Staff


  • Rev. Daryl Brown

    Senior Pastor

    Daryl Brown has been in church ministry for 30 years and was appointed as Senior Pastor in June of 2019. He is a graduate of Taylor County High School, Columbus College, and Candler School of Theology of Emory University. 


    Daryl is married to Jane Brown, and together they have two happily married daughters, a son and a grandson. 


    Daryl is an ordained Elder with the South Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and is passionate about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. “I am humbled, and honored to be serving Christ by serving as the pastor of the community of faith at First UMC of Americus!”


    Daryl enjoys outdoor life, hunting, fishing, golfing, music, spending time with family and friends, watching movies, and watching sports. 

  • Stephanie Updike

    Director of Children's Ministries

    Interim director of bright beginnings preschool

    I have been married to Johnny Updike since 9/2/95. We have three kids, John (20) Freddie (18) and Adalyn (7).  


    I oversee all Children's activities in the church....Nursery age thru 5th grade.

    Nursery, Children's Church, Sunday School, Wednesday Night Bible Studies, teach Chapel with Bright Beginnings kids each week, Confirmation, Acolytes

    - in charge of Operation Christmas Child for our church

    - in charge of Nursery workers, and their time/schedules for the church

    - in charge of Safe Sanctuaries files/spreadsheets..keeping them up to date, and make sure everyone is trained/re-trained when needed.

    - in charge of Fall Festival, Halloween Community Outreach, Blessing of the Bookbags, Vacation Bible School, Summer Activities/Camp



    I attended Columbus College.  I was previously the Preschool Director for Bright Beginnings for 7 years, before moving away. But we are now back in Americus and love it!


    I was born here in Americus, at Sumter Regional, while living in Cordele. Then my family moved to Columbus when I was 5. 


    I love to read and spend time with my family. 


    And I love that Americus First makes me feel like family, every time I walk through the doors of the church! The love that is shared is like none other! I love helping the kids to grow in their faith, and showing them how God wants us to live for Him. I love making the kids smile and enjoy coming to church! :)

  • Johnny Updike

    MINISTER OF OUTREACH AND STUDENTS

    I was born and raised in Columbus, Ga. I attended Columbus High School (1990) and Columbus State University. I Joined St. Mark UMC in 8th grade and was a committed member of the youth group. It was here, under my youth pastors, Terry Kelley and Mike Wilson, that I learned the foundation for youth ministry.  It was also here that I met my future wife, Stephanie, in the youth group. We loved and cherish our time at St. Mark, the passion for ministry that was created, the relationships that were formed, the growth we experienced and the beginnings of our family. Our first 2 children, John, March 27, 1999 and Freddie, May 7,  2001, were born while we served at St. Mark. We also have a daughter, Adalyn, born November 5, 2012.


    I have been involved with student ministry for over 20 years. This is my 10th year serving as Youth pastor at First United Methodist Church of Americus. I served here from 2003-2010 and again from 2017 until the present. Other places I served as youth pastor are St.Mark UMC in Columbus from 1997-2001 and as the student intern at St. Mark from 1992-1997. I have also served as the Campus Minister at The Wesley Foundation @ Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus from 2010-2013 and again from 2018 until the present.


    I have always loved working with students. Student ministry is where I am called to served. It is where my gifts and strengths are and where God has used me the most. My experience with students helps in so many ways when dealing with the challenges that todays student face daily. I still have a strong passion for this ministry and love guiding them and helping them grow in their spiritual walk. Our students have grown over the last 2 years and our ministry here grown numerically as well. We have “good fruit” and I look forward with great anticipation and expectation for our growth to continue!

  • Sam Morris

    Director of Worship Arts

    I am a servant of the Lord, and a music lover. I am privileged to work with such amazing men and women of faith here at AFUMC, and it is quite a fulfilling experience.

     

    I have always been a Georgia boy, and I probably will remain as such unless the Lord calls me elsewhere. I grew up in the Commerce-Athens area for the first 28 years of my life. I have a BA in music performance from Emmanuel College (Franklin Springs, GA), and a MA in music performance from Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA). Before moving to Americus, I served at Indian Creek Baptist Church as minister of music for approximately 3 & ½ years.

     

    Most of my colleagues moved off to be performers or educators, but I knew my calling would be in ministry. I love leading people in worship through music. It is such a powerful experience when the body of Christ earnestly comes together to worship in spirit and in truth.

