Deacons serving FPCA
Deacon is one of the highest callings in the presbyterian church. We believe it is a unique opportunity to offer servant leadership, follow jesus and open hearts to the community.
Class of 2018
Kathi was baptized as an infant at FPCA by Reverend Warren Neal. Growing up she was involved in choir and various youth programs. She made a profession of faith in junior high. Kathi attended Baylor and earned her teaching degree; she teaches at Lamar HS. She and husband Mike were married at FPCA in 1988. Mike and Kathi have two sons, James and Mitch. She has taught adult and children’s Sunday School, been a youth sponsor, and helped with outreach events. Kathi feels blessed to have belonged to the FPCA family for her entire life, and the Lord has placed on her heart the desire to serve FPCA.
I am Betsy McDermott, married to Pastor Rich. We have five adult children, three of whom are married, and one grandchild. We have been at First Presbyterian for a year after serving churches in Florida, Mexico, Colorado and Nebraska. I grew up in Costa Rica and use my Spanish in my job as a medical interpreter in the area. Being on the Hospitality Team of the Deacons gives me an opportunity to get to know this dedicated group of members and the chance to welcome visitors and people who are new to our congregation. I am eager to see what our faithful Lord has in store for us.
I am from Cameroon West Africa. I was born into the Presbyterian Church and had been actively involved in many groups and occupied many posts of responsibilities. I am married to Jerise and we are blessed with our six year old daughter Christher. We moved from Delaware four years ago and were introduced to FPCA by my cousin Karyn Tayong. We were welcomed with so much warmth by the Christians of this blessed Church. This Church is a place to experience what fellowship is all about in the Lord.I will continue to preach the Church’s doctrine and win more souls to the Almighty. To Him be all the glory.
My husband and I joined this congregation in December of 2009. The outreach of the congregation to Belize, the Ulster Project, and the local community made a major impression on me. The welcome we received and the inclusion we have felt has made the move verycomforting. I have been a member of the Women’s Bible Study since our arrival, and know that the Spirit of the Lord is at work within this group of women. I accepted the call to be a Deacon for2016 2019 and am praying that the Lord will guide me as I serve.
There are many things I could list that could give you a good idea of my story, at least on paper. But as for the things that most define me: I am a mother of two incredible humans, a teacher, a friend, a runner, a graduate student in Neuroscience, and a lifetime recipient of God’s grace and strength. My family and I joined FPCA in 2010 and I have been on the Deacon board since 2014. Being a member here has made us part of a larger family who lifts up, encourages, and supports each other in our journeys through life and in our walk with God.
After many years as a member of another denomination I joined FPCA in 2003. I have a great passion for local outreach and found the answer in the Mission and Evangelism team by being active in helping the team with local projects. I am a member of the Friendship Class. My husband Larry and I are retired. I enjoy reading, counted cross stitch, cross word puzzles and doing projects. We are blessed with daughter Mitzie, son Toby and his wife Kathy.
Class of 2019
Approximately 14 years ago I decided to start the process of finding a church closer to home, that was more involved in the community and that I could be a part of. After visiting many churches I found FPCA. From the very first visit to FPCA I felt like I was home. There was never a more inviting, open and warm greeting at any other church that I visited. How could I not move my membership from Rosen Heights Baptist Church in Ft. Worth to FPCA? So, I did and joined the Loose Ends class. Later, at mom’s suggestion, I joined the Mission and Evangelism team, which has much to do and is always looking for helpers.
As a side project or extension of M&E, I participate in other endeavors around the church. When not at work or church, I spend most of my time with my family and friends. I love to cook, read, dig in the yard, go to movies and need I say… paint. I believe The Lord has many good things in store for us as individuals and for FPCA as a whole. These are very exciting times and I am happy to be a part of the changes that are happening here at FPCA. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
I have been a member of First Presbyterian Church for twenty plus years, and have served on the Homebound Visitation committee for two years and the Sunday Usher committee for over 10 years. I have watched the church undergo several changes, and with the recent loss of my wife and son during the past year to cancer with the resulting challenges to my religious/spiritual foundation, I now feel that it is important that I step forward and accept the invitation of the church and my Lord to be more involved at First Presbyterian Church.
