The Reverend Dr. Barta was pastor of First Presbyterian Church from 2002 to 2012. He and his wife Carol came to First Presbyterian from United Presbyterian Church in Universal, Pennsylvania where he served for 27 years. In 2013 the congregation elected him Pastor Emeritus as an expression of gratitude and respect for his ministry. He continues his ministry by serving in the Presbytery of Western Kentucky and supplying as a minister in Presbytery pulpits. A member of the Nashville Symphony Chorus, Dr. Barta also lends his beautiful voice to our choir.
Commissioned Ruling Elder Goolsby, a retired teacher and librarian, is First Presbyterian’s first CRE. As a CRE (formerly Commissioned Lay Pastor), she is a ruling elder trained to preach, lead worship, and carry out other pastoral functions that aid the minister in meeting the mission needs of the church. After completing CRE study with the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Pam was commissioned by the Presbytery of Western Kentucky in 2011. She has led “A Time for Young Disciples” during the worship service since 2004. Among her many other activities at FPC, she has taught Sunday School, worked with the Youth Group and participated in mission trips to Nicaragua. Pam’s husband Wayne and their children, Chandler and William, are also active participants in church activities.
Gayle became the organist at First Presbyterian in January 2006 and the choir director in January 2014. In addition, she is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for the Christian County Public Schools and the organist for Hopkinsville Cumberland Presbyterian Church. She holds a B.A., with a major in music and minor in speech and drama, from Belmont University, Nashville; M.M.E. from Murray State University; and an ESL teaching endorsement from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green. After moving to Ft. Worth, Texas, she became accompanist and assisting director of the Texas Girls’ Choir. She also taught high school and middle school choir for 23 years and served as organist choirmaster in Ft. Worth churches. She returned to Kentucky in 2000 to care for her mother. Wherever she lives, her music continues to be shared with churches, schools and the community.
Dr. Lester served as the choir director at First Presbyterian from 1995 to 2014 and as Community Outreach Leader from 2014 to 2016. She is a native of Hopkinsville and graduate of Hopkinsville High School. After graduating from the University of Kentucky, she began teaching music at H. H. S. and became the music director at First Presbyterian Church. After Joan and her husband Bob Lester moved away from Hopkinsville, she taught music in elementary and middle schools in Florida, New York, and Texas. She also taught music at Elmira College in Ithaca, N. Y., and the University of Texas in Austin. In all of the places she has lived, Joan has been a member and/or director of church choirs and community choirs, music organizations and events. Her degrees in music include a B.M. from U. K.; an M. M. from Ithaca College, N. Y.; and a D.M.A. from University of Texas, Austin. Her children live in Nashville, Arizona, and New Zealand.
The youth group, which meets on Wednesday nights, is currently being led by the members of the Young Adult Sunday School class. Those members include Chandler and Jordan Ladd, Jordan and Ben Talley, and Jessica and Josh Hill.
Judy became the church’s treasurer in 2014 after retiring and returning to Hopkinsville and First Presbyterian from Nashvillle, Tennessee in 2013. Her daughter and son-in-law, Jane and John Stevenson, are also members of FPC, as well as her granddaughter Rachel, a nurse in Louisville, and grandson John, a student at Western Kentucky State University. Judy’s daughter and son-in-law, Anna and Leif Bunting, live in Louisville and have two children, Jackson and Phoebe. The photo of Judy is on The Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary where her son John McPherson lives. Judy is happy to be back at First Presbyterian serving as Treasurer, and the congregation is glad to welcome her back.
Lanesha joined the staff in 2002. Her years of experience of working with infant and preschool children began at age 13 when she started helping with infants in the church she attended at that time. She is a graduate of Hopkinsville High School and Hopkinsville Community College and holds an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. After additional training in child development and care, she earned a Child Development Associate certificate. Lanesha has worked for several years in area child care centers and is currently employed by First Methodist Church Day Care Center.
Jeremy became a staff member in October 2005 after his father Bobby retired from many years of service in the same position. In addition to his position at First Presbyterian, Jeremy is also employed by the City of Hopkinsville. He and his wife Andrea have two daughters, Kayla and Gracie. Jeremy’s care for the church and congregation is always evident in his friendly manner and thoughtfulness.