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Rev. James W. Smith, Jr. (Jim) was appointed pastor of the Vidalia First United Methodist Church by Bishop R. Lawson Bryan in June 2017. Jim is married to Diane D. Smith and they have two grown children, Shanna Tanner (married to Dan Tanner) and James-Michael Smith, and three grandchildren, Davis, Cole and Natalie. Jim has previously served churches in Savannah, Pooler, Macon, St Simons, Americus and Thomasville.
Originally from Reidsville, Rev.Smith holds degrees from LaGrange College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
In his free time, Jim enjoys working out with weights, walking, reading, working crossword puzzles, and trying to learn how to hit a golf ball and play golf.
Rev. David Blalock retired from active ministry in June, 1999 after serving 40 years throughout South Georgia in churches ranging in membership of over 1800. Throughout his active ministry, he has served in many leadership positions including nine years as chairperson of the District Committee on Ministry and eight years as secretary of The Conference Board of Ministry. He received his Degree in Business Education from Georgia Southern University and his Master of Divinity from Emory University. He and his wife, Patsy, have two children.
Diane Born is the Executive Director of Cornerstone Children’s Center. Diane was born in the Toombs/ Montgomery area and has lived here all of her life. She is married to Jack Born and together they have four children and four grandchildren. Prior to coming to Cornerstone Diane taught at, directed, and owned Wee Care Preschool for over 25 years. She has a passion for teaching and loving children. Her greatest joy is to share the love of Jesus with the children and their parents. “ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
Ms. Connie Brown joined our staff in January 2002 as Office Administrator. She graduated from Southeastern Technical College earning her degree in Business and Office Technology in 2001.She is a member of the Professional Administrators of the United Methodist Connectional Structure (PAUMCS) and thoroughly enjoys attending this conference every year for her continued education. Also, she is a member of Alston First Baptist Church. Connie enjoys her job in church ministry and prays she brightens the lives of everyone who comes her way.Connie has two children; Jonathan, who currently serves as associate pastor of Vineville United Methodist Church, and Melissa who will graduate in December 2020 with a Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology from Valdosta State University.
Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Isaiah 6:8 – “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Jose is married to Julie and has two children: Zoe and Levi. He heads up our growth groups and discipleship classes. Jose is a former youth pastor and college soccer coach, and serves as a community coach for our local middle school. He is passionate about studying and teaching the Word of God, and has a desire to lead others to learn more about Scripture and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Debbie Davis has been our Organist since August, 1993. Debbie attended the University of Houston and Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri. At the age of thirteen, she began playing organ for a small mission church in her hometown of Houston. Since that time she has served as organist for several other churches and as music director at a private school.Debbie has directed our children, youth, and handbell choirs since January 2003. Debbie's passion in ministry is to prepare young people to be "worship leaders" in their congregation, no matter where that may be.Debbie (a native of Houston, TX) has been married to Ernie Davis (a native of Dallas, TX), owner of Davis Exterior Construction, Inc. since October 1974. They have lived in Wheeler County, GA on a tree farm since 1979. They have one son, Christopher Davis (born in Vidalia, GA), who attended Robert Toombs Christian Academy and Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA. Chris will be married March 2012, and he and his wife Ivy will live in Calhoun, GA where Chris works full time for the Army National Guard.
Betsy Fabacher joined the staff at VFUMC as Nursery Coordinator in August of 2010. She moved to Vidalia in 2008 with her husband Brian and their three teenage children; Kyle, Tori, and Taylor.
For the past 18 years Betsy has been active as a mother and volunteer in her community and church. This, plus her experience as a manager in the private sector, made her uniquely qualified for the position of Nursery Coordinator. She believes the nursery should be a happy and safe place where children under the age of three can experience the love of Christ through play with one another and the nursery staff. One of her favorite bible verses is Matthew 19:14 - But Jesus said “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Betsy worked as an accountant for twelve years before retiring to become a “full time” mother. She is now putting her accounting hat back on and is transitioning into her new role as Financial Secretary.
Betsy enjoys spending time at the beach, volunteering at Second Blessings (the church resale store), and supporting her children in their numerous activities.
Hollie Mobley was born and raised in Wheeler County. She and her family became members of VFUMC in 2014. She is married to Matt Mobley, and they reside in Vidalia with their three children Jesslyn, Fisher, and Cullen.
Hollie is a second grade teacher at Wheeler County Elementary School. She is excited to become the Nursery Coordinator because of her great love for children.
John Morgan is our part-time adult choir director and pianist since 2003. He is also the choral director for J. R. Trippe Middle and Vidalia Comprehensive High Schools. He is a native of Lost Mountain, Georgia. John is married to Rhonda Coleman, a Vidalia native, and has two Vidalia-born daughters, Hannah and Halli, who live next door with their families (and two handsome grandsons).
John has a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Shorter College, Rome, Georgia and a Masters in Post-Secondary Education (Instructional Technology) from Troy University. He has previously served Ashburn United Methodist Church as organist/pianist and soloist and spent six years as organist/pianist/choirmaster at Pinson Memorial United Methodist in Sylvester. John also previously served two congregations in Vidalia: First Baptist and the Church of God.
Jana Loyd Owen joined our staff in May 2017 as the Children's Ministry Co-Coordinator. She grew up in Eastman, Ga. and graduated from Dodge County Highschool in 1997. She graduated from Macon State College in 2001 with an A.S. in Dental Hygiene and then from the Medical College of Georgia in 2002 with a B.S. in Dental Hygiene.
Jana married Josh Owen of Dublin, Ga in April of 2005. They have 3 beautiful daughters, Jaley, Jacey, and James. She and her family moved to Vidalia in July of 2012. Jana is currently also a part-time Dental Hygienist at the Dental Center of Vidalia.
Jana has a love for children and her church and is excited for the opportunity to help kids experience the love of Jesus.
Ashley Sasser grew up in Vidalia and came to us in the summer of 2007 to be our youth director. She left a volunteer youth leader position at a church in Kentucky where she served for 3 years. She has been involved in youth ministry in some capacity for 9 years and has a deep passion for students to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Ashley was also a missionary for Youth with a Mission for 3 and a half years traveling to many places around the world to share Christ with others, and that is where God began to give her a heart to work with youth. Ashley is married to Sean Sasser and they have four children.
Sean has been the contemporary worship leader for our FUEL service and youth services for 9 years. He is married to Ashley, our Youth Director, and has 4 children: Blayke, Luke, Ryan, and Grant. Sean is a full-time teacher and loves working with the youth whether it be through bible studies, worship, mission trips, or other activities. He is passionate about leading the church in worship through music, serving the church and local community, and sharing the love of Christ with others.
Sarah Torrance was hired in May 2017 as Children’s Ministry Co-Coordinator. She was raised in Vidalia and attended VFUMC most of her life. In 2004, she married Michael Torrance of Vidalia and they have three children; Madison, Samuel, and Ethan. Sarah received a MAcc from Georgia Southern University. While living in Statesboro, she worked as an auditor for several years. In 2009, she and Michael moved back to Vidalia. Shortly after, they were blessed with twins and Sarah’s full-time mommy job began. She is excited about this position and being active in the lives of the children of VFUMC.
"It is an honor to share the love of Jesus with the children of VFUMC and watch them experience His love." “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6