I am seventh of eight children born to Clement and Juliet Gwandiku of Bali Nyonga in the North West Region of Cameroon. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church and by the age of 10 I confirmed my faith in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior with the guidance of both my parents, senior brothers and sisters. My parents instilled in us the importance of reading the bible during our daily bible devotions and also the importance of committing our daily endeavors to Christ. As a child I took those teachings as part of life not fully understanding how it was fundamental in my life. My mother never missed an opportunity to remind us of the importance of service to others than being served. My life changing moment came in 1999 when I had been sick for over a year with typhoid and Malaria. My parents prayed for healings while I spent countless days receiving all types of treatments that they could lay their hands on. I event shared my desire to accept death if it was God`s will. I remember my parents, siblings and neighbors rebuking me and saying God have work for you and you cannot quit on him because he does not leave any job unfinished. I share this story because it is during those days that I fully understood my parent’s teachings and the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. My recovery and current life is nothing but Gods` endless grace, love and mercy towards me (sinner saved by Christ). I moved to America in 2012 with family. God blessed me with my best friend and husband Peter Formusoh. We got married in 2005 and in 2007 after the birth of our first daughter Lesiga Formusoh, we joined FPCA. We received our second daughter Konnia Formusoh in 2014 and today we are glad to see both of them love to come to church. I also enjoy singing with the African Choir. I enjoy spending time with my best friend (Peter Formusoh) and our children. My favorite things include being a mom, cooking, singing and serving others. I also love dancing.
My name is Tina Paulk—and I love this church! My husband Rob and I joined FPCA in 2009 after visiting for a number of years. Our home town is Temple, TX although I was born in Middletown NY. My parents were immigrants from Germany. My father was a physician, and he and my artistic mother raised four daughters of which I am the youngest. Grace Presbyterian Church in Temple was our home church. My mother served as a deacon there, and I was involved with singing in the choir, attending youth group, and helping embroider all the church’s seasonal banners which my mother designed. I attended Trinity University in San Antonio and graduated from UT Austin with a BA in Sociology and Government. Rob and Imarried in January 1970 in Grace Presbyterian. After living in Huntsville, AL, St. Louis, MO, and Hurst, TX we settled in Arlington in 1977. Our family includes our son Justin, daughter-in-law Amber, and our three grandsons Grayson (14), Hudson (11), and Levi (6). They reside in Haslet.
For 43 years I enjoyed a career in Early Childhood Education including 12 years of teaching private kindergarten, being a childcare center director, trainer, and speaker in the Arlington-Grand Prairie area. Now retired, I volunteer regularly at FPCA Bazaarnival, Kids Night Out, Congregational Care Committee, HOPE Tutoring, and Arlington Charities. In addition I have attended the same Bible Study group for almost five years. It is both an honor and a privilege to be considered for deacon at FPCA. Through prayerful consideration and with God’s guidance I believe this is the path He has chosen for me to follow.
My husband, Roger, and I moved to Arlington in the mid-1970’s and joined FPCA over thirty years ago. We have two grown sons who were both baptized at FPCA. I worked at Bell Helicopter a number of years, am now retired, and enjoy playing bridge, reading, traveling and am an avid Texas Rangers and Cowboy fan. God has blessed our family in many ways. I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve God and FPCA in the role of deacon.
I was born in Lamar County, the fourth generation of Texas Presbyterians on my mother’s side. My family moved to Arlington in 1949. I was baptized in the Arlington Presbyterian Church by Rev. John Shell in 1955. Gary and I were married in the First Presbyterian Church Arlington in 1962 by Rev. Warren Neal, assisted by Rev. S. M. Bennett, who had married Gary’s parents in 1938. Both our children’s marriage ceremonies took place here. I attended church here in the early years of our marriage, but got away somehow…work, activities with our children and friends. In 2009, Gary and I began visiting various churches, but I was always Presbyterian in my soul so we attended services at FPCA during Rob McClelland’s tenure. We both felt that Rob’s messages spoke directly to us, the members were so very warm and welcoming, and the church just had a feeling of home.
