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Meet the Newest Church Officers


Matt Arnold

I believe in God, the creator of the universe and everything it holds. I believe in Jesus Christ, who was with God from the beginning of time and who became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Jesus was born fully human and fully God and lived a sinless life and brought Good News to the people and taught them how to live their lives in such a way that would bring Heaven to earth. Because of Jesus’ radical teachings and activism, Jesus was persecuted and scorned by the religious authorities of the time. He was arrested, prosecuted and convicted by the people. He was beaten and mocked and was made to carry his cross to Calvary where He died by crucifixion. But His death was not the end. I believe Jesus rose from the dead and through His resurrection, He brought salvation to humanity. He suffered for our sins so we can be saved and live eternal lives. I believe Jesus ascended to Heaven to be with God and we await His return at the final judgement. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the power of God on the earth; the Spirit which empowers the followers of Jesus to proclaim the word of God to the world. I believe the scriptures are the Word of God brought into the world by the Holy Spirit, and they are the authoritative witness to Jesus Christ. I believe we are called to participate in worship and offer praise and thanksgiving to God and to hear the His Word proclaimed. I believe in the sacrament of Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and in the sacrament of Lord’s Supper which gives us hope for redemption. I believe participating in the Lord’s Supper opens our hearts to the Holy Spirit to work in us and strengthens and renews our commitment to Christ so we can better love our neighbors and work for justice in the world. However, we are faulty, short-sighted and selfish. We will always be sinners and fall short of what God wants for us, so I believe, most importantly, that we need a relationship with Christ in our life every day.

Michael Lockaby

I believe that if there is anything that God does, it is break through barriers. He broke through the barrier between imperfect, limited humanity and perfect, infinite God by coming in the person of Jesus Christ. He broke through our obsession with disconnecting ourselves and creating solitude and disconnectedness by showing that even within himself, God is a trinity—that relationship is part of the essence of God. And the first generation of followers of Jesus recognized immediately that part of the message of Jesus is that barriers of gender, race, and class that matter so much in our world (and probably even more so in Jesus’) are not relevant to God, and will be overcome in the Kingdom. Finally, I believe that in his undeniable call to follow him and follow his law, God has broken the barrier between our inevitable failure and his vision of righteousness. God created and chose human beings for no good reason we can identify. And the fact that God is well-pleased with his adopted children (rising up from the waters of baptism) frees us from fear of failure: he is well-pleased. I’m not sure why. But because he is well-pleased, we do not fear a disciplinarian. We follow his example by breaking through barriers, in gratitude and joy.

Hunter Moore

Throughout my life, my Christian faith has been a roller coaster. However, through the ups and downs, my faith has never stopped like a roller coaster does after a lap of the track. At no point in my life have I wondered if God was truly with me. From my youth at Denbigh Presbyterian, to a Chaplin for my college fraternity, then to a member of RCPC, I have always felt Gods presence. I believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirt. I believe all are separate and all are one. I believe all have justification through Gods grace to us as he displayed in the life, resurrection, and death of his only son Jesus Christ. I believe we are all working towards sanctification by doing Gods Holy Will up to our last breath. I believe when I got misty eyed during my sons’ baptisms, it was the Holy Spirit reminding me of God’s grace in baptism. I believe it is the Holy Spirit that is working through our church to help our local community and communities around the world. The church should be an image of Jesus Christs helping, healing, and humbleness towards fellow man. I believe Communion is a true communal event in which any background comes to the table in which we honor each other as Gods children. I believe the written word of Scripture is an ageless guide to both life situations and salvation. I pray to the Father and the Son to guide me with the Holy Spirit to follow Christ and perform Gods Will. Through prayer, scripture reading, and worship I will strive to be a humble benefit to the Church, my family, and my community.

