby is born she or he is taken care of by the church. In the youth group, we are also a family. I would bring any guy I like to youth so all of my "big brothers & sisters" can get to know him. You can walk into any other church and have friends, but here we have a family that sticks together.

Love, Jackie Isaacs


August 2012

In June, 1974, Jack and I, along with three of our children, Lyn, Kevin, and Erin arrived in Jackson, TN from Huntsville, AL to begin the last leg of our journey through this part of our lives. Having been a part of many different Presbyterian Churches, due to many moves, both US and USA, we were torn between Johnson Memorial and First Presbyterian Churches. My mother had told a Baptist delegation before I was born that I was forordained and predestined to be Presbyterian.

As our children were an equal part of that decision, we were drawn to the group of youth who welcomed Kevin, who was entering his senior year in high school. Erin was entering fifth grade and Topie Conger became a really welcoming friend to her. Lyn was in college. The church had always been the center of our lives and the stabilizing factor in many moves. We were slowly welcomed and finally made the decision to worship our God at First Presbyterian Church.

The congregation of FPC became our family and has beeen with us through all the happy and sad times of our lives, extending God's unconditional love to us.
We have been given many opportunities to serve through Sunday School teaching, circle work, Habitat for Humanity, Soup Kitchen, mission trips, knitting, Meals on Wheels, choir, as deacons and elders, and on Presbytery Committees. We have all learned much from circles, Bible studies, church school, and sharing thoughts with many fellow travelers. Friendships have been formed, many ended to the church triumphant. I am thankful to have been a part of this wonderful family and to see our children, grandchildren, and now great grandchildren continue to worship and begin to serve our God here at FPC!

Lui Pauley





Being part of First Presbyterian Church is a good thing. For example, I remember once at NaCoMe I lost my glasses and within 15 minutes the whole congregation was outside helping me find them. I asked my parents why everyone was so willing to stop what they were doing and help. They said “people in church help and care about each other.” Pastor John White is very interested in and cares for all the children and young people in this church. He is very funny, smart and good at teaching the gospel and its true meaning. Our youth group is a good and caring group. All of us have different qualities. They are funny and always have something to say that is just hilarious, entertaining and worth hearing. They are kind and loving people who do good things. They are the best examples you can have of good and loyal friends. Finally, we have very compassionate and dedicated youth leaders who not only care for us, but each other as well.

Sincerely, Sam Anderson


September 2012

When I first visited First Presbyterian in 2002, I was immediately struck by the warmth and friendliness of the congregation. The genuine welcome that I experienced encouraged my return visit and led to my becoming involved in a number of church activities. The first member who came to visit me was the late Dr. Walton Harrison; he came to my home bringing early spring flowers and we shared a cup of tea and a lengthy conversation. In discussing the work of the Presbyterian church, he let me know that we work by committees of many types. I have found in the intervening years that service on various committees - worship, membership, stewardship, budget and finance, endowment trust – has allowed me to get to know many members and has deepened my commitment to God’s work in our church community. My participation in Steve Bowers’ Sunday School class is an important part of my faith development. The active study of various books of the Bible and the challenging dialogue within the class encourage each of us to deepen our knowledge of God’s Holy Word and how it applies in our day to day lives. The friendships that come from this small group setting are truly special. The opportunity to ring handbells with fellow musicians under the direction of Margaret Harrison has been such fun and is a meaningful part of our worship experience. To express that joy, even on early Sunday morning rehearsals, is a highlight of the week! All these activities are joyful ways to express God’s love for us all.

Carol Sue Keathley


Growing up in First Presbyterian has meant more to me than anything I’ve ever experienced. This congregation has mentored me, and shown me the true meaning of being a Christian. I’ve come to believe that without a church family, you can never really grow to be the person you need to be. I’ve not only become a better person, but I’ve also learned the meaning of family. Here at First Presbyterian you’re more than just a face and a name, you’re a member of the family and that’s exactly how I feel, here with this big family.