Since becoming members in 2010, we have been active in a number of ways – we serve as ushers on 3rd and 5th Sundays, are members of the Family Living Sunday School class, and we participated in Bazaarnival activities. I previously served on the diaconate and continue to be a member of the Congregational Care and the Library teams; am a cocoordinator of the Family Living Class’s Back Pack Meals this year; and serve occasionally as a substitute office volunteer. My commitment to Christ is based in His amazing grace, by the Apostle’s Creed, and by John 13:34-35, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
My name is Nelson Abam. I am married to my beautiful wife Adeline and we have three smart and awesome kids. Ethan (9), Abigail (7) and Emily (3). I was born a Presbyterian. I believe in Christ and try to follow is teaching daily. I am humbly to be a part of this great Presbyterian family. My family and I have been coming to Sunday service here and we love and enjoy it. We hope to grow in our Christian faith and walk here. Thank you and may God continue to bless this congregation.
Class of 2020
My name is Jerise Agha and I was born in Cameroon West Africa. I migrated to the United States in 2002. I am married to my wonderful husband Divine Agha with whom we have been blessed with our
8-year-old daughter Christher. I was born and raised a Presbyterian Christian. I was raised by my grandmother who made sure I was grounded in God’s word and action. I was a member of Young Presbyterian in Cameroon and Christian Youth fellowship prior to moving to the United States.
I am a nurse and currently work in the intensive care unit at Methodist Charlton Medical Center. When my family moved from Delaware four years ago, we needed a Presbyterian church to continue to worship and praise God. We felt a warm welcome here in First Presbyterian Church of Arlington. Our daughter loves and looks forward to coming to church which is most important to us. I have always been taught since I was a child to put God first and everything else will fall in place. I am humbled to serve the Lord in the capacity of deacon. I pray and continue to pray God will guide and show me how to function in this capacity.
My name is Tommy Copeland and I am very excited and honored to serve on the 2018 Board of Deacons for FPCA! About 5 years ago, I committed my life to full-time Christian service and am now so blessed to serve such an amazing church who glorifies the Lord in every aspect. I joined FPCA in February of this year and have been an active member ever since, serving in the Chancel Choir and Ring of Praise Handbell Choir. I am also a part of the Foundations Sunday School Class. My family and I relocated to Arlington from Starkville, MS at the beginning of this year. I have been happily married to my wife, Katherine, for 4 years. We have two beautiful daughters: Autumn, 5, and Rachel, 2. The FPCA family has been such blessings in our lives! Thank you for this amazing opportunity.
First Presbyterian Church Arlington is an amazing example of how a church can reach out to individuals and help them find their place in an amazing community of faith. My wife and I joined earlier this year and have been guided by wonderful mentors. We have been welcomed into a great Sunday school class in which we have been called to teach on occasion. We have also been called to be a part of the church’s first Family on Mission group. We have found the group to be a wonderful way to extend our faith and challenge ourselves to not only be Christians but disciples as well. We have also headed up leading the Financial Peace University class, and along with the teachings of Dave Ramsey we are helping couples learn how to handle money God’s ways. In doing so we feel we’re helping make confident leaders that will be able to not only give their time but be able to give generously when the time comes. I’m married to my amazing wife Katina Gifford, and we enjoy reading the Bible every morning at breakfast. We’re so blessed to have FPCA as our new home, and we can’t wait to be leaders here!
My name is Katina Gifford, and I have loved every minute being a member of FPCA. I am married (and attached at the hip) to James Gifford, and my immediate family resides in North Richland Hills and Shreveport.
