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 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.
Class of 2021
Ed has been a member of First Presbyterian Church of Arlington since 1989. Ed and his wife, Tina Hanson, were married in 1990 and baptized both of their children, Andrea and Ben, at FPCA. He has been involved with the Fellowship Team and the Bazaarnival. Ed is an active member of the Genesis Class.
I found my way back to FPCA after the death of my husband Carl. His parents, Helen and Jimmie, were long time members at this church. We were married here 49 years ago and subsequently moved to west Texas and then Houston. After returning to Arlington we became members at Trinity United Methodist. I also have a dear cousin here, Robert D. Paulk and wife Tina.
I’m 68, have two grown sons and one 5 year old granddaughter.
I don’t really know why I decided to visit FPCA two Christmases ago, but I’m so glad I did. Somehow it felt like the perfect place to rebuild my life after losing my husband. I’m not too involved yet but look forward to doing more. I have been to the lunch quilting group a few times and now attending the evening Women’s Bible Study. I also helped with the Carter Teacher’s Appreciation Breakfast.
Digging deeper into Bible Study these last few years has not only deepened my faith but opened my heart to stepping out in God’s service. I’m no longer afraid. It’s an honor to receive this nomination and I hope to be worthy of the title.
Mission & Evangelism
I have been chosen through my faith in Christ to serve FPCA as a Deacon.
I accepted Christ as my Savior while growing up at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Arlington as an active member of the youth group. I have been a member of FPCA for about 3 years. My wife Cynthia and I enjoy all the folks we see every week and assisting with the usher duties on occasion.
Cynthia and I have been married for 32 years and are blessed with two wonderful daughters and four beautiful grandchildren. We are both retired and having a heck of a good time.
I am looking forward to this opportunity to serve the church and community.
I am 25 years old and originally from the Jackson, Mississippi area. I am the only child of a single mother who often encouraged me to become more involved in the church community. I’ve grown up in the church my entire life, mainly in Baptist churches, and I often participated in any church choir that would allow me. I was baptized when I was ten years old, and accepted Jesus a few years later in high school. I stopped going to church for various reasons in college, but when I accepted a job in Texas and realized that I would be moving here, I knew that I needed a fresh start. Luckily, my oldest and closest friends, Tommy and Katherine Copeland, recommended their church to me, and the rest is history. After coming across several people that seemed to be disingenuous with their faith to the point where I became disillusioned for years, it’s nice to be a part of a community that is accepting to all people and puts God first. I’m looking forward to becoming an official member of this group, and I’m incredibly thankful for the kind people that I’ve met since I’ve been coming to this church. If you come across me, please don’t take my silence for disinterest. I am truly happy to be here.
I was born in Savannah, Georgia and I have lived in Nashville, Tennessee along with the DFW area. I was baptized and confirmed Catholic, but I have been attending Presbyterian churches since I was 19 years old. I have sung in the choir here at First Presbyterian Church for four years and I have enjoyed every moment of it. I am a UTA graduate and received a Bachelors in Music education. I am the head choir director at Prairie Vista Middle School, Eagle-Mountain-Saginaw ISD.
Congregational Care - Secretary
I am honored and excited to serve on the 2021 Board of Deacons.
I come from a family of long-time Presbyterians. As an infant, I was baptized in the Second Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I was born. My late Uncle was a Presbyterian Minister for over 40 years, serving in various Presbyterian churches in Kansas. And, both of my late parents served as Deacons and Elders in churches in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Dallas, Texas. I was raised in Tulsa, and was confirmed and joined John Knox Presbyterian Church at age 13. I graduated from Tulsa Edison High School, and subsequently attended Oklahoma State University, and Tulsa University.
My husband, Allen, and I met and later married at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas. We have two grown children, a son, Greg, and a daughter, Tammy. Greg and family recently moved to this area last summer, and he is a Weights/Mass Properties Engineer with Bell Helicopter in North Fort Worth. Our daughter, Tammy, is the Head Basketball Coach for women at Thompkins High School in Katy, Texas. We also have three grandchildren, Bryan (27); Amanda (25), a student at South Texas State; and Chandler (21), a student at Texas A&M University.
