We're blessed to have three full-time pastors at First United Methodist Church! Richard, Troy, and Crystal urge you to talk to them about how you can get connected and involved in our church. Jenny Caughman works part-time as our Minister of Spiritual Care. If you need a pastoral visit, call the office at 865-483-4357. If you'd like to submit a prayer request, click here. If you need a pastor after office hours, contact the pastor on call, click here.
Our Lead Pastor, Richard Edwards, grew up as a member of Munsey Memorial UMC, in Johnson City, and received his M.Div. degree at Candler School of Theology. His first appointment in the Holston Conference was as the associate pastor of Trinity UMC here in Oak Ridge from 1985-1987. Shortly after leaving Trinity, Richard and his wife, Sue, were married in the chapel of First UMC, so in a sense they are returning home. Upon leaving Trinity, Richard was appointed the pastor of First Farragut UMC, where he served faithfully for 19 years, and oversaw the building of the church’s new facility on Kingston Pike.
From 2006-2013, Richard served as the director of Congregational Development and Revitalization for the Holston Conference. In that role, he has learned from many church leaders throughout the denomination, and has consulted with local churches of all sizes who desire to grow in their witness for Jesus Christ.
Richard and Sue have two sons, Drew and Chris, who live in the greater Knoxville area. His first Sunday with First UMC was June 30, 2013..
Associate Pastor Troy Forrester received his Master of Divinity from Duke University in 2006, and this is his first appointment as a pastor. A native of Kingsport, TN, Troy attended East Tennessee State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in political science and a minor in legal studies in 2001.
Troy is our church softball coach
and head cheerleader, leading the First United Methodist Plagues in our local softball league. Troy preaches in both the praise and worship service and the traditional worship service, and also heads our ministry for Young Adults, including a Sunday School
class on Sunday mornings and social and mission activities at other times.
Associate Pastor Crystal Smith
is a native of Greeneville, TN. She was ordained in 2007, after receiving a Bachelor's in Religion from Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC and a Master’s of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. Crystal previously served as associate pastor at Colonial Heights UMC, in Kingsport, TN, and at Sumrall UMC in Sumrall, Mississippi.
Crystal is married to Trevor Smith, who teaches voice at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol, TN. Crystal and Trevor welcomed their first child, Ella, in March 2010.
Crystal is staff liaison to Adult Ministries, Missions, Social Concerns, Stephen Ministries, Library, and United Methodist Women.
Crystal loves to spend time with family, enjoys traveling, and cooking.
Jenny Caughman, Minister of Spiritual Care,
joined our staff in September 2011. Jenny recently finished her coursework at Earlham School of Religion in Indiana. Jenny’s responsibilities include teaching Disciple 1 and helping coordinate and lead small groups. She provides ongoing support, connection, and pastoral services to members of our congregation who are home-bound, hospitalized, or nursing home residents. Jenny is also involved with worship, preaching and serving as liturgist, and with other special services.
Jenny brings many gifts and experiences to the pastoral care staff here at FUMC. In Spring of 2011, she served as chaplain at UT Medical Center, providing services for patients, families, and staff, as part of her clinical pastoral education. Jenny has also worked as a therapist and coordinator of Children’s Services at the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Knoxville, providing crisis intervention and long-term counseling for children and adults who have been sexually assaulted or abused. She also has worked as a music therapist at Calvary Hospital in Bronx, New York, providing music therapy services for terminally ill adults and their families.
Jenny is married to John Caughman. They have three children, Neall, Alex, and Abby.