Paul Christy

Senior Pastor


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 the active United Methodist ministry since 1988 and has served appointments throughout North Carolina and now has been at First UMC in Hickory for 8 years.

He is married to Jamye Cartner Christy and they have two children Zack and Caroline. Paul enjoys spending time with his family and Fly fishing and playing golf. Paul is an avid runner who has run several half marathons and he 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,  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, the Dominican Republic, and Bosnia on several occasions teaching and building either churches or barns in these countries.  

Jennifer Forrester

Associate Pastor


Jennifer’s passion for ministry is found in relationships, service to others, preaching and worship. When not connecting with visitors and the community, visiting folks, assisting in worship and discipleship planning, Jennifer’s joy is her family: her husband, Robbie, and three amazing children, Austin, Gracie, and Carson.  Her favorite place is anywhere on the lake. She also enjoys 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 a second year Provisional Elder, and by the grace of God is working toward being ordained as a Full Connection Elder in 2025.

Margaret Wannemacher

Older Adult Visitation


Margaret spent most of her childhood in eastern NC (unfortunately not at the beach!) She has deep roots in Hickory. Her GGF Dallas Harvey Russell lived in the Russell House on the campus of Lenoir Rhyne.

After marrying Ted in 1976, she moved to Hickory, and they joined FUMC. Their son Daniel and his wife live in Raleigh, and their daughter Sarah lives in Hickory. Before becoming a licensed local pastor in the UMC in 2006, Margaret was a pediatric nurse for many years.  She served a church in North Iredell County and 3 churches in Ashe County before retiring in 2020.  Her hobbies are walking, reading, writing, and spending time with her family, including their dog Tucker.  Margaret’s passion in ministry is teaching, but many consider shepherding/pastoral care her gift.

Heather Landry

Director of Children Ministries


Suzi Moore

Weekday Nursery School Director


Dana Chrismon

Finance & Office Manager


Debbie Parker

Administrative Assistant


Donna Waldron

Office Assistant


Renee Shatley

Director of Music


Jenny Kistler

Vine Worship Leader


Amy Crawford

Hospitality Manager


Garland Rhinehardt

Facilities Manager

Darren Lael


Terry Creasman

Hospitality Team

Deanna Foster

Youth & Children Ministries Assistant


Payton Cross

Communications & Ministry Team


Dakota Waddell

AV Administrator


Zach Shatley

AV Administrator


Staff Resources