Since joining FPCA, we have been active in various ways. We helped with the Bazaarnival, and are members of the Family Living Class. I thought it would be fun to honor the members of this class by sending birthday and anniversary cards to them. It’s a project close to my heart and one I really enjoy. A couple of years ago, I was the Coordinator of the Family Living Class’s Back Pack Meals Program for Blanton Elementary School, which has since merged into the “New Day” program.
Over the past two years, my husband and I have gotten very involved with our next door neighbor, Carter Junior High. With the help of Adrian Rodriguez, we started a program offering students the opportunity to be awarded a laptop computer by entering an essay/contest,
telling why they need this, how they would use it, and what this would mean to them in their education going forward. To find the most deserving students, our objective was to draw from students living in a single-parent household, and those students who were high achievers, despite difficult circumstances at home. The first year we rolled out the program, 27 essays were submitted. Last year, there were over 100 essays submitted. This year, the essay contest begins in late November. I also serve Carter by fulfilling a position on the PTA Board of Directors, as the Recording Secretary. This is a two-year term and I will be rotating off at the end of this school year.
At this point, I look at my life as a “work in progress” because I am continually growing in my faith. My commitment to Christ means that God is the center of my life. My faith in Him is rock-solid, and every day I strive to let nothing come before Him. It is my hope that, as I serve as a Deacon, I will grow even stronger in my faith in Him, so that I will always be witness to the joy that I feel with Him in my heart, and always by my side.
I am excited to embark on this new “journey” of growth in my faith. I am ready for the opportunity to relate with others who are also on this “journey” with me. I know that “in Him all things are possible,” and I’m eager to see what is next in His plan for me.
Tara is a working mother and wife who is looking to serve FPCA in helping all members and visitors feel welcome. Family and community is important to her. Seeing the church through experience in the nursery, preschool, elementary, young adult, missional, and financial peace ministries brings a balanced perspective to the calling of a Deacon. It is an honor and a blessing to serve alongside her family in Christ. She and Coleman married 11 years ago in Lawton, OK, lived in Tulsa, OK for six years and moved to Arlington, TX seven years ago, and have two children, Hunter (5), and Carter (3).
She attended both First Presbyterian Church and First Christian Church with her sisters and grandmothers as a child. Getting to know the people beyond the pew was important, especially the ones with gum! But one of her favorite memories in the church was “pick a hymn Sunday.”
Class of 2022
I believe in Jesus Christ, our Savior! I believe in a personal relationship with him and grateful for his Bountiful Grace. I believe we need to fellowship together and study his Word through the studying of the Bible. We should also spread his knowledge of his love to everyone we meet. Happiness is having faith through the valleys and the peaks in life! God is good and faithful every day!!!!
I am one of the sinners here at FPCA, and have been a member about 29 years. Alan and I have been blessed to have raised our children here at FPCA. They all attended the Preschool, Sunday school, and all sang in the Choirs from 4 years of age through their senior years in High School. I have been blessed to be a part of many programs here at the church, from teaching vacation bible school to Cafe Agape, APNC committees, An Elder, just to name a few and I’m looking forward to being a Deacon! I am a member of the Loose Ends Sunday School Class and First Presbyterian Church Arlington is my church home.
I was baptized at FPCA as a baby by my uncle Leslie Ellison, a Presbyterian minister. I have grown up serving my community and God.
I am involved with the FPCA youth group, help with KFC and participated in Trunk or Treat. One of my favorite youth group activities this year was attending There4Gathering, a weekend conference for high school girls where we got to hear speakers and music celebrating God. I can’t wait to attend again in 2020!
I am currently a sophomore at Lamar High School. I am a member of the tennis team and participate in AVID and Choir. My brother Andrew is in 8th grade at Shackelford Jr High and my parents Clay and Kristi Carlisle serve at FPCA. I love Disney World and the band Why Don’t We.
I was baptized in the Presbyterian church as a baby by my Grandfather, a Presbyterian minister. I grew up in the Presbyterian church, attending with my grandparents. Christ to me means serving – I have always had a servants heart and love to help the church further their mission. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God know my life plan and I can trust that everything that happens in my life is part of God’s awesome plan for me.