God started changing James’ and my lives when we began paying off our debts and learning God’s ways of handling money in May 2016. At that time, we were serving at FPC Dallas but wanted to be closer (geographically) to our church so that we could be more involved. That led us to visiting new churches in February 2017. We only had to visit one; Laura graciously invited us that first visit into the love of FPCA, and the rest is history!
Since March 2017, FPCA has played a HUGE role in helping me grow closer to Christ and walking with and serving Him every day. Right now, I enjoy co-leading our Sunday school class (Foundations) in a study about the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I am also excitedly looking forward to co-leading our 2nd Financial Peace University class in January 2018. And I love learning how to be a disciple of Christ in being a part of Family on Mission. It has literally changed my world view in everything I do.
Currently, I work as a school psychologist for Arlington ISD. When I’m not working, I love helping James with his work, fellowshipping with church family, visiting relatives, attending sporting events, reading, and watching movies.
Mission and Evangelism and Carter Connection
I’m from Brazil and I’ve been living here for a year and a half with my husband Eric Gottmann. We have been married for 8 years and have come to the United States, believing that this is a land blessed by God. I am an accountant in Brazil, with 10 years of experience.
At the age of 12 I made the decision to follow Jesus Christ. I was baptized and made my profession of faith. It was one of the happiest days of my life. I felt a joy that did not fit in the chest and that I could not express. Since then I have been following Jesus, and striving to fulfill my call. Christ is my Lord and Savior.
I was a member of a Presbyterian Church in Brazil for almost 7 years. A year and a half ago I became a member of this church and I can say that FPCA is my second family. It has been a blessing to me to be a member and to be able to contribute to this church. I was received with much love and affection by its members and from the first moment I prayed to God asking that he help me to be a blessing in the life of each person here.
I received the invitation from Russell and Laura Farnell to sing in the choir and it was a great pleasure for me to be able to do one of the things I love the most. Last summer I received an invitation to work with the youth, I confess I was frightened and afraid, but I asked God to help me. I faced my fears, and accepted the challenge that has been very gratifying.
My commitment to Christ means that God is the center of my life. Nothing supersedes Him, not myself, my job, my family, nothing. I gave my life to Christ when I was ten years old, but until I had an experience that forced me to totally walk by faith and trust in God for every breath and every move I made, do I feel that I was totally committed to God. I learned that God truly provides everything that I need, and that I can trust in Him for everything. He deserves my sincere worship and praise.
I have attended services at First Presbyterian in Arlington for three years. During this time I have met many people who share the same theology and belief system that I do. These people also seem to practice their beliefs, and this is shown in their community involvement and other expressions of their faith. My husband and I have always felt welcome, and have benefited from involvement in Sunday School and various bible studies. I have had the opportunity to participate in numerous bible study classes during the past 20 years. To serve as a deacon is an honor and a responsibility that I look forward to in order to fulfill my desire for service in our church.
I was graduated from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. I taught in the Grand Prairie Independent School District for many years, and I possess a great love for teaching and watching children mature and develop. My occupation now is with Texas Teachers of Tomorrow where I have the privilege of observing teachers who are working on the Alternative Certification in order to become accomplished teachers. This is a valuable experience because I am allowed to see these teachers mature and become one of the most important influences in young students’ lives.
Mission and Evangelism and Carter Connection
It is an amazing journey I have been on since becoming part of FPCA. Reconnecting with God and His Son, and understanding a small part of who Jesus was has brought me new wisdom. One of my favorite stories is John 4:4-26, the Woman at the Well. How charismatic Jesus must have been, how obvious the truth of who He was, for this cynical, world-weary woman to believe and witness to others that the Messiah was here!
As a former Rape Crisis Counselor, I feel very passionate about women’s issues, and about the dangers faced by so many today. I feel passionate about animals, particularly dogs and horses. Who can be unhappy when a dog jumps for joy at the sight of you? Or a horse places their head on your shoulder? I have felt God very clearly in those moments.
I hope to continue to grow in my relationship with God and with FPCA, in service as a deacon.