Leadership

Some of our key servants are listed here.  

Rev. Jim Richter, Senior Pastor

jim richter

Rev. Jim Richter, Senior Pastor

Jim Richter has served as the senior pastor of Westminster since January 1, 2003. Jim grew up in Alabama, where he completed his college education at Auburn University, obtaining Bachelor and Master degrees in civil engineering. While at Auburn, Jim trusted Christ as his Savior and Lord, was discipled by the Navigators, and met his future wife Linda. They were married in 1973 and have two adult married children, and four grandchildren. After completion of his studies at Auburn, Jim worked as a civil engineer in Chattanooga, Tennessee. There his family joined Hixson Presbyterian Church, part of the Presbyterian Church in America, where Jim served as both Deacon and Elder. After sensing a call to pastoral ministry, Jim and his family moved in 1978 to Jackson, Mississippi to study at Reformed Theological Seminary. He earned the Master of Divinity in 1981, and the Doctor of Ministry degree in 2002. Shortly thereafter, Jim and family moved back to Tennessee, where Jim was ordained to serve in pastoral ministry. He has pastored three congregations in twenty-seven years of ministry: Meadow Creek Presbyterian near Greeneville, Tennessee (1982-1989), the First Presbyterian Church of Biloxi, Mississippi (1989-2002), and Westminster Presbyterian in Johnson City, Tennessee (2003-present). Since 2004, he has served on the board of Mission Safety International, a ministry that promotes safety in missionary aviation worldwide. Jim can be contacted at: jerichter@gmail.com

 Rev. Joshua Light, Assistant Pastor

JOSHUA LIGHTOn August 14, 2016, Joshua was called by the Session to become the Assistant Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church.  He holds an A.S. in Philosophy from Northeast State, a B.B.E. from Graham Bible College in Bristol, Tennessee, and a M.Div. from Birmingham Theological Seminary a ministry of Briarwood PCA in Birmingham, AL.  He has received certification in Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Evangelism Explosion as a Lay Teacher/Trainer in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.  Joshua also serves as COO/Global Developer of the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship in Bristol, TN.

Janet Branstrator, Director of Children & Student Ministries

Janet BranstratorJanet Branstrator grew up in Pennsylvania with wonderful parents and a protective older brother, also wonderful. I became a Christian at the age of 16 following a concert. I don’t even remember the groups’s name, but they presented the gospel, and that same evening I accepted Jesus as my savior.  I remember walking outside, looking up at the night sky, and knowing personally for the first time the God who made the stars. I went to college and majored in nursing, but after three years of working as a nurse, God decided I would go back to school to be a teacher. I met and married Harold, also wonderful, who at that time was a revenue agent with the IRS. God decided he would go back to school to be a teacher as well. We both taught in public schools for a long time in California. We were very involved with our church where Harold was a deacon, and both of us taught Sunday School, VBS, Children’s Christmas Musicals, and eventually became the directors of the Sr. High Youth Group. Harold earned a Ph.D., and God called us to Tennessee. Harold teaches at Milligan College, and I taught at Providence Academy until God nudged me in the direction of Children/Youth Ministries at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

 

Erin Williams, Early Learning Program Coordinator

erin williams

Erin Williams, Early Learning Program Coordinator

 

Erin Williams is a native of Greenwood, SC. She graduated from Greenwood High School where she was inducted into the Greenwood High School Athletic Hall of Fame. She attended Furman University in Greenville, SC where she received her BA in Political Science. She is attended Furman on a tennis scholarship and still holds her tennis teaching certification with the United States Professional Tennis Association. While at Furman she met her husband, Robert, a native of Johnson City. She and Robert were married in June of 1995 at Westminster, where Robert is a charter member. After a career as a paralegal, realtor, and clothing store proprietor, she joined the WPC staff. She has served as Director of the Early Learning Program since June of 2005. In addition to her work at WPC, Erin participates in the Junior League, Niswonger Children’s Hospital Spirit Gala Committee, serves as Vice Chair of Personnel on the Board of the Children’s Advocacy Center of the First Judicial District. Erin may be reached at: epofsc@gmail.com

Sandy Smith, Music Director

sandy smith

Sandy Smith, Music Director

Sandy Smith grew up here in Johnson City, the youngest of five children raised by loving, Christian parents. She accepted Christ as Savior at a young age of 6. Grateful to be raised in a church where children and teens were taught the importance of using their gifts to glorify God and given many opportunities to do so. Gifted by God in music, she started serving the Church as pianist at the age of 12. Only two years later she began directing adult & children’s choirs. Sandy majored in Music Education at ETSU. She was called to work in church music ministry and has worked in church much of her life. She was married in 1986 and blessed with two children. Employed with Westminster since April 1994, she has a passion to share the gospel message through the avenue of music and to help others develop their gifts to exalt God. Sandy may be reached at: sandynealsmith@gmail.com

 Willette Ericson, Church Organist

Willette Ericson

Willette Ericson, Church Organist

Willette Ericson grew up in Toccoa, Georgia. After graduating from Toccoa Falls Academy, she attended Moody Bible Institute majoring in church music. She met her husband Keith at MBI, and after completing their studies they served for three years in Liberia, West Africa. When their time in Liberia was complete, they moved to Elizabethton to work at Moody Aviation. Willette also has a BS from ETSU in Elementary and Secondary Education, and an MA in English. She taught in the public school system for 30 years and has served as an assistant principal. Her love for church music goes back to her childhood. Her life has been dedicated to serving the Lord wherever he puts her. Ms. Ericson views participation in music as a privilege and a ministry.

Donna Viens, Secretary

donna viens

Secretary, Donna Viens

Donna Viens grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. She and her husband, Harry, have moved  to  Chuckey, Tennessee, from the north and enjoy living in the Bible Belt. She really is thankful to be serving with people who love the Lord. Ask Donna about the special joy in her life and you will hear about her little grandchildren, Gia and Brett, and the twins, Chase & Ajay. Donna’s daughter Karen and her husband David, who now live in East Tennessee.   Donna has one adult son Andy, who lives in Nantucket, MA. Donna faithfully serves as our church secretary. While diligently keeping our church affairs organized, she is a friend to all, greeting visitors, parents of the Early Learning Program and members, always with grace. Donna may be reached at: office@westminster-jc.org

 

Our ministries are organized under headings called Ministry Teams.  Each team consists of an elder and deacon serving alongside several lay-people.  The teams provide guidance and oversight for their particular area.  To learn more about ministry teams and how you can serve, please contact the church office at 283-4643.