distance congregational meeting

Distance Congregational Meeting for the purpose of electing:

Elders for the class of 2024

Deacons for the class of 2024

At-large members of the Nominating Committee

Voting is now closed. Congratulations to the newly elected officers and nominating committee.

This page includes three key parts:

  • A word from the Nominating Committee
  • "How to" for a Distance Congregational Meeting
  • Biographies for the nominees

A word from the Nominating Committee…

Dear members of First Presbyterian Church,

First I want to thank the members of the Nominating Committee - Forest Wilson, Scott Donaldson, Kimberly Gibson, Laura Crissey, Lillian Beavers and Virginia Parks - for their hard work and dedication to the important assignment of presenting names to the Congregation for this significant vote.  I would also like to thank the Congregation for providing us with so many wonderful names of candidates for leadership positions and to Michael for his wisdom and support.

I would like to remind the Congregation that the names you suggested to the Nominating Committee were all discussed. Some were not selected because they were already serving, a spouse was serving, or they recently served. We try to give those who have recently served a respite. Some were contacted and decided that now was not a good time for them to commit to serve. Regardless, we are grateful the congregation took so seriously their participation in this process of choosing leadership for the Church we all love.

We are proud to present this slate of nominations for the Office of Elder and Deacon as well as the Nominating Committee.  We are equally grateful that all these agreed to serve in these important roles if elected by the congregation. The Nominating Committee feels that the diverse list of names recommended will serve this Church well as we start our third century of serving Christ from the Heart of Tuscaloosa. 

Below you will find some helpful information about how this unique election will take place, as well as the names and brief biographical information of all our nominees. Additional instructions and ballots will be sent to the congregation in about 10 days. Thanks again for your participation in this important process for our church. 


Carl Jamison,

Nominating Committee Chairman

How does a "Distance Congregational Meeting" work?

How do we vote?

With this document, you have been presented with the slate of names that the Nominating Committee is proposing for Officers, Nominating Committee and the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee. In 10 days you will be mailed a paper ballot to vote on these positions.  In addition, there will be a way to vote electronically by following a link that will be emailed to the congregation. All paper ballots should be postmarked and electronic votes cast by April 12th. 


How is this voting method valid?

A quorum for Congregational Meetings is 10% of the membership. For us that means as long as we receive 104 ballots, the vote is valid. In order to verify that only active members of the church are voting, all persons casting votes will be asked to provide their names. The Clerk of Session will verify all names, validate the election and the result of the election will be announced April 16th.

What about nominations from the floor?

It is always the right of the congregation to make additional nominations from the floor of the Congregational Meeting. To uphold this principal of our polity, if you would like to make additional nominations, you may do so by emailing the Clerk of Session, John Summerford (clerk@fpctusc.org), or you may call the church office to submit your nomination. Any “nomination from the floor” must be submitted by March 31st and the nominee must be eligible and willing to serve if elected.


Why are we electing officers this way?

This is now the third (and hopefully last) "Distance Congregational Meeting" we've had at FPC. While we would prefer to meet in person, the Session believes this "Distance" format will allow the greatest number of our members to safely participate in this important process. This unique method of conducting a Congregational Meeting was created with input from the Presbytery and approved by the Session of FPC.

FPC Officer Nominees for FPC Class of 2024


ROBERT ALMON joined First Presbyterian in 1978 along with his parents, Bob and Marion, and sister, Julie Jamison (Carl). In 1984 he married Ree Hale Almon and she then joined the church as well. Ree and Robert have two grown children Nathan (Katherine) and Bradley Bailey (Charlie). They have three grandchildren with another on the way in April. Robert previously served as Chairman of Building and Grounds during his term as Deacon and currently serves on the Finance Committee.


MELANIE DANNER has been a member of First Presbyterian for thirty years. She is married to Tom Danner who is a life-long member. They have two children, Elizabeth, who is in graduate school at Alabama, and Tommy, who is a senior at Northridge High School. Melanie is a Certified Public Accountant and the Director of Financial Affairs in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama. She served as an Elder, Deacon, chair of the Finance and Stewardship Committee, chair of the Christian Education Committee, member of the Preschool Committee and children's Sunday school teacher.


EMILY DEAL joined First Presbyterian in 1982 and is married to Bill Deal who is a life-long member. They have two adult children, Betsy Escher and Steven Deal. Emily previously served on the Strengthening of the Church, Buildings and Grounds, Endowment, and Nominating Committees. She has served as the treasurer for the Presbyterian Women, was a member of the Security and Disaster Taskforce, a Deacon, and an Elder. She is currently a member of the Worship Committee.


