First United Methodist Bella Vista Staff
Reverend Jeanne is an Arkansas transplant from Cookeville, TN. She met husband, Rev. Heath Williams, at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and between him and the Arkansas UMC Cabinet, she was convinced to transfer conferences.
Rev. Jeanne has been in pastoral ministry for ten years, and in music ministry for eight years prior to discerning the call to pastoral ministry. She was ordained in 2012 at the Arkansas Annual Conference with Heath.
She is passionate about worship, serving God, and being the Lead Follower of a church community in order to make disciples who make more disciples of Jesus!
Together, Revs. Jeanne and Heath have a daughter, Natalie; two sons through fostering/adoption, Marcus and Eli; a cat, Rabbi; and a crazy black Lab, Shadow. Between them, they pastor three churches in the area. Needless to say, life is full!
Associate Pastor of Congregational Care
Brenda serves as our Associate Pastor of Congregational Care. Having been a teacher and an administrator at the University of Arkansas, she received a calling into ministry in 2008. She began her service at FUMC as an intern during her final year of seminary at Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Dallas, TX. She implemented a grief support ministry during that internship. Since her graduation in May of 2015, she has continued to serve with us, expanding the grief support ministry and other group support ministries and assuming responsibilities for general congregational care. Brenda was ordained as a deacon in the United Methodist Church in June of 2018. She lives in Fayetteville with her husband, Bob, a retired University of Arkansas professor. Brenda and Bob have 3 grown children, two sons and a daughter, and two delightful grandsons. She loves to gather with family, travel, hike, read, and enjoys college football.
Amy and her family relocated back to Northwest Arkansas in October 2015 after spending 3 years in South Carolina. They are happy to be back in Bentonville and FUMCBV. Amy and her husband, James, have had great opportunities to move around the country starting in Colorado. They met while attending Adams State University where Amy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. Montana, Vermont, Arkansas, and South Carolina have all been home over the years and Amy has worked in as many different areas as places they’ve lived, taking time off when son Alec was born. Then she spent time volunteering in the elementary schools with Alec and daughter, Jenna. When the Gilmore’s lived here before, Amy worked in the Finance Office, so is familiar with a lot of the comings and goings on and people at FUMCBV.
Janet Walton has been our Church Secretary since January 2011. She was born & raised in California but moved to Oklahoma in 1981 when she and husband Ron decided to give up the rat race of LA. She has a BA in Home Economics/Nutrition & MEd in adult education, and was Director of Enid Community Learning Center for many years. She and Ron have 3 sons and a daughter, 16 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. They relocated to Bella Vista in 2010 after coming here for several years with friends to play golf and find R & R. FUMCBV is truly her second home and she considers everyone in the church to be her family.
Director of Music Ministries
Larry Zehring has been our church’s Director of Music Ministries since the fall of 1993. He holds degrees in vocal music performance from the University of the Ozarks and Tulsa University, and in choral conducting and musicology from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He has done additional post-graduate work in choral music at the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, Westminster Choir College and the Julliard School. He has appeared in choral performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra under conductors Eugene Ormandy, Rafael Freuhbeck de Burgos, William Smith and Julius Rudel. He was a member of the Grammy-Award winning Gregg Smith Singers, appearing with them as soloist on several tours and recordings. He currently lives in Bentonville with his wife, Annette, who is Director of Music for St. Theodore’s Episcopal Church in Bella Vista.
Broc Hite is the Organist and Associate Director of Music at First United Methodist Church of Bella Vista since 2012. He also teaches piano privately and at the Shepherd Music School, based at Central United Methodist Church in Rogers. Prior to moving to Arkansas in 2010, he was the Organist and Music Director at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Fairfield, Connecticut.
He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Piano Performance from Purchase College in Purchase, New York, studying under German Diez. He earned the Master of Music Degree in Piano Accompanying at The Juilliard School, studying under Margo Garrett and Marshall Williamson, and performance classes with Samuel Sanders and Jonathan Feldman. In conjunction with his other career in business, he achieved the Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Connecticut.
Dawn Thompson was born and raised in Iowa and has been involved in music since the age of four when she began taking piano lessons from her mother. Dawn majored in Music Education at Cornell College of Iowa and taught public school elementary music. She has been involved with handbells for many years: playing in handbell choirs, directing handbell choirs, performing handbell solos, participating in small handbell ensembles and arranging handbell music. She has been the Handbell Director of the First United Methodist Church since 2001.
NextGen Director & Contemporary Worship Leader
NextGen Children's Director
Ashdon K. Wilson hails from the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Batesville, Arkansas. She attended Lyon College, where she double majored in Psychology and History. She grew up volunteering in children’s ministry at her home church and loves to share the light and love of Jesus with the youngest of disciples.
She met her husband, Kenneth, in 2016 while they were interning at two local churches. Together they have two cats, Greta and Sybil, and love to hike the Ozarks, drink good coffee, and read lots of books. Ashdon and Kenneth were hired in the summer of 2019 to work with the children and youth of FUMC Bella Vista.
Director of Communications
Kacy Earnest Spears is a native Arkansan. With the El Dorado Promise Scholarship, she attended Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications with minors in English Literature and Technical Theatre.
Kacy can be found running the sound board or camera on Sunday mornings. She enjoys participating in her Disciple Fast Track class, volunteering for NextGen events, and serving the church. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading, eating at food trucks with her husband, DIY projects, petting the hoard of stray cats in her neighborhood, and exploring Northwest Arkansas with her friends.
She's happily married to her high school sweetheart, Shelby. Together, they care for the gaggle of stray cats that live under their front deck.