MEET THE STAFF

Pastors

Rev. Dr. Ricky James

Senior Pastor

Ricky grew up in Hattiesburg. He holds a B.A. from Millsaps College, a M.Div from Duke University, and a Doctorate in Biblical interpretation and proclamation from Emory University. He serves on the Millsaps College Board of Trustees, the Candler School of Theology Alumni Board, and the Board of Directors for Stewpot Community Services. Additionally, he is Chair of the board for the Center for Ministry, and a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry for the Mississippi Annual Conference.

Ricky became the Senior Pastor at Clinton UMC in 2019. Prior to that he served as the Senior Pastor of St. Luke’s in the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson for 9 years and  was the Pastor of Evangelism and Young Adults at Christ UMC in Jackson for 3 years.

He is married to Megan, who is an Alumni Affairs Associate at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and a National Executive Board Director for Delta Delta Delta Sorority.

They are the proud parents of two beautiful children. Ricky enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and following college sports.

Rev. Sharonda Medina

Pastor of Spiritual Formation.

Sharonda serves as Pastor of Spiritual Formation. Rev. Medina has a BA in Communication from American University in Washington, DC, and a Masters in Ministry Leadership from Rockbridge Seminary. She is a Licensed Local Pastor in the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church.

She has a heart for sharing God’s love with people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Sharonda delivers relatable, down-to-earth messages with a clear “call to action”. She often says that a sermon doesn’t end when she stops preaching; a sermon ends when we take the next step of applying and acting on God’s Word.

Sharonda is married to Dr. Victor Medina, an Environmental Research Engineer, and they live in Clinton with their son, Mason. The Medina family enjoys game nights, movies, and traveling together.

Rev. David Steveline

Membership Care Pastor

David is our Membership Care Pastor. David and his wife, Alma, have become a meaningful part of our Community of Faith.”

David has a very amazing story of his life journey to date. He was born in Baltimore MD to a single mother at a time when single parenting was rare. His Mother worked as a waitress during his childhood. In remembering his childhood, David says, “What I do know is that I never lacked for anything I truly needed (as a child).”

He was part of the Free Methodist Church in his childhood and adolescent years. Again, David states, “Looking back on those years, that little Free Methodist Church was heaven’s gift to a lonely boy who needed the love and nurture of God’s People. They taught me to love Scripture. It is a gift I treasure still.”

In 1998, David and Alma moved to Mississippi for David to become the Director of Library Services at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson. In addition, David taught Beginning Greek and Preaching. After serving pastorates in the Brookhaven District and teaching Greek at Belhaven University, David and Alma retired to their home here in Clinton.

Music Directors

Tommy Steadman

Director of Music Ministry

Tommy a native of Morton, MS, has a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Masters of Music degree from Mississippi College.   He loves playing tennis and basketball in his spare time.

He has served MS United Methodist churches in Forest, Brandon, McComb, Jackson, and Clinton during his career.  Tommy heads a vibrant music ministry at First Methodist which includes 10 choirs and groups.  There are choirs for all ages, including singing choirs, handbell choirs, and orchestra.

Tom Edwards

Connection Worship Leader

Tom and his wife, Jamie, have lived in Clinton since 2003 and are raising three beautiful girls here, Abbey, Molly and Elsie. Tom has served at First Methodist as the Connection Worship Leader since August of 2011 and is also an itinerant worship leader for various church conferences, camps and retreats. Through working with the Connection and student worship bands, Tom hopes to provide an opportunity for musicians of any age and skill level to plug in and serve in a nurturing environment. As a worship leader, he longs to bring people to a place where their hearts and minds connect with the gospel and then join together with their brothers and sisters in Christ in celebrating our great God. To learn a little more about him, check out tomedwardsband.com.

Dr. Brenda Wilder

Pianist

Brenda is a Music Specialist, Piano Teacher, Church Pianist at First Methodist, and Adjunct Music Faculty Member at Tougaloo College. She holds degrees from Mississippi State University, MS University for Women, and the University of MS. Several of Dr. Wilder’s articles have been printed in national publications such as Pedalpoint and Church Musician Today, including an article about technology in her piano studio. She is listed in the 2000 Edition of Who’s Who of American Women and was a featured performer in Jackson, MS, for a National Steinway Tour in 2002. Dr. Wilder resides in Clinton, Mississippi, with her husband, Don. They have two children and eight wonderful grandchildren.

Dr. Wilder has served on faculty at Music Weeks in Glorieta, New Mexico, and Ridgecrest, North Carolina, for the Southern Baptist Convention and on faculty for the Mississippi Piano Camp at Hinds Community College. She has served as a National Piano Guild Adjudicator in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Colorado, and Connecticut, as well as adjudicator for numerous piano festivals.

Ginny Miller

Organist

Ginny was born in Vicksburg , MS. She has two grown daughters, Vicky Sartin, and Elizabeth Van Egmond. She has three cats and likes to crochet, read, do sudoku puzzles, sew and travel.