Lorna Chambers



October 2012

The First Presbyterian Church means so much to our family. Our church means opportunities to learn and grow in our faith through parenting classes, Sunday  School, and worship. Our church means a support group of people who love and encourage us, many of whom have become treasured friends. It means hot meals brought to our home after the birth of our children. The First Presbyterian Family means a body of believers who love and teach our children, and precious friends with whom they will grow up. It means warm meals on Wednesday nights, Kirkin’ of the Tartans, Trunk or Treating on Halloween, Breakfast with Santa and again with the Easter Bunny, young adult gatherings, parenting classes, Rotation Sunday School, the Starlight Symphony, VBS, and Preppy Kitchen…..and all the other ways this church touches the life of our family. We are thankful to call First Presbyterian our church home.

The Donnell Family




November 2012

There never was a time when Susan was not a part of this church here in Jackson. She was present when First Presbyterian was located in downtown Jackson and present when the move was made to our current location. Nearly all of Susan's family were members of FPC. Among these were her brothers, mom and dad, grandparents, and a slew of aunts and uncles and cousins. Many of Susan's classmates were a part of FPC. She enjoyed church league basketball, working on the church grounds, and those fun trips to NaCoMe. Susan is here for life. On the other hand, I was raised in the Methodist church. I asked the Lord into my life in 1972 in Memphis. I was a member of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. Over the years, the Lord allowed me to be exposed to nearly every denomination. After marrying Susan, I became a member of FPC. In the nineties I joined Stephen Ministries with Bill Dellastatious as the leader. This experience allowed me to meet and eventually work for Bob Stanworth as a caregiver. We became close friends over the years until he died in 2002. Bob's dad was Pastor of this church many years ago. What FPC has made me realize, especially with John White at the helm, is that Christians are Christians regardless of their history. If we confess that Jesus is Lord then we are a part of His family. That's what I love about First Presbyterian Church of Jackson--we are family.

Tom and Susan Blackmon


To me, being a member of FPC is all about making connections, whether it is with God, members of the youth group or the congregation. It’s about having someone to turn to besides your immediate family. Everyone is connected through the church; no person is excluded or judged because of their opinions or differences. We all share a common connection to Christ. This connection is what I love about being a member of FPC. This connection allows me to be myself around the members of my youth group and the congregation.

Turner Spurlin




December 2012

We joined First Presbyterian Church in 1991 after returning to Jackson following seven years living in other cities. We came to FPC by way of the preschool where we had enrolled Katherine, our oldest daugh-ter, and met some of the members of FPC. We visited the church and liked the style of worship and the people we met. Our youngest daughter, Molly, was baptized here soon after we joined. Our family has enjoyed many wonderful years of Sunday school, VBS, church camp, Christmas plays, and countless activities that have blessed us as a family and strengthened our faith within a supportive and loving body of Christ. As we have studied the Bible together with our church friends, it has become clear to us that God's will for our lives is to live and grow in a community of faith. Additionally, we believe that God called us to First Presbyterian Church in particular because it was the place where God could teach us and enrich our spiritual lives, while we built a firm foundation of faith for our children who are now grown and living on their own. Also, we could actively use our own spiritual gifts to serve God and the larger community through a variety of outreach programs. We love First Presbyterian and all the people with whom we worship and serve God. As we approach the Advent season once again, a wonderful time of celebration of the entrance of Christ into the world, we are very grateful for the abundant life we have experienced in fellowship with our church family here at First Presbyterian Church.

Bill & Julia Kipp

When I arrived at this church I fell in love with it because my best friend was there, Rebecca Hurt. Ever since I came here there was something different about the youth than at my other churches. The youth accepted me and I started growing with them like a family. They were so accepting, and they still are. I know I can go to anyone of them and talk to them about something that is worrying or stressing me. As I’m growing up I have realized that I need to deepen my faith. First Pres is a great way to do that and through the youth programs, I have a great start. One special program to mention is Montreat. Right after the wonderful youth is the amazing congregation. Throughout my five years being here, I have gotten to know so many people in the congregation. When I got baptized and confirmed, everyone was so welcoming and I felt like I actually turned from being a child to becoming part of the congregation. First Pres has changed my life and increased my spiritual growth, from Mrs. Sherry Taylor to Anthony and so many others who have taught and inspired me. I love First Pres. It has helped me in so many ways.

