I was called to serve as First Presbyterian’s Senior Pastor in 2012. But my roots here go deeper than that. I am a native Charlottean and I am a sixth-generation Presbyterian minister. In addition to being son of two ministers, I am the husband of a minister and the brother of a minister. As a teenager I went door to door by my father’s side in evangelism.
I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and hold a Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, where I’m now working on a Doctorate of Ministry. I am a member of the strategy team of NEXT Church, a nationwide conversation about the future of the PC(USA).
Before receiving the call to serve First Pres, I served as associate pastor at Second Presbyterian Church of Richmond, Virginia, and as senior pastor and head of staff at First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport, Louisiana.
My wife, Lindsey, and I are now imposing the interesting life of being a preachers’ kid on our four children.
Katherine Cooke Kerr
Senior Associate Pastor for Congregational Ministry & Care
I am originally from Jacksonville, Florida, but have called North Carolina home for much of my adult life.
After graduating from Davidson College in 1993, I lived in Asheville and Davidson before returning to school. I received a Master’s degree in Counseling from Wake Forest University and was a School Counselor with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for three years. During that time, I began to sense a call to ministry, and enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary in the fall of 2002. Upon graduation in 2005, I accepted a call to First Presbyterian Church in Oxford, Mississippi, where I served until being called to First Pres in January 2008.
My ministry focus of Congregational Care allows me to do one of the things I love the best—develop relationships with people and support them through challenging times in life. Outside of work, I enjoy reading, traveling and spending time with my family.
My title, Parish Associate, means I get to fill in wherever needed. That’s one thing I love about ministry—the variety of tasks that a minister is called on to do: preach, teach, study, visit, listen, meditate, pray, sing, interact with colleagues, work with children, youth, adults of all ages. I get to do it all. Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to spend my retirement years in this meaningful way.
I came here after 40 years of active ministry, having retired from Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Mint Hill. Here’s what I learned when I retired: I have way too many neckties and not enough T-shirts. I no longer set an alarm clock!
Barbara and I have four children and eight grandchildren. I come from a family of preachers: my father, brother, two uncles and cousin are/were all Presbyterian pastors. For recreation, I do things like water aerobics, needlepoint, cook, read recipe books and other such fun things.
“Christ came to take away our sins…not our minds,” quips one of my favorite public theologians William Sloane Coffin, Jr., and encapsulates my fascination with the interplay of faith, understanding and practice. Ours is a thinking faith that informs a life of discipleship. First Presbyterian is a vibrant congregation that embraces both the life of the mind in service to God AND scripture’s mandate to do justice, love kindness and walk with God. I am excited to join the pastoral staff at First Presbyterian as a Parish Associate focusing on Faith Formation where the discipleship begins at Baptism and is sustained throughout the Christian Life.
I am deeply committed to the Church, the way God is at work through the ministry of Christian education and formation, the gift of community, the joy of worship and sacraments, and the value of children. I am a native of West Virginia, a graduate of Marshall University, and hold degrees from Union Theological Seminary, the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, and a Ph.D. from Union-PSCE in Richmond, Virginia.
When I’m not in the heart of the city you’ll find me at Union Presbyterian Seminary on the Charlotte Campus where I serve as Associate Professor of Christian Education. Before going to into full-time academic teaching at Presbyterian College in 2010, I served the church for twenty-five years as pastor and educator in congregations in Alabama, Texas, Florida and here at Myers Park Presbyterian Church. While my primary passion is faith formation and teaching a close second is child advocacy – working towards a world where all God’s children can grow into the fullness for which God created them – especially those who are most vulnerable. This led to a call to serve on staff of the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, DC and as contract staff for the National Council of Churches (USA).
I am thrilled to be back in my home church to help strengthen our connections to one another and have some fun along the way. I grew up at First Presbyterian and my husband Fritz and two boys, Mason and Hill, are actively involved. I’m a graduate of Davidson College and received my Masters at Duke Divinity School. Most recently, I served as the Parish Associate at Davidson College Presbyterian Church. I find joy in connecting people to one another, building community and celebrating the ways God is at work in the relationships between God’s people.