First UMC Clergy & Staff



Rev. Gary Heaton

Lead Pastor

Rev. Heaton his wife Beth have come from Roanoke where he has served as Greene Memorial UMC’s pastor for the past five years. He is a graduate of High Point College and Wesley Theological Seminary, and Beth is a graduate of William & Mary and UVA. Gary has served in the Virginia Conference since 1986 in a variety of settings. He and Beth love to kayak and share a love of the outdoors and are advocates of Creation Care. Gary’s grandfather was a Methodist Minister and his spiritual formation was steeped in the gracious, inclusive and transnational theology of the United Methodist Church. Contact Rev. Heaton

Rev. Phil Woodson

Associate Pastor

Rev. Woodson graduated from James Madison University with a BM in Music Education, earned his endorsement in Gifted Education in 2011, and is completing the UMC Course of Study requirements at the Divinity School of Duke University. Before answering God's call to Pastoral Ministry, Phil was an elementary school teacher for nine years - during which he also worked as a church music director and youth ministry leader. Phil and his wife Ellen have three sons: Cooper, Peter, and Jack. Contact Rev. Woodson

Program & Ministry Staff


Carolyn McGee

Spiritual Life Coordinator

Carolyn is not originally from Charlottesville, but she got here as fast as she could!  She has been a part of First United Methodist Church since 1988 and serves as our Spiritual Life Coordinator through facilitating opportunities for the church family to experience and grow in their own relationships with Jesus Christ and foster an environment of fellowship and spiritual development that engages the congregation in living out a Christian lifestyle. Part of this position also includes leading the Celebration Singers and the children’s music ministry – along with providing additional opportunities for worship through the Fine Arts. With a B.M. in Music Therapy and another in Music Education, Carolyn spent 33 years in education before becoming an owner and proprietor of a local Inn. She is married to Gary and has two grown sons and a sweet daughter-in-law. Be sure to watch her face light up when you ask her about her grandchildren Willow and Gillispie! Contact Carolyn

Kevin White

Music Director

Kevin serves as the First UMC Music Director and conducts the Chancel Choir and the "First Bells" hand bell ensemble. Kevin is beginning his 3rd year at First United Methodist and loves the downtown Charlottesville congregation.  Kevin taught public school music for 32 years locally both in Charlottesville City and Albemarle County.  Outside of his church work, Kevin works in musical theater with UVA's Drama Department, Charlottesville High and Monticello High schools. In his spare time, Kevin enjoys sailing and salt water fishing on Cape Cod. Kevin's wife Carol is a nurse at Albemarle Square Family Healthcare; his son Luke is attending VCU and is on the crew team; and his stepdaughter Samantha is employed by New America in Washington, D.C. Contact Kevin

Administrative Staff & Specialists

Kathy Berkeley

Administrative Assistant

Kathy was born in Connecticut, raised in Texas, but is a Virginian at heart.  "I feel very lucky to be here.  I have worn many hats in my life, working in the marine industry as VP/Sales, in the film business as a make up artist and Emmy winner,  and now here at First United Methodist Church. We are a fantastic church family and I am so blessed to be a part of it." Kathy produces the weekly bulletins, maintains the church calendar, oversees office volunteers and orders supplies. Contact Kathy


Jeannie Gentry

Business Manager

Jeannie is a lifelong resident of Albemarle County and now a happy member of the First UMC family.    She received her Business/Accounting education at the Jefferson Professional Institute some years ago and has worked with at least three nonprofit organizations in Charlottesville and Albemarle.  She and her husband Lewis (Buck) reside in the Crozet/Ivy area where they enjoy the company of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Jeannie maintains the church's financial records, assists the church treasurer, and is always excited to answer questions and welcome visitors to her office. Contact Jeannie

Lyndsay Harshman

Facilities Manager

Lyndsay landed in Virginia early 2016 and is of Scottish decent although born in London England.  Having worked overseas since 1993 she has a wealth of experience as English Editor for the Kuwait Oil Company, PA to an Arab Investment Banker and Executive Household Manager to VIP residence, palaces and Royal Families in Qatar, BOS Manager for NSA Bahrain and most recently Facilities Manager at the DoDea School in Bahrain. Lyndsay, her husband and two dogs live in Ruckersville and  has two children being educated at University in Scotland.  Lyndsay provides for maintenance of church facilities and assists the work of church trustees. Contact Lyndsay


Rev. Dr. Harry Kennon

Pastor Emeritus

Harry, his wife Gale, and their two sons became lay members of FUMC in 1970. Harry entered the pastoral ministry in 1982, after a 15 year business career. He served the rural Greene Charge while attending seminary and returned to FUMC as Associate Pastor from 1985-88. Subsequently, Harry served churches in Richmond, Chesterfield, and Norfolk before being appointed to FUMC as Senior Pastor in 2003. Upon his retirement in 2009, he was given the title Pastor Emeritus and continues to be active in various ministries. Harry and Gale are the proud grandparents of four. They both love to travel and are avid “sports nuts”, especially UVa baseball. Harry also enjoys riding the motorcycle he bought when he retired. Contact Harry