  • John Teate

    Early Service Worship Leader

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  • Alwen Yeung

    Pianist

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  • Mark Watford

    Organist

    Mark is from Americus, GA, and he is our staff organist. Mark is an accomplished mathematician and musician. He attended Georgia Southwestern University where he earned a B.S. in mathematics, and a B.A. in music. He also attended the University of Georgia where he earned an M.A.T. in mathematics education. Currently, Mark is pursuing a doctorate in mathematics education from Florida State University.

  • Sylvia Roland

    Church Hostess

    I began serving as church hostess in January of 2015. I felt called to take the hostess position because it sat vacant for several months. I love entertaining and visiting with people, so this job suits my personality perfectly. I am a retired educator, having worked most of my career in Arkansas and Florida. I serve on the Board of Education of Sumter County Schools; I am the incoming first vice president of Kiwanis; I am a member of the board of Books for Sumter Children; and I play tennis recreationally. In addition, I sing with the Americus Voices quartet at FUMC as well as serve as a handbell soloist. I grew up in Arkansas and lived there until shortly before I met my husband, Donnie. He is the reason I live in Americus.I have a BA in English from Hendrix College, a liberal arts Methodist-affiliated college in Conway, Arkansas. I also have an MSE and EdS in educational administration and leadership from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I have two children, Sara Hoke DeStefano and Joseph Hoke. They live and work in Arkansas. 

  • Doug Gatian

    Church Administrator

    After graduating from Americus High School, I moved to Atlanta and attended Georgia State University where I earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice. I worked for the State of Georgia as an officer and special agent. Rosalind and I moved back to Americus after the birth of our first child. While working as a health care administrator I earned a M.S. in Administration from Ga. Southwestern College. I enjoy photography, pen & ink, scuba diving and family travel with Rosalind, our children and grandchildren.


  • Elaine Smith

    Finance Secretary

    I was born in Vidalia, Georgia and graduated from Vidalia High School.  After moving to Americus, I received my BS Degree in Business Administration from Georgia Southwestern State University in 1980.  Americus First became my church home in 1984 when my son, Steven, was baptised here.  After working many years in the accounting field, I felt led to leave the corporate world and was blessed to become the Finance Secretary of FUMC in 2012.

    Scrapbooking, travelling and most of all, spending time with my family are my favorite spare-time activities.

  • Lacey Fulton

    Secretary

    I am a secretary here at Americus FUMC. I communicate with the staff and church members, maintain the membership records and the church calendar, complete and submit discipleship reports, and share other secretarial duties with Lyn. I was born and raised in Americus, GA.  I graduated from Americus High School and Valdosta State University with a B.A. in English.  It is a blessing to work here because I have witnessed the generous acts of kindness and charity shown by the congregation and that makes me happy to be of help to them.

  • Lyn Dozier

    Secretary

    I am one of two secretaries here.  I share duties with the other secretary, but many know my name from the numerous emails I send out. Besides being a preacher's kid, I have a Master's Degree in Business Education and taught Business Education at South Georgia Technical Institute for 20 years. The two made this job a good fit for me. I grew up in south Georgia parsonages, except for one year spent in Charleston, West Virginia.  My family likes to claim St. Simons Island as our "home town" because we spent summer vacations there while my dad worked in summer camps at Epworth By the Sea. I became a member here because members here were so good to me and my son when I was a single mom.  I wanted to give back to others. My hobbies include crocheting, photography, making greeting cards, watching Sci Fi shows and movies and bragging on my grandson. 

  • Jarvis Pitts

    Custodian

    Jarvis Pitts is a 2015 graduate of Americus-Sumter High School. He began working here in October 2016. As custodian, Jarvis is responsible for keeping the entire campus clean, setting up for all events and taking down tables and chairs after the events. He also is on call for helping others as needed. One of the things Jarvis likes most about working at FUMC is interacting with our church congregation members and their families.  He also praises the work ethic of his fellow staff members. He likes talking to the Bright Beginnings kids, and they love seeing him in the hallways. When Jarvis isn't at work, he enjoys playing football and basketball and taking walks. He also enjoys listening to all kinds of music. He helps people move and enjoys the heavy lifting involved in moving furniture and appliances. Jarvis is here to serve!