Jennifer Owen-O’Quill

I invite you to consider the image of faith as a walk across a tightrope. You know the scene: under a Circus tent, suspended between two towers is a tightrope. There is a platform at the top of each tower, with a ladder leading to each one. The acrobat comes to the foot of tower, she reaches for the ladder and begins to climb to the platform. It takes a long time. Finally, she is there, poised on the platform. She carries a pole for balance in her hands. You can see the rope sway back and forth, and then you see her take that first step out onto the rope. It dips under her weight. She adjusts the pole and the second foot leaves the platform. She is on the rope. Faith is what you choose to trust and how you allow that decision to direct your life. Our scene under the circus tent is an image of my faith journey: one tower represents the person I was, and the other tower represents who God intends for me to become. The pole I carry across the rope balances my faith and doubt. The movement and tension of the Holy Spirit is in the rope beneath my feet. Christ catches me when I fall and encourages and challenges me as you go. And God loves us all along the way: before the start and beyond the finish. My faith walk began in doubt, critique and deconstruction. And yet, with all this, I had a religious hunger. I was interested in faith, in God, in the walk the people of the world have had with God. As a child I remember how it felt when I met a person of profound faith. I felt the peace. A deep well of something in their presence. I wanted to experience that something myself. My walk with Christ has evolved from an understanding of Jesus as a man who lived, a divinely inspired example which we should follow, to a relationship with Christ who caught me when I was falling. Having Jesus catch me, heal me, and restore me saved my life and set it on a new course: a path steeped in God’s love and mercy. In the life and testimony of Jesus Christ we hear how God intends for us to live: to love God with everything we’ve got and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. How do I fulfill this call in my own life? That question centers me every day. When my family came through the doors of Raleigh Court Presbyterian we found a community that embodies God’s love and mercy, through acts of fellowship and forgiveness, ministry and mission. I am grateful beyond measure for the grace of this place.

Christopher Ptomey

I believe in God, the creator and source of all life, and have encountered God as loving Parent, saving Son, and guiding Holy Spirit. I grew up quite literally in the sanctuaries, fellowship halls, and choir rooms of Presbyterian churches in Tennessee and Texas, as my late father was a Presbyterian minister for over 45 years. Growing up, the church and the truth of Christian doctrine were as normal and assumed as breakfast for me. But my faith was such that I believed Jesus would protect and care for me in a time of crisis as much as I did that my Egg McMuffin would do so. It was not until I lost my dear wife to leukemia when I was 40 that I began more deeply to understand and experience the depth and power of God’s love. I believe in the gift and responsibility of the forgiveness of sin and in God’s sovereign power to make lemonade from lemons like me, creating the Kingdom of Heaven on earth amongst and out of human confusion, frailty, and sinfulness. When I was at my lowest after my wife’s death in 2008, I was lost. I wondered if somehow she had suffered and died due to my sins, and I could not imagine a future for myself in any church or anywhere in this world without her. I wanted to disappear, but God would not let me go. As it turns out, broken and lost is good enough for Jesus, and in the last 15 years, I have been blessed with so many people who have held me up and loved me expecting nothing in return. I have been richly blessed with a daughter. I have also been blessed with endless opportunities to serve, including a former job with Habitat for Humanity that gave me the reason I needed to get up in the morning in the aftermath of my wife’s passing. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the examples of Jesus’ love and the healing power of service provided me throughout my life, and I’m committed to honoring and following those examples. I believe in the authority of Scripture and seek its guidance through study, prayer, and engagement and reflection with fellow believers. The important questions we face as individuals and as a society are eternal, and Scripture provides divinely inspired guidance as we work through life’s daily challenges and attempt to see through the veils sometimes created by new technology and “new” ways of thinking. I appreciate the forums RCPC provides for deepening one’s knowledge of and relationship with Scripture. I believe the Church is Christ’s body on earth, created to exhibit and advance the Kingdom of Heaven, proclaiming the Word, administering the Sacraments, and nurturing a community of disciples of Christ. I felt called by the Spirit to join RCPC during the pandemic (and my divorce); my daughter Cailainn and I have found it to be a place of compassion, thoughtful reflection, joy, and always true to its moniker, “The Church of the Open Door.” I am humbled by and grateful for the call to serve on the Session at this time.


Maggie Jarrett

I believe that God is the artist who created me; God watches over me always. I believe God loved me before I came, and will continue to love me once I’m gone. God is all knowing. I believe Jesus is God’s son, and sacrificed himself for my sake. He forgives me for my sins because he loves and believes in me. I believe that the Holy Spirit is the part of God that keeps me safe. The Holy Spirit never leaves me alone. The holy spirit is always around me, following me, and showing me the way. I believe that I can reach and confide in the trinity through prayer. Prayer is a way to connect with the One who loves and cares for me. Praying is not just kneeling and saying meaningful words. Prayer is for my wellbeing. It connects us with our everything. Prayer also connects us with one another in a community of faith. My community of faith is the Presbyterian church. Presbyterians are welcoming to everyone. We stand together – what happens to you happens to me. God loves me forever and always.