Ginny has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mississippi College, majoring in history, with a minor in music. She works at Foreman Perry Law firm as a paralegal. She has played the organ in many cities in Mississippi, and has been playing at FUMC since 1981.

Jalysa Jones

Music Assistant

Ministry

Renee Neblett

Director of Adult Ministry

Adult Fellowship / Ages and Stages

Renee grew up in Jackson, MS. She is married to Rob Neblett and they have a daughter, Robin, and a son, Robsen.

She received a BA in Interior Design from the University of Mississippi, and then continued her education at the University of Southern Mississippi, earning an MS in Exercise Physiology. She worked as an Exercise Physiologist for 15 years at Baptist Healthplex, of which the last couple of years were exclusively with Outpatient Cardiac Rehab. She changed careers in November 2006 after becoming interested in teaching a class at FUMC, then accepted her current position.

 

Hunter Lacefield

Director of Youth Ministry

Hunter is the Director of Youth Ministry. Hunter is from Strayhorn, MS. He is a 2018 graduate of Mississippi College (MC) where he played baseball and completed a Bachelor’s in Christian Ministry Studies with a minor in Biology.

While at MC, Hunter played baseball, served as a leader in our College & Career Ministry, and also volunteered at His Heart Ministries in downtown Jackson.

Hunter looks forward to sharing the Word with students, helping provide them with a Christ-centered environment, and equipping them to carry their faith out in their daily lives.

Sarah Kate Griffin

Director of Kids' Ministry

Sarah Kate is the Director of Kids’ Ministry. She is originally from Grenada, MS, and moved to Clinton to attend Mississippi College (MC).

In 2018, SK graduated with her BS in Psychology. During her years at MC, Sarah Kate plugged into our church.  Going on two mission trips to Cambodia, serving as a leader in our College & Career group, and snapping pictures of church events, Clinton First United Methodist quickly became her church home.

SK is so excited to be on staff now and is pumped to share her passion for encouraging kids to know Jesus more through developmentally appropriate ways!  She says, “Kid’s aren’t little adults, so we need to stop acting that way!  They have an incredible capacity to chat, create, and change — and I am stoked to walk alongside and see just how they do that!”

Marti May

Director of College and Career

Marti, her husband John, and their children, Taylor, Emma, and twins, Hannah and Will, moved to Clinton from Calhoun, Louisiana, in 2014. They were previously members of First United Methodist-Monroe and quickly found a home here at First Methodist.

Marti and John have known each other since preschool and began dating their senior year of high school. They attended University of Louisiana at Monroe where Marti received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, graduating Valedictorian of her class. After college, John and Marti married and Marti worked as a Labor and Delivery Nurse for seven years before making the move to be home with their four children in their younger years.

For the last three years Marti has served as a small group leader and has been an active parent for our youth group, chaperoning youth events. She also serves on the Lay Leadership and Spiritual Formation Committees. Marti and John are members of the Redwoods Sunday School class.

Marti has the gift of hospitality and she and John are intentional about inviting college students and young adults to their home for dinner and game nights. Marti says, “I’m honored to be given this opportunity to serve and I am excited to meet our current students and reach out at Mississippi College and Hinds to meet new students.”

Kathy Fisher

Director of Weekday Ministry

A native of Enterprise, Mississippi, Kathy has lived in Clinton since 1983.  She is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education.  She married Phil Fisher in 1976 and they have two grown children, Brian (Mimmie) and Dana.  They also are grandparents to three wonderful grandchildren.  Kathy taught preschool, kindergarten and second grade for many years before joining the First Methodist staff as Weekday Ministries Director in July 2008.

Sarah Rice Warren

Nursery Coordinator

Administration and Staff

Cindy Livengood

Administrative Secretary

Cindy was born and raised in Northwest MO.  She has one grown daughter, Jill (Gerad) Hardy and blessed with five beautiful and talented grandchildren.  Sierra, Nashville, TN; Avery, Papillion, NE; Jackson, Alex and Emmy, Clinton MS.

Cindy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tarkio College in Tarkio, MO, majoring in Business Administration.

Some of her most rewarding jobs were being a teacher’s assistant for Pre-School, teaching Life Skills to adjudicated youth, and being a Parents as Teachers educator providing home visits to preschool age children.

Cindy recently left her position as a Law Office Manager with a Nationwide law firm in Kansas City, MO.  She moved to  Clinton, MS to enjoy her daughter’s family and work at her new position as Administrative Secretary at First United Methodist Church.

Office Information

Office Hours

Monday – Friday – 8 AM – 4 PM

Office Phone

Front Desk, Information and Staff

601.924.6671

Address

First United Methodist Church
100 Mt. Salus Drive
Clinton, MS 39056

Weekday Ministries

Weekday Hours

Monday – Friday – 8 AM – 6 PM

Weekday Phone

Preschool, After School Care and Mother’s Morning Out

601.924.9961

Address

First United Methodist Church
100 Mt. Salus Drive
Clinton, MS 39056