Samantha Morgan


February 2013

We are relatively short time Jacksonians and First Presbyterian members, having come from Memphis ten years ago this past summer. I have been a Presbyterian basically all of my life and Polly most of her adult life. We are in love with our church. We try to be there every time that the doors are open, and we benefit every time that we walk thru the doors!

We won't tell you about all of the FPC worship, learning, service and yes, social opportunities available to everyone, because, if you are reading this, you are likely already familiar with them. Not too long ago we were greeting people at the front door of the sanctuary. It was a beautiful morning. One of the church's children was handing out bulletins, and one of our faithful friends was signing up people for directory picture sessions and we were just overwhelmed with joy that the Lord had blessed us to be a part of this experience.

Thank the Lord for letting us be members of this loving and caring congregation. Each and every one of us should tell others what great things we have going on here and what fun it is to be a disciple of Jesus at First Presbyterian.

Mo and Polly Pledger


When I think of this church, I think of the special bond we all share together. Over the last few years our church has experienced a spiritual revival. Being the age that I am, I was able to witness and be a part of it. There is something truly powerful to be experienced when the spirit is at work within us. I have grown up in this church and it has always felt like home to me. I was baptized in this church and fortunate enough to have quite a few family members who are also members.

I recall my early years at Playschool, Sunday School and Confirmation. Confirmation class meant a lot to me because we learned a lot about the church history. We also learned that our parents chose to raise us in the Church and teach us about Christ and now it was our turn to make our decision of faith. After completing Confirmation Class we were officially members and we were allowed to stand when they called for “church members” to stand and greet each other. However small that might seem, it was then that my membership began to take on new meaning. I learned that you have to live it and not just know about it.

This Church has been extremely active in community service. I have participated in Room in the Inn, Peanut Butter & Jelly ministry, Soup Kitchen, Snack Back Pack, Meals on Wheels, Alabama mission trip and many others. Jesus truly was a servant and he calls us to serve others and share the gospel. I truly do be-lieve this church has fulfilled that mission and charge.

The Church has always been there for me through thick and thin and has been a wonderful positive support network. When I had questions about the Bible or questions regarding my faith, I always found that there was a role model I felt I could ask. The Lord has truly blessed me with a wonderful church and Youth Group where I have learned to trust in God’s will for my life and have faith that he will open doors. Being a member of a community of believers here at First Presbyterian has been a joy and blessing that I am very thankful for.

Morgan Cowles


March 2013

I have been Presbyterian all of my life, so when I moved to Jackson in 1978, I looked in the telephone book for the Presbyterian Church. I drove by and made up my mind that this was where I would attend. I have never regretted that decision. I have made many friendships over the years. Members have been there
during the happy times and also through the hard times. I have had the opportunity to teach Sunday School for many years and have had the joy of getting to know many children and their parents over these years. The many service opportunities have also meant a great deal to me as well. I have enjoyed serving at the Soup Kitchen and delivering Meals on Wheels, to name two of the opportunities. I am extremely grateful to this church and its members.

Jennifer Flanagan



To me, church is a big friendship between a lot of people. I know that I can ask anyone at church for advice, and I will always receive a kind and helpful response. I also have a lot of fun participating in youth group activities, and I enjoy playing in the youth praise band. My church will always be a place where I can go to find friends who truly care about me. But, the best friend anyone could ask for is Jesus, whose message is always made clear to me at church.

Will Dunnavant



April 2013

Jimmie and I grew up in the Baptist Church where I played the piano for all services and choirs, and Jimmie was a Deacon, usher and Brotherhood president. In the mid-eighties, we moved to Jackson and began visiting churches to determine where God wanted us to worship. After a friend invited us to visit with his family one Sunday at First Presbyterian Church, we felt led to study what Presbyterians believe and joined the pastor’s weekly doctrine class. We found that we already believed many of these principles and accepted the invitation to join First Presbyterian Church.

Our daughter married here in 1988 and the pre-marriage counseling was wonderful. We often brought my elderly mother and she enjoyed worshiping with her school friends….Dr. Billy Crook, Angelyn Caldwell, the Terrys, and Edentons. It was a happy time for our family.