Will Smith

The most dangerous thing you can do is to pray the Lords prayer and mean it. “Your Will be done” That’s the part that will get you if you actually mean it. What is God’s Will? I have always thought of it as one of those ‘Choose your own adventure books’ (CYOAB for short, I like acronyms). Your life is a CYOAB, with almost infinite choices on each page, but God has read your CYOAB all the way thru, every single thing you could choose. Now God wants us on a certain story line but we all missed it, it was on the first page and we all chose the “Do you like sin? Turn to page 2”, ever since then God has been trying to get us as close as he can to the original story line The options that get us closer to that are “Gods Will”. Its never the easy choices either, for example “Sit at home every single night with out fail and watch The Great British Baking Show turn to page 666” , its usually the Harder choices ie “Become a Deacon, turn to page 333”. I remember one day when I was in Karate, I was 8 years old I said “You will Never catch me dead in a pair of tights”, 2 years later I was in Ballet. More recently about 3 1/2 years ago I promised my wife wouldn’t use a chainsaw on this new job I had gotten during the pandemic, now I run a chainsaw all the time. Following Gods Will is never easy, it requires you to grow and be outside your comfort zone. It's also not a one time thing, it's a consistent way of life. However you will never be able to get to that original story line, no matter what you do, That is sometimes the hardest part of following The Will of God. The is never the option “Be a perfect soldier of Christ, Turn to page Infinity” That’s where Gods grace comes in. So I guess Close only counts in Horse Shoes, Hand Grenades and your Salvation.

Kaitlin Swanner

“Let that grace now, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.” The Holy Spirit has continued to draw me in to various faith communities over the years as school and work took me to different cities. I feel fortunate the Spirit led me to RCPC when my husband, Zack, and I settled here in Roanoke in 2020. As a teenager, I felt called back to church out of a sense that something important was missing in my life, and out of a deep gratitude for all I had been blessed with. I began participating in an annual mission trip on which we frequently looked to Micah 6:8, which states: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” and I’ve tried to live that way ever since. I believe in God’s unchanging and everlasting love, and I am indeed a great debtor to that grace. I believe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a powerful testament to that love, which fundamentally transforms our lives. Despite our failings, we are loved. I believe that through God, we can do so much more than we would have thought was possible through our own means, and that without God, our well-intentioned efforts fall short. What a relief it is to know that we need not shoulder all of our hopes and burdens ourselves but that we may lift them up to God. With that in mind, I feel joyful, humbled, and grateful to serve this church as an officer, and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow in faith with all of you.

Betty Whitehead

My childhood memories include songs of faith: early childhood’s “Jesus Loves Me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so” and years later “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart.” I believe Jesus is the son of God, our creator, who is always with us and hears our prayers. The Bible is God’s Word, which teaches about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God’s love is constant during inevitable ups and downs of everyday life. Prayer is a means of strength and guidance. King College, a small Presbyterian school, provided me many experiences of faith growth. This was encouraged by individual attention, new friendships, chapel attendance, and Bible classes. Bristol churches welcomed students, who were invited to be adopted by a member’s family. Caring Central Presbyterians adopted Ed and me, not only as college students, but as church members for more than 50 years. My faith was strengthened by sharing of church families and Central’s varied, meaningful programs. My life continues to be enriched by multiple generations, who remind me of God’s involvement in the past and the present. The births of our sons and grandchildren deepen the understanding of God’s love, even before a baby can affirm or respond to that love. Baptism and Communion are special sacraments that connect us to God and to each other. Three years ago, my husband and I moved to Roanoke, where our sons and their families live. This decision required faith and God’s guidance. I am thankful for our new home, more time with our family, and membership at Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church. This welcoming church family shares God’s love at church and outside in the everyday world. My faith is strengthened by the church’s traditions and connections among Presbyterian Churches. I believe in our Statement of Faith, which includes: life and in death we belong to God, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.”


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