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Meet Our Staff


SENIOR PASTOR
Jeff Rudy

email: pastor@murrayfirst.com
Pastor Jeff was born in Paducah and raised in Ballard County, Kentucky. A cradle Methodist, Jeff was baptized and professed his faith in Christ at Oscar United Methodist Church. After graduating high school, Jeff attended Murray State University for two years before completing his bachelor’s degree in Bible & Theology at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. In the midst of this educational journey, Jeff discerned his call to ministry. He then continued his theological studies at Asbury Seminary and pursued doctoral studies at Nazarene Theological College in Manchester, England, focusing on the doctrine of the atonement in John Wesley’s theology. Jeff has been pastoring in churches in the Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church since 2012.

Jeff met Carrie at Asbury University and they married in July of 2003. Carrie has her own business, Created by Carrie, in which she uses her skills in sewing and passion for art in creating custom vestments and church paraments for clergy and local churches. Jeff & Carrie have two children, Sam and Julianne.

The Rudys enjoy watching movies, playing board games, and cheering on their favorite sports teams: the Murray State Racers, Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Memphis Grizzlies, and Green Bay Packers. In addition, Pastor Jeff likes to tell Dad Jokes, much to the embarrassment and chagrin of his children.

Described by some as a “Wesley Nerd,” Pastor Jeff believes that our Wesleyan theological heritage and witness has much to offer our modern world as the Church seeks to live into its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.


MINISTER OF VISITATION
Jim Stahler

email: jim.stahler@bellsouth.net
Bro. Jim visits with our hospital and home-bound members.  If you know of someone who can benefit from Jim’s visit, please call the church office.


DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN’S MINISTRIES
Colin Moore

email: kids@murrayfirst.com
Colin Moore was born and raised here in Murray, KY.  He has been a member of First United Methodist Church since 2008. Colin is the husband of Lynn and the father of twin girls Hannah and Mallory. Both girls are a part of the Murray First UMC youth program.  The entire family is deeply committed to the life of the church and the families here.

Prior to becoming the Children Director, he helped weekly and sometimes daily, planning and leading children’s programming. He helped to create, our preteen ministry, Route 56. He also helped to design and create, God’s Big Back Yard, the children’s special worship area.

He believes that all children should feel welcomed and loved when they come to Murray First. His goals are to provide a loving and caring environment, to make sure the children know God is always with them, and that God’s love for them is never-ending.  Visit the Children’s page for more information about the program.


DIRECTOR OF YOUTH MINISTRY
Melinda Paul

email: umyouth@murrayfirst.com


DIRECTOR OF FINANCE|HELP MINISTRY
Donya Hall

email: finance@murrayfirst.com
Donya is responsible for the business aspects of running the church through budget and financial administration and ensuring compliance with local regulations and laws. She also manages the HELP House.


DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
Kendra Shemwell

email: communications@murrayfirst.com
Kendra’s mission is to share the Murray First story with our community through print, digital and social media.  She is a native of Western Kentucky and obtained her undergraduate degree in Religious Education and a Masters in Business Administration from Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis, MO.  She joined the Murray First staff in June 2014.  Kendra is married to Worth and they have one child.


DIRECTOR OF ADULT MINISTRY
Vicky Crafton

email: umadults@murrayfirst.com


HEAD CUSTODIAN
Eric Payton

email: maintenance@murrayfirst.com
Eric is responsible for ensuring the cleanliness and preparedness of the church building for weekly programming and special events.  He is also in charge of ordering supplies for the facilities. In addition, Eric heads up security for programming.


CUSTODIAN
Carrie Orbeck

Carrie is responsible for ensuring the cleanliness and preparedness of the church building for weekly programming.


CHANCEL CHOIR DIRECTOR
Dr. Todd E. Hill

A church musician for more than thirty years, Dr. Todd E. Hill joined the staff of Murray First United Methodist Church in May 2018. The grandson of a United Methodist pastor, he has served United Methodist as Presbyterian (USA) congregations as choir director or organist in four states. He has served as organist/pianist for the Memphis Annual Conference in 2014 and 2018.
Dr. Hill is Professor of Music at Murray State University, where he serves as Director of Jazz Studies and teaches musicianship and music education.  Hill has lead his own professional groups (The Todd Hill Orchestra and Quintet) for thirty-five years.  In addition to multiple album appearances as pianist/arranger in a variety of genres, he has recorded a solo gospel piano CD, and three jazz CD releases with his Quintet and Orchestra under his own name.


ORGANIST & HANDBELL CHOIR DIRECTOR
Joan Bowker


CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP LEADER
Susan Blackford


PRAISE TEAM INSTRUMENTAL COORDINATOR
Gary Vacca