I joined FPCA in 1998. I am an ordained elder and have served on several committees including Christian Education and Bequest & Planned Giving. I introduced Trunk or Treat to FPCA, coordinated the purchase of new tables and chairs for Fellowship Hall and taught Preschool and children’s Sunday school. I currently love supporting our youth group!
I grew up in Springfield, Missouri and attended college at The University of Tulsa. I moved to Texas in 1995 with American Airlines. I have worked at Sabre GLBL Inc. for 26 years, currently in Global Procurement where I manage an operations team in Southlake, TX and Bangalore, India. I have been married to my wonderful husband Clay (who grew up at FPCA) for 18 years. Fun fact – I met Clay standing in line at the Stewardship dinner in 1999…Joan Reynolds introduced us. I have three awesome kids: Allison is a sophomore at Lamar High School, Andrew is an 8th grader at Shackelford Jr High and Bailey, our sweet dog. I love going to Disney World with my kids and my favorite place to visit is Paris. I am looking forward to this opportunity to serve as a Deacon.
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and first came to north central Texas when I was 25. My work is teaching nursing at UTA. I am married but have no children. I have been a member of FPCA for the past 11 years. I served as a deacon in this congregation once before and am thankful for the opportunity to serve again.
“Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven that you should say, who will go up to heaven for us , and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it? No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.” Deut. 30:11-14
I’ve lived in Arlington/Grand Prairie since 1986 when my parents, two sisters and I moved to the area. As a military family, we had moved many times up until that point, but this was where we finally settled. I received my BBA, majoring in Management from UT Arlington and enjoyed a 27-year career with American, serving as Sr. Manager of Pilot Crew Scheduling when I retired in 2017. It’s exciting to see where God will lead me from here. I love traveling, enjoying the outdoors on beautiful days, and spending time with family/friends. One of the greatest joys of my life is being an Aunt to my wonderful nephew and niece.
First Presbyterian Church has been my church home since 1987 and I feel has been my extended family. I was a part of the Agape Choir and Youth group growing up. I’m grateful for the love and friendships that I’ve had here throughout the years and above all, the guidance and teaching that has helped me grow in my faith and love for Lord.
I currently serve on the Women’s Ministry Team and have served as a Deacon and on the Hospitality Team in the past. I’m looking forward to continuing to be of service to the Lord and to this Church.
I am a lifelong Presbyterian and come from a long line of Presbyterians. I was born in Dallas and was baptized and married in the same church as my father, Oak Cliff Presbyterian. I was a member of a well-known youth choir the Westminster Youth Choir of OCPC. The years I sang and performed on annual Summer tours across the US brought me closer to God and the realization of what an inspiring tool music can to spread the Word.
I have been married to Bill Richardson for 51 years. We have two children Eric and Amy and three granddaughters, Ruthie, Sabina and Vivie. I converted him to join the Presbyterian church. After Bill was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1971 we returned to Texas and
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, I have been a lifelong Presbyterian. I met my husband, Bud, while attending Drury University. We married after graduation and have lived in Chicago, St. Louis and Arlington. I became a member of First Presbyterian/Arlington in 1972 (yes, 48 years)! The Presbyterian tradition of being an inclusive, non- judgmental, welcoming denomination speaks to my Christian values.
While being a member of FPCA I have served in many ways; I was a member of the Women’s Ministry Team for 10 years, have served on the Congregational Nominating Team, have been a part of the Agape Youth parents group, Monday night Women’s Bible Study, have sung in the Chancel Choir and am a member of the Family Living Sunday School class.
I am committed to trying to be a strong follower of Jesus Christ. I find strength and guidance in reading his word. Matthew 5-7 is my guide especially Matthew 6:34.
I am married to Bud Smith. We have 2 adult children, Jennifer Brock and D. Grant Smith and 4 grandchildren. I taught elementary school before starting my own business, Magna Marketing, which I have operated for 32 years.
I look forward to continuing as a servant of Jesus Christ as a deacon and shepherding First Presbyterian, Arlington as we seek to grow and follow God’s plan for us.
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”