Rev. Wm. Christopher Cooper
Chris graduated from Hendrix College and received a license to preach and was ordained a Deacon in the former North Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church in June 1973. He received a M. Div. degree in 1975 from Duke Divinity School and was ordained an Elder in 1976. Chris’s almost 37 year ministry began with the Yellville Parish circuit, and he most recently served as senior minister of Cornerstone United Methodist in Jonesboro before being appointed at First Church. He has worked beyond the church walls wherever he has been appointed. Chris has participated in the founding or served on boards of three free health clinics and has been active in local Chambers of Commerce, other civic clubs and ministerial alliances in communities where he served. Chris is married to Kathy Thompson Cooper, a retired schoolteacher and principal, and has two adult children. Matt is the Executive Chef and General Manager at Cache Restaurant in downtown Little Rock, and Andrea works for a nongovernmental organization in Washington, DC that is engaged in mission work.
501-372-2256 Ex. 204
Rev. Donna Hankins
Associate Pastor, Children & Family
Donna Hankins-Hull, Associate Pastor for Children and Families, joined the First Church staff in 2009. Donna’s duties include Christian education and programming for children, occasional preaching, leading in worship and pastoral care. Donna is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C, and a member of the New York Annual Conference. She was first ordained in 1991 and has served churches in Connecticut, New York and New Hampshire prior to her appointment to FUMCLR, Donna’s husband, George, is the Director of Pastoral Care and CPE at UAMS and the reason the Hankins-Hull family came to Arkansas. Donna and George have three boys, Liam, Jonathan and Evan.
501-372-2256 Ex. 208
Church Financial Administrator
Paige Mann join our church staff as Financial Administrator in 2012. Paige, a graduate of University of Louisiana - Monroe, has 19 years experience as Financial Director with two other churches.
Lesley Andrews joined the First Church Staff as Communications Director in August 2010. Lesley is the managing editor of the church’s newsletter, In The First Place, and is responsible for church publications, advertising, and maintaining the church’s website. Lesley graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.A. in Journalism with a special emphasis in Advertising and Public Relations. Lesley and her husband, Justin Andrews (also a U of A graduate), live in Maumelle with their three boys Cody, Beau, and Tag.
501-372-2256 Ex. 207
Director of Buidings, Grounds & Security
Jerry Carpenter joined the First Church staff in April 2007 as the church’s Maintenance Superintendent. Jerry has 18 years of experience as a Building Maintenance Supervisor for a non-profit, religious organization in Michigan. Jerry has three sons, Randel, Jordan and Shane.
501-372-2256 Ex. 227
Director of Missions and Outreach
Anthony joined our staff in mid December of 2006. As an entrepreneur for the past 30 years in Delaware, his management experience lends itself to the responsibilities he has as the Director of Missions and Outreach. Anthony focuses the compassion and willingness to help others that exists at First Church. He organizes projects that serve our immediate community and beyond in mission and outreach. He helps individuals on a daily basis that come to First Church for assistance. A graduate of the University of Delaware, he holds a B.A.A.S. degree with a major in Sociology, a minor in Psychology. He has created and led men’s discussion groups for 18 years, worked with youth-at-risk and has training in conflict management. He became the Mid-Atlantic coordinator for The Earthstewards Network, an international group whose work extended into the Middle East, Central America and the former Soviet Union.
501-372-2256 Ex. 219
Director of Youth Ministries
Austin Hubbard joined the staff as Director of Youth Ministries in May of 2011. He is responsible for all programing that involves youth from grades 7-12. Austin, no stranger to FUMC Youth, has volunteered with the Youth since he joined First Church in 2009. He and his wife Taylor, also very active in the youth program, have a young daughter named Rowan.
501-372-2256 Ex. 201
Director of Music and Worship Arts
Kyle comes to us from Central UMC in Kansas City, MO, where he has served for the past two years as Director of Worship Arts and Welcoming Ministries. Prior to his work in Kansas City, Kyle served for 11 years as Director of Worship Arts and Evangelism at St. John’s UMC in Memphis. Kyle is a graduate of Arkansas State University, where he majored in vocal music education. He has held leadership positions in the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, and he has served as a guest clinician for high school choral festivals in Arkansas, Tennessee and Kansas.
501-372-2256 Ex. 212
Director of Children's Ministries
Pam Snider joined the First UMC – LR staff in May of 2011 and serves as the Director of Children’s Ministries. She has a passion for bringing children from birth through sixth grade closer to Christ through programming, special events and summer camps. She also serves our parents by leading parenting Bible studies as requested. Pam has been in children’s ministry for nineteen years serving on local church staff in Texas and Arkansas, as the Children’s Coordinator for the Central Texas Conference and currently as member of both the Arkansas District and Statewide Children’s Councils. She has served on curriculum writing teams with Abingdon Press, launched Children’s Ministry connectional groups and presented in regional Children’s Ministry workshops. At Texas Women’s University, she majored in Early Childhood Education and Dance. While there, she had the privilege to serve in one of the first High Scope Early Childhood Programs housed in the UMC in Texas. Pam and her husband Steve have been happily married for 33 years and are the proud parents of three grown children, Blake, Lisa and Matt.
501-372-2256 Ex. 210
Associate Director of Buildings, Grounds & Security
Sunday mornings, you can find Jonathan outside our church building helping those who need assistance and providing security for our members and visitors. He is happy to be on staff at First Church, and we are thrilled to have him as part of our team.
Associate Director of Music and Worship Arts
John Churchwell is the Associate Minister of Music and Worship Arts. He joined the First Church team as Interim Organist in February 2010 and became a full-time staff member in May 2010. John is a member of the Central Arkansas Chapter of American Guild of Organists, Handbell Musicians of America, and on the Arkansas State Board of the Fellowship of Methodist Musicians in Worship and Arts. John’s duties at First Church include supporting the FirstWord Contemporary Service, playing the Pipe Organ for the FirstTradition service as well as accompanying the Chancel Choir and Ensemble. One of the highlights of John’s week is administering FirstArts, a 12 week music instructional afterschool program that meets in the Fall and Spring.
501-372-256 Ex. 225
Kassandra Johnson joined the staff as Church Secretary/Receptionist in August 2008. When you call the church office Kassandra, will possibly be one of your first contacts. Kassandra shares office duties with Kristine and assist our ministers and staff with needed administrative support. Kassandra served as a Church Administrator for six years. Kassandra has two children, JaKhari and Amari.
Kat Marsh joined the staff in 2013 as an intern for the children and youth ministries. After a brief stint as Associate Director of Youth Ministries, Kat joined the staff full-time as an Administrative Assistant in the church office. Kat and her family have been members for FUMC since 2013.
Director of Planned Giving
Pat Lile joined the First Church staff in August 2010 as Director of Planned Giving. This is a new position for First Church and we are honored to have Pat serve as the catalyst for this new endeavor. A co-founder of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Lile attended Hendrix College; she completed the Community Development Institute at UCA. She is a member of the boards of Philander Smith College, City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock , ACE (Coalition for Excellence, Promoting Nonprofit Success), Lifequest, the U. S. Marshalls Museum, and JCA (Just Communities of Arkansas, formerly the National Conference for Community and Justice). A sustaining member of the Junior League of Little Rock, Lile is also a member of the advisory council for Garvan Woodland Gardens, the steering committee for Leadership Arkansas, and the Rotary Club of Little Rock, where she has been named a Paul Harris Fellow. She and her husband John, a Little Rock attorney, have four grown children and five grandchildren.
Housekeeping and Security
Maintenance & Security
You will see Sammy's smiling face early in the morning at First Church. He is often working security and helps keep our beautiful facility at its best!