311 Third Avenue NE, Hickory NC, 28601 (828) 322-6058

Our Pastors and Staff

Rev. Paul Christy - Senior Pastor

Rev. Paul Christy

Paul was born in Avery County and is the son of a United Methodist preacher.  He grew up in a parsonage family and has one sister who is a UM preacher and 2 brothers who, likewise, are UM preachers.  Paul holds degrees from Brevard College, Pfeiffer University and Duke University.  Paul has been in active United Methodist ministry since 1988 and has served appointments at Providence and Cool Spring UMC, North Morganton UMC, First UMC Sylva, Highlands UMC, and now is happy to be at First UMC in Hickory.

Paul is married to Jamye Cartner Christy and they have two children. Zack is married to Crystal and is the proud parent of Paul and Jamye’s first grandson, Elijah.  Zack is a United Methodist minister at Plains United Methodist Church in Canton, NC .  Their other child, Caroline, is a rising senior at UNCC and is majoring in Communications. He enjoys spending time with his family, fly fishing, and playing golf. Paul is an avid runner who has run several half marathons and will admit that he is not fast, but enjoys running with others in the church.  Paul has served the United Methodist Church in different capacities over the years, not only as a local church Pastor, but in the Conference as well. He has served as the Director of Lay Speaking ministries for the Smoky Mountain District, on the District Board of Superintendents, and on the Conference Board for Equitable Salaries.

One of Paul’s greatest joys is being a part of foreign missions.  He has been to Bolivia, Haiti, Jamaica, and Bosnia on several occasions teaching and building either churches or barns in these countries.  Paul and Jamye are excited to be in ministry with all the good people of First UMC and look forward to sharing in ministry with Catawba County and in the city of Hickory.

Rev. Jennifer Forrester - Associate Pastor

Rev. Jennifer Forrester

Jennifer’s passion for ministry is found in relationships, service to others, preaching and worship. When not connecting with visitors and her new community, visiting folks, assisting in worship and discipleship planning, Jennifer’s joy is her husband, Robbie, and three wonderful children, Austin, Gracie, and Carson.  She enjoys boating, camping, and winter sports with her family, and is an avid runner, having completed several half marathons and many 5k and 10k races. Jennifer spent sixteen years in healthcare as a Medical Sonographer and college instructor before answering her call to ministry in 2011.  She is currently pursuing her ministerial/theological education at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and will graduate in July 2019.

Rev. Troy Howard - Minister of Missions and Adults

Rev. Troy Howard

Troy, a more than 30 year member of FUMC, Hickory, graduated UNC-Chapel in 1983 and taught in the Social Studies department at Hickory High School from 1984 until 2006. He joined the staff of FUMC in August of 2006.  Troy was ordained as a Deacon in full connection of the United Methodist Church in June 2016.  He currently serves as the Minister of Missions and All Sorts of Adult Stuff.

He and Mary, his wife of 32 years, have three children and three grandchildren.

Rev. Rhonda Smith - Minister of Music/Organist

Rev. Rhonda Smith

Rhonda began the study of piano at age 5 and has never stopped. She has performed as a soloist and accompanist in venues from gospel choir to Big Band. She has studied jazz piano, gospel piano, classical piano, and classical organ. Rhonda is a Colleague in the American Guild of Organists, a Certified Music Teacher with the American College of Musicians, and holds membership in the The Choristers Guild,  and the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. She is President of the Western North Carolina Chapter of The Fellowship of United Methodist Musicians. Her degrees include a BA in Music Education/Bible (HSBC), a MA in Sacred Music (BJU), a MA in Liberal Studies (UNCG), an EdS in Higher Education/Music (ASU) and a Graduate Certificate in Christian Studies(Asbury Theological Seminary). She was Commissioned as Provisonal Deacon of the United Methodist Church in June 2013. She has served FUMC, Hickory, NC since 2006.

Leeann Setliff - Director of Christian Education

Leeann Setliff

Leeann came to First UM Church in May 2015 after graduating from Asbury Theological Seminary. She is excited to be here and hopes to create wonderful relationships with those she encounters. God has blessed us with her being a part of the team.

Renee Shatley - Director of Chancel Choir

Renee Shatley

Renee is a National Board Certified teacher and honor graduate in music from Mars Hill College and the University of Illinois. She is Choral Director of Draughn High School in Valdese, NC, where she leads an immensely successful choral program.

Renee and her husband Drew live in Connelly Springs, NC, and have two children.

Debbie Parker - Administrative Assistant

Debbie Parker

Debbie lives in Hickory, NC, but grew up in Huntington Beach, CA, where she met her husband Mark. She and Mark have three children and a cat.

She is a P. K. (preachers kid) so ministry is in her nature. She loves to sing, play guitar, and fix and/or take apart mechanical things.

Dana Chrismon - Finance and Office Administrator

Dana Chrismon

Dana has been the Financial Secretary of FUMC, Hickory since 1998. She grew up in Greenville, SC and graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Accounting. She and her husband, Robert, joined FUMC, Hickory in 1988. Dana lives in Conover with her husband Robert and has a daughter and son.

Dennis Martz - Church Host

Dennis Martz

Dennis has been church Host since 2004. He brings a 30 year experience in the field of restaurant management and cooking.

Dennis lives in Newton, N. C. and attends the New Life Baptist Church.  He has two grown sons and two daughters.

Joan Macijewski - Minister of Older Adult Visitation

Joan Macijewski

Joan grew up in Hickory and is a life-long member of First United Methodist Church.  She is married to August Macijewski and they have two grown daughters and two grandchildren.  Joan enjoys being with family and friends, helping others, and being in the yard with flowers.

Dr. Jonathan Golden - Licensed Professional Counselor

Dr. Jonathan Golden

Dr. Jonathan Golden is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in North Carolina, as well as a National Certified Counselor (NCC).  He is a member of the American Counseling Association and Chi Sigma Iota (Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society).  He is also an ordained elder and member of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Dr. Golden has an MS and Ph.D. in pastoral counseling from Loyola College in Maryland, an MDiv from Duke Divinity School, and an MA in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names College in Oakland, CA.  He did his undergraduate work at Duke University.  His clinical experience includes internships at Hospice of the Chesapeake Bereavement Center (Millersville, MD), the College of Notre Dame Counseling Center (Baltimore, MD), and Towson University Counseling Center (Towson, MD).

Dr. Golden has been at the Hickory office of Sanctuary Counseling Group since 2002.  He is also available to churches and local groups for workshops and continuing education opportunities for both clergy and laity.