Co-Pastors Jan and Phil Butin love working hand-in-hand with the FUPC congregation and sharing in preaching that encourages all to embrace our mission statement: “Called to be a light on the hill, we boldly proclaim and serve Christ, the hope of our changing world.” Jan particularly enjoys creative worship planning and leadership, and encouraging and caring for members of the congregation. Phil enjoys mentoring young adults, loving people of various backgrounds and life stages, preparing and training leaders, and teaching. He is active in presbytery, involved with the presbytery’s Honduras outreach, and recently spent the summer of 2017 on sabbatical in Honduras, visiting and preaching in each Honduran Presbyterian congregation and getting to know each pastor and their families. The Butins began their ministry at FUPC in the Spring of 2010. They moved to Fayetteville from California, where Jan served the Presbytery of the Redwoods and the larger church in various capacities, and Phil served as President and Professor of Theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary. He continues to teach and write about John Calvin, the Trinity, Reformed Theology, Church Unity, and Christian Spirituality and Worship. Phil and Jan have served previous congregations in Kansas, Iowa, North Carolina, and New Mexico. They have a married daughter who serves as a public defense attorney in the Washington, D.C. area, and a married son who is studying at North Park Seminary in Chicago.
Leslie Belden, Parish Associate is actively involved in the community and in her role as Parish Associate, serves and stated clerk of the Presbytery of Arkansas, assists in pastoral leadership as needed and as able, and encourages all members of the congregation in discerning how God can use them to serve as God’s hands and heart in the world. Leslie’s husband, Ted, is also a leader in the church and community, as are her two daughters, Melissa and Mary, and her sons in law, Randy Werner and Coleman Ward.
Kristi Button, Director of Christian Education joined the staff of FUPC in November 2008. She has been working professionally in churches for twenty years and loves the many opportunities to grow in faith she finds at FUPC. Kristi earned B. A. and M.A. degrees in teaching from Trinity University, as well as an M.A. in Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary. Kristi was raised in Fayetteville and enjoys being back in the community after being gone for nearly two decades. She is married and the mother of two sons.
Cathy Hairston, Director of First School, is a native of Fayetteville and received a Bachelor Degree in Finance from the University of Arkansas. She has watched First School grow from 46 students and 6 teachers to over 120 students and a staff of 21 teachers. Cathy is married and has two sons.
Brianne and Jacob Christiansen, Directors of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, share a single position in ministry with the youth and young adults of our congregation. Their ministry style is relational and personal, and their goal is to help each young person in our congregation better know, love, and serve God in Christ. They enjoy the dramatic presentation of scripture texts and other ways of creatively leading worship. Jacob also works with the Walton Arts Center, and Brianne is an online student with Western Theological Seminary based in Holland, MI.
Isaac Thomas, Director of Music Ministriesjoined the FUPC staff in November 2019. He is a native of Fayetteville and has been directing church choirs for over 30 years throughout Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Upon completion of his studies at Dubuque Theological Seminary, he was commissioned by the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia as a lay pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on July 30, 2017. He comes to us from Second Presbyterian Church (Norfolk, VA) after serving there for six years as Pastor of Music, Outreach, and Technology. Isaac received his education in music at The University of Arkansas and John Brown University with additional studies in conducting, piano, and voice at Texas Wesleyan University and the University of Texas at Arlington. In 2017 he completed the six-week piano course Sharpen Your Artistry through The Juilliard School (New York) under Dr. Michael Shinn (former Chair of Keyboard Studies) and Kevin Ahfat (Juilliard Course Fellow). He is thrilled to be back home in Fayetteville after being away for 20 years.
Molly Murray, Childcare Coordinator, has returned to FUPC for the early part of the summer. Molly previously served as Office Manager of FUPC from 2016-2018. She will help oversee all office communications and publications. Molly recently completed her degree program in Elementary Education through Western Governors University and hopes to obtain a full-time teaching position for the 2019-20 school year. Molly has one son and was married this fall.
Laura Winburn, Financial Administrator, has worked for FUPC since 1999. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Arkansas and is also a C.P.A. Laura enjoys working with and for the staff and members of FUPC. She is married and has two children.
Carol Nave, Organist, believes in the power of music to unite congregations, heal hearts and shape minds. Carol moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2019 from Houston, where she served a number of churches, including Emmanuel Episcopal, St. Paul’s Methodist and St. Mark’s Methodist. She holds a DM in Organ Performance and Church Music from Indiana University, studying with Marilyn Keiser, Chris Young and Robert Brewer. Her primary aim as a church musician is to help people in the choir and congregation find ways to express their faith through the language of music.
Noelia Cerna, Office Manager, is a poet and speaker based in Fayetteville, AR. She attended Westminster College in Fulton, MO where she received her bachelor’s degree in English, Creative Writing and double minored in Biology and Music Performance. She is a bilingual first-generation immigrant from Costa Rica. Noelia is the poetry feedback editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal and an associate editor with Sibling Rivalry Press. She is a piano instructor with the Suzuki Music School of Arkansas on the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville campus and comes to FUPC from Walmart Corporate where she worked as a corporate proofreader for Private Brands. She oversees all office communications and publications. She lives in Fayetteville with her three cats Tigger, Berlioz and Bagheera and her Golden Pyrenees puppy Grady.