Billy Graham, in his book Nearing Home says, “God’s will is for you to become spiritually mature, growing stronger in your relationship to Christ…and spiritual maturity is the work of a lifetime.” FPC has offered us the opportunity to grow in our “Golden Years” by providing spirit-filled sermons, beautiful music, fellowship with believers, and opportunities for service.

We admit we did not prefer the worship time change, but we decided to attend the Richard Swaim Sunday School class and loved it! We then took Pastor John White’s 2013 New Year’s Challenge, and became members of the Wednesday night dinner/small groups. What a bless-ing this has been to us, as well as participation in Room in the Inn, the Abigail Circle, Cornerstone, and other activities.

Being a member of FPC means belonging to a church that welcomes people of all races and one that allows everyone to express their opinions without judgment. We all grow in Christian character and faith by exercising this privilege. Thank you First Presbyterian Church for loving us and allowing us to
“Serve the Lord with Gladness” so that we will be lifted to a closer walk with God.

Jimmie and Ann Moore


First Presbyterian Church, Jackson has been a major part of my life since before I can remember; but if I had to sum up what it meant to me, it would only take  one word: Exhalation. Let me explain. This church is one of the few places left that makes me, as an individual, feel calm, accepted, and unconditionally loved. Stress, in its many facets, piles up on me throughout the week, and I find myself almost struggling to breathe under the load it places on my shoulders. But the moment I enter this church, or even the parking lot, my body involuntarily releases a sigh of relief. These grounds not only house people that will love and forgive me unconditionally, but it also is where I feel most connected with the Spirit. Without the spiritual cleansing I find in worship here, and the examples of God's work in the people surrounding me, my life would be a constant inhalation, sucking me of energy, faith, and heart. Due to First Presbyterian Church and everyone that makes a part of this body, I can breathe again, renewed.

Laura Crossett


May 2013

I was born and lived in Memphis, Tennessee until age 11. My parents divorced when I was age 7. At age 11, my mom re-married and we moved to Jackson, Tennessee. In Jackson, I attended and was baptized at First Baptist Church, and attended Highland Heights Presbyterian Church in Memphis on weekend visits with my father. In my adult life, I was curious to learn more about the PC(USA) church. God is the Author of perfect timing. On New Year’s Day Jan. 1, 2006, I
arrived at First Baptist Church- Jackson (FBC) to find it closed. I sat in the parking lot, bewildered and thinking aloud, “I am dressed and ready. I am going somewhere.” Looking around, I saw that First Presbyterian Church-Jackson (FPC) was open for business. After the short trek from FBC along N. Highland Ave. arriving next door to FPC, I was seated for New Year’s Day worship. To my surprise, I opened the FPC worship program to read: “INQUIRER’s CLASS BEGINS: Next Sunday, January 8, 2006, Rev. John White will begin an Inquirer’s Class…If you are a new member, or a visitor who would like to learn more
about this church and the PC(USA), this is an opportunity to learn,…” Blinking in awe, I closed and reopened the program to make sure I had read correctly and thereafter, joined the class. No mistake, God orchestrated the timing. Upon class completion  on a following Sunday, I tugged on Rev. John White’s elbow and cheerfully expressed, ‘I think I’ll join today’- and he smiled and cheerfully chuckled, and I, too, imitated the laughter at the revelation that there was probably an orderly procedure. Procedure was followed. Sue Carruth served as my sponsor, the Session & Church accepted me and in May 2006, I became a member
at FPC.

Just prior to joining FPC, I experienced a time of loss. At the time I joined, I was transitioning through grieving. In deep sorrow, I was resting in Christ’s assurance that some of the best transformation work can be accomplished in the darkest, most broken places. My grandparents had all been present into my adult life. As a child of a blended family, instead of two sets of grandparents, I had four sets. Like me- they were all ‘perfectly imperfect’ and human, and served importantly as stable places when life transitioned. They provided encouragement, wisdom, spiritual guidance, laughter and unconditional love. At their consecutive passing, an indelible imprint remained, along with a void. Healing came. Christ filled the void from sorrow, called me into closer fellowship, provided
His comfort and through active membership at First Presbyterian Church increased my faith. The elderly couple who moved into my neighborhood on one side were aged 85 & 91, and the neighbor on the other side, age 87. An international educational organization I joined was comprised  by a majority of members aged 70-90. FPC members ministered to my brokenness.Through the intergenerational congregation at FPC, I humbly experienced the actions of love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22).

