First Presbyterian Church

PASTORS

 

Rev. Dr. Richard Gibbons, Senior Pastor

The Rev. Dr. Richard Gibbons began his ministry as the tenth Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Greenville, SC, on September 1, 2007. As the primary preacher and leader of the pastoral staff, Dr. Gibbons plans and coordinates the church’s consistent biblical teaching and worship.

A native of Scotland, Dr. Gibbons began biblical studies at Glasgow Bible College in 1982, where several years later he supervised the student placement program and lectured in Evangelism, Communications, and Practical Homiletics. During this time he initiated missions in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. While serving The Church of Scotland's Board of National Mission in Inverness, from 1997 to 2007 Dr. Gibbons served as a Regional Development Officer to eight highland presbyteries and then as the Moderator of the Presbytery of Inverness. Dr. Gibbons currently acts as co-moderator on the ECO denomination’s Theological Task Force.

Dr. Gibbons holds joint honors in Ecclesiastical History and Systematic Theology from the University of Glasgow and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Highland Theological College.

He and his wife, Ruth, have one adult son, Michael.





 

Rev. Tim Leslie, Educational Ministries Pastor

The Rev. Tim Leslie is First Presbyterian Church's Pastor of Educational Ministries, where he has served since January 18, 1999. He coordinates with other staff a ministry of Christian education that seeks to build believers who order their lives according to the Bible.

After receiving a BA from Belhaven College in 1973, Tim continued his education at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS, where he received his Master of Divinity in 1976. He served in pastorates in Alabama and Florida. During the Florida pastorate he began his pursuit of a Master of Theology in New Testament from Columbia Theological Seminary which he received in 1995.

Tim and his wife, Cathy, have three adult children and six grandchildren.






 

Rev. Stan Johnson, Congregational Care Pastor

The Rev. Stan Johnson began duties as Congregational Care Pastor of First Presbyterian Church on November 8, 2004. He oversees various ministries of congregational and community support, including prayer, counseling, support groups, Stephen Ministry, military, and emergency assistance.

A native of Greenville, Stan graduated from Greenville High School in 1969 and Furman University in 1973. After receiving his degree in 1985 from Covenant Theological Seminary, he pastored for 14 years in Kentucky, then returned to Greenville to serve as chaplain at Greenville Memorial Hospital. Stan came to First Presbyterian Church as Pastoral Care Intern in September of 2003. 


Stan and his wife, Stephanie, have six children and one grandchild.






 

Rev. Phil Hargrove, Family Ministries Pastor 

Joining the First Presbyterian Church pastoral team on August 11, 2008, the Rev. Hargrove’s primary focus is young adults from college to age 35. He also leads the Marriage & Family and Men’s Ministries.

A native of Greenville, SC, Phil is a graduate of Riverside High School and Furman University, with master’s degrees from Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Union Presbyterian Seminary (Th.M.). He spent almost ten years serving as a pastor at several PC(USA) and PCA churches in North Carolina. He is currently finishing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Phil's passion in ministry is to communicate the good news and the hope that Jesus Christ satisfies all our heart's longings and that He alone is sufficient for salvation.

Phil and his wife, Cary, have four children.






 

Rev. Brian Stewart, Evangelism & Missions Pastor

The Rev. Brian Stewart has brought his enthusiasm and heart for evangelism and missions to First Presbyterian since June 7, 2009. He oversees local, national, and international church missions.

A native of North Carolina, Brian is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and John Wesley College, with master’s degrees from Duke Divinity School and Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA.

Before coming to First Presbyterian Church, Brian served for seven years as the organizing pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the Springs, a new church development in Barium Springs, NC, that was awarded the Sam and Helen Walton Award for Excellence in New Church Development in 2007. Prior to that, Brian was the organizing pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Jackson, TN.

Brian and his wife, Tracie, have two teenage sons.






 

Rev. Charlie Buchanan, Assistant Pastor

The Rev. Charlie Buchanan joined the First Presbyterian staff in 2011 as our Junior High Youth Director. After completing all of his educational and presbytery requirements, Charlie was ordained as an Assistant Pastor in April of 2015. He continues to serve as Junior High Director along with his pastoral duties.

A native of North Augusta, SC, Charlie graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in Psychology. He continued his studies at Erskine Theological Seminary, completing his Masters of Divinity in 2011. Shortly after graduating, Charlie was brought on staff at First Presbyterian Church.

Charlie and his wife, Carrie, have one daughter, Caroline.

 






 

Rev. Claire Ripley, Assistant Pastor

The Rev. Claire Ripley joined the pastoral team of First Presbyterian Church on December 1, 2015. Her primary responsibilities are leadership and oversight of New Member Assimilation, and Women’s Ministries.

The Rev. Ripley graduated from the University of South Florida in 1986 (B.S. in Finance) and worked in corporate lending for many years. After recovering from serious health challenges, and as a response to God’s gracious love and care, Claire left the banking world in 2003 to become a full-time Congregational Care volunteer at First Presbyterian Church, Greenville, SC. It was here that she sensed God’s call into ordained ministry, serving as Membership Development Director (2004-2009) while attending seminary. Claire received a Masters of Divinity degree from Erskine Theological Seminary in 2010. A highlight was studying Reformation Church History at Martin Luther’s residence and Preaching Seminary in Wittenberg, Germany.

Prior to returning to FPC, she served Westminster Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC, as Associate Pastor for Spiritual Growth. Discipleship and Spiritual formation are her passions. Claire is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Claire and her husband, Todd, have one adult daughter, Kate, and a son-in-law, John.

 






 

Dr. Randolph Kowalski, Pastor Emeritus

The Rev. Dr. Randy Kowalski became Pastor Emeritus of First Presbyterian Church on August 20, 2006, after serving as Senior Pastor from 1974–2004.

A native of Anderson, SC, Dr. Kowalski is a graduate of Clemson University and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Divinity from Presbyterian College. He previously served churches in Pendleton, SC, Abbeville, SC, and Augusta, GA.

He and his wife, Frances, have two adult daughters and four grandchildren.

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