Meet the Staff
The Rev. George Spransy arrived as the Interim Pastor of First Presbyterian Church on December 8, 2002. He most recently served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Caruthersville, Mo., from 1999-2002. His stated goal as interim pastor of our church is “to prepare this congregation in the best way possible for the calling and arrival of its next installed pastor.”
George brings to Parkersburg 34 years of experience. He has served as the solo pastor of churches in Spring Lake, NC, and Clemmons, NC, in addition to Caruthersville and as associate pastor of the Winter Park (Florida) Presbyterian Church and the Highland Presbyterian Church of Louisville, KY. Following his service in Winter Park, he served as interim for three churches in the Central Florida Presbytery: Riverside in Daytona Beach, Wekiva in Longwood, and First Church in Sanford.
A native of North Carolina, George calls Chapel Hill “home.” He graduated from Chapel Hill High School and holds an associate’s degree from Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC, an AB from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master’s of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia.
He has extensive experience on the Presbytery level, having served on the coordinating council of three presbyteries, as chair of the Stewardship and Finance Committees in two presbyteries, and on numerous special presbytery committees and task forces. He also served as Moderator of the Fayetteville Presbytery in 1974.
George and his wife Margaret live in Vienna, West Virginia.
As First Presbyterian Church’s Director of Community Outreach, David Kaufman plays an important role in the church’s mission – both inside and outside the church. He works with church leaders to develop vision and leadership in missions, communications and fellowship. He looks for ways to let the community know who the church is and linking with community service as a church. He also works hard to develop religious and fellowship opportunities for community members to experience First Presbyterian without the “hard-sell” approach.
David’s no stranger to mission work and community leadership, having worked with the Peace Corps. He and wife Ann joined Habitat for Humanity, where they trained in Georgia and Kenya and found themselves stationed in Botswana, southern Africa. “Our work really was faith-based community development. It was putting our faith into action that really attracted us to Habitat – meeting specific, concrete needs, and building local leadership: the framework.”
After returning from Africa, David worked with the Gilmer County Schools, Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center, and Community Resources Inc., before he joined First Presbyterian’s staff in 2000.
David holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio’s Hiram College and a master’s degree in social administration from the Mandel School of Applied Social Science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
David and Ann have three children: Emma, Noah, and Adam.
Director of Music
Richard Boothby is First Presbyterian’s “singing lawyer.” He joined First Presbyterian as its Director of Music in 1999. He works closely with the Music and Arts committee to plan music for worship services and to brainstorm special events (such as Advent concerts and the Marie Boette Concerts.)
As director, he conducts the Sanctuary Choir and leads the music at the early service, and works with smaller groups and ensembles for special occasions and programs.
In May 2003, Rick graduated with his law degree from Ohio State University and practices in West Virginia. He also holds a bachelor of music degree in music education and a master’s degree in vocal performance from Ohio University. He taught in both public and private schools, serving as director of music for the New Philadelphia (Ohio) City Schools and Ohio Valley College of Parkersburg.
Rick also serves regularly as a clinician for church and school ensembles.
Jane Irvine brings considerable talent as an accompanist and organist to First Presbyterian Church, which has been her church home since 1992.
When she’s not playing for worship or rehearsals, you’ll find her accompanying a local professional female trio, Just Us Friends, accompanying the Historic Smoot Theatre’s Camp Vaudeville for children, serving as musical director for a show at the Parkersburg Actor’s Guild, the Mid-Ohio Valley Players or the Young Artists Inc., or … well, you get the picture. She’s a busy woman. And that’s just in her off hours.
During the week, Jane teaches vocal music and handbells to kindergarteners through middle school, where she also serves as Pathwise Mentor for entry-year teachers.
She holds a master of arts in music from Ohio University and a bachelor of arts in music from West Virginia University. In addition, she’s a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, an honorary music fraternity, Mu Phi Epsilon, Music Educators National Conference, Ohio Music Educators Association, the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, and the American Guild of Organists.
Jane’s handbell experience is extensive. A sampling: she was site coordinator for the 1992 and 1994 West Virginia State Handbell conferences, coordinated the 1994 Mid-Ohio Valley Spring Ring, and directed the Celebramos Handbell Ringers in several performances at Ameriflora’s international exhibition in Columbus, Ohio.
Director of Youth
and College Ministries
Jason Kesterson joined First Presbyterian Church as its Director of Youth and College Ministries in 2000, and has been a church member since July 1999.
The West Virginia native earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Marshall University in Huntington, where he was active in CAP, or Child Assault Prevention. During his summers he was also a camp counselor at the Presbyterian church camp, Bluestone.
Jason met his wife Amy during college and married after graduation. He worked for Pier 1 Imports for five years, and was the manager at the Parkersburg location before he moved into youth work full-time.
First Presbyterian youth will tell you that Jason is most at home in the outdoors, and he admits he has a love for outdoor activities like kayaking, backpacking, rapelling, rock climbing, and white water canoeing. He also believes in introducing youth to these outdoor experiences that not only teach good self-esteem and teamwork but also allow youth to discover God in the midst of their activities.
Amy Kesterson joined First Presbyterian Church as its Director of Children’s Ministries in 2000. She graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences and a concentration in Early Education.
She worked as a full-time counselor at Bluestone Conference Center from 1993-1996. In Huntington, she taught after-school and summer classes for fourth through sixth graders at the Beverly Hills Childcare Center from 1996-1998. After moving to Parkersburg, she became director of the Parkersburg Day Nursery, where she worked for families in need.
Like her husband Jason, Amy also enjoys outdoor activities, including backpacking, kayaking, climbing and rapelling, and canoeing. She shares her love of nature with children and youth.
Jason and Amy’s family includes three kids, Marley, Bram, and Cora.
Judi Echard’s voice is usually the one you’ll first hear when you call First Presbyterian. It’s her smiling face that you’ll see if you visit. Judi is a valuable member of the church’s staff. She keeps the office running smoothly, prepares the newsletters and weekly bulletins, and coordinates the busy schedules of all the staff members (and sometimes the volunteers, too).
Ralph Phillips is a recent addition to First Presbyterian’s music staff, as assistant organist. He lends his considerable talents as an organist and accompanist on at least one Sunday a month, and can often be found working high up in the organ loft, repairing the church’s organ. Ralph is an engineer at Du Pont. He and his wife Pam have one child, Paige.
Carolyn Wilcoxen keeps the church straight, financially speaking. Check back later for her bio!