Membership at FPC matters because there is an enlarged blessing by the circle of opportunity to learn, experience and share God’s love in moments of mourning and joy. For me, healing came, faith in Christ’s care deepened, understanding of abundant provision was increased and by the work of the Holy Spirit, my hope renewed.

In Christ’s fellowship,
Tammy Buchanan



As some of you might have guessed, I have been involved in church activities my entire life. Over the years, it has slowly become my second home. Home means family, friends, food, fellowship, and comfort. First Presbyterian Church has offered each of those things to me from the day I arrived in Jackson. As I begin a new chapter and await college, I know that, even though I leave, those will be continued blessings in my life. I will always have my brothers and sisters and Christ, and I will always carry the relationship I have built with The Lord.

Kathelene White



June 2013

I was asked to write a brief journey of faith about First Presbyterian Church. For me it’s a treasure trove of memories of wonderful people, happy times and being watched over by a loving God. Frank, Sr. and I were Episcopalian from the 50’s until early 70’s. However, much was centered around First Presbyterian. As we all know, First Presbyterian was where it was happening in Jackson and still is today. Our sons, Frank, Jr. and Brent, went to Playschool and Kindergarten – Play School was on TV with Ms. Nora Alexander, Kindergarten with Nell Gee and Harriet Mountjoy. Our daughter, Joy, was under the direction of Gee Gee Bray. Gail Crocker and I had our Cub Scouts at First Presbyterian. We used the Scout Room for crafts and the gym for basketball. We had Pigford
Woods as our nature treasure trove to explore. Ted Showalter was Frank’s Scout Master – Thank you Ted. Brent played basketball coached by Charles Mayo – Thank you Charles. Joy also played basketball for First Presbyterian for several years and also enjoyed summer camp at Pinecrest. I was an active Deacon who chaired the Service Committee, chaired Property and Grounds Committee, and have always been active in the Women of the Church. If you are
around First Presbyterian Church much, you get the awesome feeling of the Power, Love and Spirit of a Loving God!

Sue Carruth



To me, membership at First Presbyterian Church has meant a lot. It has meant a local family who has always been there for me. Also it has meant a great youth group filled with good times and great food. And finally it has meant a relationship with God and his Body. That is what membership at First Presbyterian has meant to me.

Forrest White




First Presbyterian Church of Jackson has had an irreplaceable impact on my life. Unlike the other churches I have attended before arriving here, I never felt like I belonged. The youth group is probably the reason I wanted to stay initially, but as time went on, the number of people who accepted me grew and grew.
A few of the especially influential people on my life as both a Christian and a person have been from none other than this church. Mrs. Sherry taught me how to get along with others, and what it means to be a Christian. I will have a hard time listing everything Mr. Tommy did for me, but to sum it up, he was my anchor whenever my temper got the better of me and he never lost faith in me. This was extremely significant to me, as no one had been able to calm me down like he could, other than my now deceased dog Cinnamon. To find such a trait in another human, after being bullied in middle school until I went off the deep end on a daily basis, gave me hope in humans. Mr. Randy is like having a cool grandfather whom you can count on for advice on anything. Mr. Jeff has always been one of the most fun adults to be around and is very perceptive and wise. Mrs. Lyn was always positive and pleasant to be around. Mrs. Molly has been an awesome Sunday school teacher. Anthony, besides just being a cool youth group leader, has been a great basketball coach to the point that, even when we didn’t win, we still accomplished the major goal of every sport: to have fun. Jon Taylor has been one of the most recent additions to this list, but still makes it nonetheless. He is knowledgeable, personable, and has a soothing effect on anyone around him. This list is not a complete list of all the wonderful members of the church who have invested time in me, and I am sure the list will continue to grow as I begin the next chapter of my life at UTM. The values the church has taught me as a Christian, and as a person, will carry me farther in life than I would’ve ever managed on my own, and for that I am extremely grateful. I am blessed to be part of the First Presbyterian Church family.

