Rev. Curtis McKee
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Curtis (Curt) McKee was born in Madisonville, TN and grew up in Loudon County, TN; attended Hiwassee and Tennessee Wesleyan Colleges; received his Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY.  Since 1980, he has been pastor of United Methodist Churches in Tennessee and Virginia.  Curt has preached and sung in more than a hundred churches in several states and visited nine different countries on volunteer mission trips.  Curt’s hobbies include: hiking,reading, writing, golf, playing acoustic guitar, and songwriting.  He has written numerous songs for children, as well as for missions’ emphases in Holston Conference.
     Curt met his wife, Donna, at Hiwassee College and they married following her graduation from TWC in 1983.  Donna is from Knoxville and has been an educator for 20 years in public and private elementary schools in Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia.  She enjoys hiking, symphony concerts, and singing.  They have three grown sons: Jared teaches ESL at Silla University in Busan, South Korea, Jeff lives in the Atlanta area and works at Dobbins Air Force Base, and Josh currently works for Disney and soon will begin a contract with Carnival Cruise Lines as Assistant Activities Host.
     Curt has a passion for sharing the Gospel of Christ, which has shaped his life and has the power to transform the lives of others.

Administrative Assistant
Afton Nordean

Afton has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design and loves all things creative. She lives in Cleveland with her husband, Josh, and their three boys.

WILKINS-JOHN-55Financial Secretary
Mae Wilkins
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Mae is a devoted wife to John Wilkins. She was born into the family at First United Methodist and became a member at the age of 9 years old. She has been the Financial Secretary since 1999.

INGRAM-MATTHEW-49Director of Children’s Ministry
Jill Ingram
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Jill is married with two beautiful daughters. She worked in our First UMC Parent’s Day Out Program from 1998-2005 as a teacher and from 2005 to the present as our Director of Children’s Ministry. Her goal is to partner with parents to raise children who passionately follow God, know God, and share His love and grace with others.

Director of Student Ministries
Joe Ratledge
423-476-4504 ex. 104

Joe comes to First UMC after serving a four year appointment as a Licensed Local Pastor at Tasso and Charleston UMC’s in Bradley County.  He began his career teaching and shaping youth when he was a Freshman in High School and was asked to help teach swim lessons at the Athens-McMinn Family YMCA, now he is our Director of Children’s Ministry.  Between that time he has been a sometimes paid, sometimes volunteer youth minister to a group of over 100 youth all the way down to one.  He has also been a Program Manager for Community-based residential treatment group homes, served as Director of Youth Development and Healthy Living at a YMCA, and was Chaplain at Hiwassee College when that storied institution closed in 2019.  Somehow he has also earned a Master of Divinity from Wake Forest University, a Master of Science in Patient Counseling at Virginia Commonwealth University, and after finishing his dissertation will have a Doctor of Ministry from Duke University.  Joe has been married to his wife for 20 years and has three children.  Sometimes, one may be able to find him out and about in the wild and not at a desk or in the church.  If you are lucky, you may find him riding his bike at Enterprise South Nature Park, hiking somewhere above the Ocoee River, perhaps floating/kayaking in the Hiwassee, in a hammock at Indian Boundary, building legos, browsing books at the book store, eating fajitas at Chuy’s, or enjoying other kinds of shenanigans at the Creative Discover Museum, the TN Aquarium, or questioning his life’s choices being strapped down in a roller coaster at Dollywood.  He says, “My life has truly been blessed and I am looking forward to participating in the growth and development of the wonderful students at First UMC and see how God guides them in their future.”

Director of Worship
Roberta Bishop Knight

Singer/songwriter, choral conductor, and worship leader, Roberta Bishop Knight studied music composition at Oakwood University in Alabama and later received a master’s degree in church music from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. Considering her Panamanian heritage and assignments abroad, Roberta calls the South home and values a career path that has afforded her the privilege of conducting school and church choirs from the coasts of Puerto Rico to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado down to the green hills of Tennessee.

DAVID-RACHEL-147Director of Parent’s Day Out
Rachel David

Rachel has been the Director of our Parent’s Day Out program since 1997. She and her family are members of our congregation where she is also involved with our children’s Puppet Ministry. Rachel is very family oriented and loves spending time with her husband, Alan and their three children. In her spare time she enjoys boating, horse riding, and reading a good book.

Director of the Child Development Center
Whitney Curry

Whitney and her husband (Larry) have been married 25 years and have 3 children and one daughter-in-love. They attend Central Church of Christ. Whitney is a homebody who is crafty and also loves to read. She loves working with children and can’t wait for grandbabies of her own.

STEVE-KARON-148Assistant Director of CDC and PDO
Karon Steve

Karon became part of the First UMC church team in 1991, where she started as a nursery worker. As time went by, she joined the Parent’s Day Out program as the Preschool four and five year old teacher. In 2007 she joined the childcare office staff as the Assistant Director to the CDC and PDO. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and her pets.

Director of Maintenance
Lonnie Jones

Lonnie has a wealth of experience from his many years of owning and operating his own businesses. He and his wife, Lisa, are fixtures at First UMC and are always willing to help wherever they are needed. Lonnie & Lisa began attending First UMC in 2000 as a result of their exceptional experience with PDO. His nickname at a previous job was “superman”.

Jeff Smith

Jeff has worked with FUMC since 2011 and excited to be a part of a wonderful church family; he has a heart for music and people.  He and his wife, Cathy, have been married for 33 years with two daughters.

Tausha Plate

Tausha Plate

Tausha was born in Maryland and a resident of Cleveland, TN since 2001. She has a BME from Evangel University and a MM from Converse College. In addition to serving as pianist at First UMC, she also teaches adjunct at Lee University in the school of music.

Terry Barger

Terry has served as organist for First UMC since 2012. He came to First UMC from First Baptist, Cleveland where he served as one of the main pianist /organist for 23 years. Terry’s musical training was private piano lessons growing up and organ training through working with a very fine organist from First Baptist. Terry received his Bachelor Degree in Accounting from Tennessee Wesleyan College in 1987 and is a staff accountant for a Ian Harper CPA firm.