JENNIE KING and her husband, Bill, are lifelong Presbyterians. They joined First Presbyterian nearly 20 years ago. Bill served as Deacon at First Pres and is a perennial usher. They have three adult children, Sam (Crystal), Maggie (Carson) and Cecilianne (Tee), and four grandchildren. Jennie was active in all of the Presbyterian churches where she was a member. She taught Sunday school to all ages, toddlers to high school. She was President of the Women of the Church and served on several committees. At First Presbyterian, she worked with Logos, taught Sunday school, and sang in the choir. For the past year, she has served on the Feed My Sheep Ministry – truly a blessing during the pandemic. Since graduating from the University of Alabama with a Master of Library Service, she was a librarian in the Birmingham Public Library, a legal assistant for her husband, a Latin teacher at Tuscaloosa Academy and until, her retirement last year, a Career Consultant at the University. 


STACY MCCANTS and his wife, Allison, joined First Presbyterian in 2008 and have three children, Nathan (10), Josie (8), and Charlie (4). As a Deacon, and in addition to his other committee assignments, Stacy served as Vice Moderator, then Moderator of the Diaconate in 2018. Stacy teaches the Young Adult Sunday School class, serves as an active usher, and has served as Executive Director of UPerk since December 2019. After a lengthy career at Randall-Reilly, Stacy now hosts the faith-based podcast, A Stronger Faith, among other community serving activities.


W. DAVID MCGIFFERT, a 4th generation member of First Presbyterian Church, is married to Ann Woodley McGiffert, a 3rd generation member. David and Ann have one daughter, Megan, who is presently serving a second term as Deacon. David is a civil engineer and land surveyor. He retired from McGiffert and Associates, LLC in 2020. David has served on the Board of Presbyterian Apartments of Northport for 29 years since replacing his father, David G. McGiffert. David was on the Living River Camp Board for 17 years, starting at the time of its conception and continuing through its construction and initial years of operation. David has previously served several terms as Elder at First Presbyterian Church.


EMILY MERIWETHER is a life-long member of First Presbyterian. She is married to Tom who has been a member since 2009. They have two children, Mary Dunlap (9) and Thomas (6). Emily has taught in the Tuscaloosa City Schools for 15 years. She previously served as a Deacon. She is a member of the Balancing Faith Sunday school class and has volunteered with children’s Sunday school. She has planned and led Vacation Bible School groups for many summers. She served on the College Committee during the exciting origination of UPerk, on the Preschool Board, and several Nominating and Pastoral Search Committees. 


GEORGE MILLER is a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church. He and his wife, Bess, have three children, Katherine Rick-Miller, John Miller, and Margaret Goodlet. They also now enjoy seven grandchildren. George was first elected a Deacon in this church when he was a student at the University of Alabama. He has served several terms as a Deacon and an Elder. George has served on the Personnel Committee, Long Range Planning, and was Stewardship Chairman. He served on the Steering Committee for the three previous Capital Campaigns. He has served on a Pastoral Nominating Committee and currently serves on the UPerk Board. George is retired from Tuskaloosa Internal Medicine but still practices medicine as the Medical Director of Hospice of West Alabama.


LINDA PHIFER has been a member of First Presbyterian since 1976. She is married to Tyler Phifer, who is a lifelong member of the church. They have two sons, Joe (Amy) and Russell (Amanda). They are also the proud grandparents of Joe, Mary Raynor, Miles and Ella Phifer. Linda attended the University of Alabama and graduated with a Master's degree in Elementary Education. After teaching for 26 years, she now enjoys retirement with gardening and traveling. At FPC she has taught 2-year-old Sunday school, served on the Communion Committee, the Sanctuary Committee and has been a member of Circle 1.


BOB SINGLETON and his wife of 33 years, Tracy, joined First Presbyterian in 1994. They have two adult sons, Trey (Meredith) and Gregory. Bob is a petroleum engineer that has worked his entire career in the oil and gas business. He recently transitioned to the real estate industry when he joined the staff of Tutt Land Company. Bob has served FPC as a Deacon and an Elder.


MAEGAN SLATEN BIEHN and her husband, Alex, became members of First Presbyterian in 2018 shortly before their daughter, Eliza, was born. Since then, she has been active in the FPC Early Childhood Committee as well as helping with various activities and projects with the preschool. Maegan and her husband both grew up in North Alabama (the Decatur area). They moved to Tuscaloosa for college in 2003 and have been here ever since. She is a three time graduate of the University of Alabama, holding bachelor's and master's degrees in Elementary Education and a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology. Maegan is currently employed by the University of Alabama as a computer science instructor in the College of Engineering. She is also a member of the Junior League of Tuscaloosa and the Original City Association, serving as the social committee chair and the OCA representative for her neighborhood in downtown Tuscaloosa.