George Morgan

August 2013

The day after Christmas, 1967, we moved to Jackson with Paige – age 5, Paula – age 4, and a black poodle named Prissy. We had both been baptized, raised and married in the Presbyterian Church and it never occurred to us to change. The first week Betty Louis Sheppard called on us and arranged to meet in front of the church on Sunday and show us where each of our Sunday school classes were. After settling our girls, she took us to the Young Adults Class. We are still in that Sunday school class. Now it is called the Swaim Bible Class and no one would call us “young adults”. It, and its members, are a special treasure to us, as
are so many at First Pres. We had two more children who were baptized here and sat on the front row, left side. The children had to sit still and be quiet with the preacher looking down at them. Later we moved back a few pews and, when Charles retired and we spent half the year in Florida, we lost our pew. Now we are part of the “Back Row Bunch”.

There were so many wonderful role models for us: the Hymers, Lowrys, Campbells, Measells, Ma Barton, and Marilynn’s Tuesday morning prayer group with Liz Swaim and Lui Pauley….that helped guide and motivate us through those child-rearing years. We participated in every aspect of the church and have been blessed by it. What we are learning during these autumn years, as we have more time to reflect on life’s experiences, is that FPC and/or God are the one constant in our lives. Houses change, jobs change, children grow up and leave, activities and interests change, but God is always with you. While His light has sometimes become dim (whether our fault or the church’s) never have we seen His light shining brighter than we do right now at FPC. It is exciting to be a part
of the Holy Spirit moving in this church. God Bless!

Charles and Marilynn Ames

I have been a member of First Presbyterian Church my entire life. Throughout the years, being at church has given me a second family, a group of wonderful friends, and a loving environment to grow and be myself in. I don’t have to worry about “fitting in” because I already know that everyone loves me and accepts me for who I am.

A big part of my membership at First Presbyterian Church is the Youth Group. I love going on Sunday afternoons, Wednesday nights, and all the fun trips we go on! Going to youth has really taught me how to live everyday life in a Christian way. Our Youth Leader, Anthony Kirk, prepares lessons where he reads Bible stories, then breaks them down in a way that we can understand them better and apply them to our lives! Youth Group has given me a circle of people who I can just goof around with and it also teaches me to live as Jesus would have me live every day! I am blessed to be a Member of First Presbyterian Church!

Susan Anderson


September 2013

Susie and I searched for a church home for several years. We did not feel the urgent need to join a church. We visited/attended many over the course of a few years. In the end, First Presbyterian Church felt like family and was a perfect fit for us. John’s sermons based on scripture al-ways seem to speak to us, we look forward to his sermons. Personally, music is a big part of my worship. Margaret Harrison does an outstanding job of leading the choir and congregation in a wide variety of uplifting and worshipful music.

We attend the Connections Sunday school class and have enjoyed seeing the class grow from just a few couples and singles to a classroom that is filled to capacity most every Sunday. Plus, the fellowship opportunities are a lot of fun, i.e., class socials.

FPC has a broad array of programs and activities for its members young and old. You can be as involved as one desires. We also enjoy sitting behind the Alexanders (Harbert & clan) each Sunday. The church provides a warm and inviting environment, whether it’s in the worship service, Sunday school classes, or fellowship activities.

Chris and Susie Alexander




I have been attending First Presbyterian Church since I was a toddler. I'm thankful for all the things I have learned as a member of this church. One of the many things I've learned is how accepting and loving the mem-bers of our church are. I know that I will always have a great fellowship to stand by.

I am very grateful for the many wonderful opportunities this church has given me. Some include helping with PB&J ministries, attending NaCoMe Family Camp every year, serving at Room in the Inn, and camping at Pinecrest Conference and Retreat Center.

My favorite part about First Presbyterian Church is our Youth Group. I love spending time with them every Sun-day. They truly are some of the greatest people I know. I have made some lifelong friends and gained so many good memories with them. All of our teachers and leaders have been so caring, knowledgeable, and fun. First Presbyterian Church has blessed me!

Amelia Spurlin

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