PORTER CHAMBERS and his wife, Bailey, were married at First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa in 2008 and joined the church upon moving to Tuscaloosa in 2017. They have two sons, William (7) and Pierce (5). Porter grew up in Andalusia and graduated from Auburn University. He is currently employed as a Sales Manager with Phifer Incorporated and has served on the Family Connections Committee at FPC.


LAUREN CURTNER-SMITH has been a member of First Presbyterian Church her entire life. She is a University of Alabama Alumna and currently works as a night shift Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery. Lauren can be found on her days off walking her dog with her family or reading or watching Harry Potter. Growing up, she was an active member in Youth Group, UKirk College Ministry, and now in the 20s in 2020 Young Adult group. She served as a youth member and music leader for the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley Youth Council, a Youth Deacon and member of College Committee, a Table Setter UKirk Intern and a UKirk music leader, and youth and adult choir member. Some of Lauren’s favorite high school and college memories occurred on mission trips. Lauren’s claim to fame is being UPerk’s first customer in 2017. Lauren is currently an adult advisor for Sheppards and Lapsley Youth Council and reprising her role of music leader. 


SAGE HICKMAN has been a part of FPC for as long as she can remember. She was confirmed, married and had all of her children baptized in the church. She graduated from the University of Alabama in 2011 and then married her husband, John Taylor. They have three daughters Ann Fletcher (6), Hill (4) and Lillian (2). She is currently a member of the Strengthening of the Church committee.


KRYSTA HOOD joined First Presbyterian in December 2013. She is married to Jonathan, who has served as a Deacon at FPC. They have two children, Jamesdon (1st Grade, FPP Graduate) and Kathryn (FPP Pre-K). Krysta is a Nurse Practitioner with the Alabama Department of Public Health. She grew up in North Alabama and moved to Tuscaloosa to attend The Capstone College of Nursing and has obtained a Doctorate in Nursing Practice. She is a member of the Preschool Advisory Board and serves on the Early Childhood Committee.


CLINT MOUNTAIN has been a member of FPC for 10 years. He is married to Lindsay, and they have one daughter, Julia. Clint practices law with his father at Mountain & Mountain here in Tuscaloosa. He grew up in Montgomery, but earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Alabama. Clint previously served as a board member and officer for Arts 'n' Autism, a board member for the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation, and is currently legislative chair for the Alabama Association for Justice.


KYLE NEIGHBORS is a fourth generation lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church. He is a University of Alabama graduate where he earned a degree in civil and construction engineering. Growing up at FPC, Kyle served as an acolyte, choir member, and usher. He was very active in UKirk college ministry and is a Bible 101 Sunday school member. He serves as an adult advisor for the Presbytery of Sheppards & Lapsley Youth Council. Kyle was active in FPC Boy Scout Troop 2 where he obtained Eagle Scout and is currently registered as Assistant Scoutmaster. 


KERRI MORTHLAND is originally from Selma where she was a member of First Presbyterian. Kerri and Martin were married in 2000, moved to Tuscaloosa in early 2002, and found their church home at First Presbyterian. They have lived in Tuscaloosa since 2002 with a brief hiatus to Brunswick, Maine. Kerri and Martin have two girls – Abby, a freshman at the University of Alabama, and Ava, a junior at Northridge High School.


PHILLIP WARD and his wife, Suzanne, have been married for 37 years and members of First Presbyterian for approximately 18 years. Phillip completed his Master’s Degree from UA and also his ABD from UT. Phillip recently retired as the Director of Quality Assurance and Risk Management the Alabama Department of Mental Health. He has worked in varied capacities in hospitals and Pharma in Alabama, Iowa, Tennessee, and Virginia. Phillip served in various capacities in an American Baptist Church in Iowa City. Phillip and Suzanne were members of New Providence Presbyterian Church in Maryville, TN. As retirement progresses, Phillip has been doing community volunteer work, contract work, and is looking forward to travel, spending time with family and friends, and homework projects.


DURHAM DAVIS has been a part of First Presbyterian Church since he was born. Growing up in Tuscaloosa, he has attended worship, Sunday school, Logos, and youth group as long as he can remember. Durham will be a senior at Northridge this fall.



CHANNING VICK has grown up at First Presbyterian beginning with preschool. She has been involved with Logos, Sunday school, worship, and youth groups. Channing is the daughter of Kelly and Todd Vick . She will be a junior at Northridge High School this fall.



Mark Byars

Shelley Jones

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