Joe Albright

Joe Albright

Pastor

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Joe Albright, the Pastor of Geneva Presbyterian Church. Together, my wife Robbie and I have five daughters, Celia, Marley, Cori, Emily, and Noelle. We all love spending time on the ocean and I especially enjoy surfing and fishing. It also gives me great joy to lead this family of faith, and to belong to a community that serves and loves unconditionally. I am a graduate of Flagler College and Columbia Theological Seminary.  Before entering the ministry, I taught high school Spanish in Cape Hatteras North Carolina and Lawrence Tavern, Jamaica. I have served churches in Sarasota and Jacksonville, Florida and also currently write daily devotionals for the Dial Hope Foundation(www.dialhope.org).

If I, or any other member of the staff, can be helpful to you in anyway, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (904) 287-4865, or send along an email. Grace and Peace, Joe Albright

Patty Rasor

Patty Rasor

Church Secretary

Patty has been secretary for Geneva for seven years and a church secretary for over 25 years. She and her husband, Gregg, (both Florida natives!) moved to the Jacksonville  in 2010.

Gregg and Patty have two children and two granddaughters. When not working they love to travel, explore, going to concerts and especially spending time with our families. Patty loves the Lord and has been involved with the women of the church, assisting with Sunday School, helping out with VBS and Wednesday night fellowship dinners.

Lorrie Watkins

Lorrie Watkins

Youth Director

Lorrie teaches 62 1st Graders at once! Through a virtual classroom, which is an amazing testament to her ability to handle groups of young folks and technology.  Lorrie received her BA in Christian Education from Presbyterian College and MA in Christian Ed from Pfeiffer University. She also holds a MA in Early Childhood Education from Converse College. Lorrie is a life-long Presbyterian, ordained elder, and has served churches through the years as Youth Director, Christian Educator and volunteer!
Teri Batchelor

Teri Batchelor

Church Administrator

Teri received her BS degree in Finance from the University of Florida.  She has lived in St Johns for over 20 years and has worked at Geneva for over 10 years.  Currently, she handles the financial responsibilities at the church.  She is married and has two daughters.  Teri loves to teach Sunday School and share her faith with children.  She loves God, her family, going to the beach and cheering for the Gators
Carol Calvert

Carol Calvert

Bell Choirs Director

 Carol moved to Florida in 1993 from western Massachusetts.  She has studied and plays organ and piano and has played hand bells for over 30 years including 5 years under direction of clinician, Valerie Stephenson.  She sings with the Jacksonville Masterworks Chorale.  Miss Carol also plays with, and has directed, the River City Ringers, and advanced Handbell choir.

The Joyful Ringers hand bell choir plays each month, level 2 – 3 with chimes and techniques.

Mr. Carol, is in charge of the property committee.  He will also answer to Cliff.

Vallis Henley

Vallis Henley

Director, Pre-School and Children's Ministry

Presbyterian PreSchoolI am so excited to be the director of the preschool at Geneva Presbyterian Church.  I feel that I have been led to this position and church to help start the preschool and grow the children’s ministry.  I am passionate about early childhood education and am eager to put my knowledge and experience to work.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and am certified to teach Prek – 3rd grade.  Most recently I have worked as independent contractor with University of Florida as an online instructor for Early Childhood courses.  Before working at UF, I worked at Episcopal Children’s Services as an Early Learning Specialist.  I have also worked as a Kindergarten teacher in Saint John’s County and continue to substitute with the county.  I am married to Kenny and we have three daughters.

Roman Testroet

Roman Testroet

Director of Music

Roman recently relocated to St. Augustine from Durham, NC, where he was a graduate student at Duke in Historical Musicology, with interests in Church Music and Hip-Hop. In addition to his position as Music Director at Pilgrim United Church of Christ, Roman directed the Collegium Musicum Early Music Choir at Duke and served as the Interim Curator of their instrument collection. He has been a frequent collaborator with the Triangle-based Voices of a New Renaissance, Singers of New and Ancient Music, El Fuego, and Christ Church Raleigh’s Schola Cantorum.

Esther Kirkham

Esther Kirkham

Organist

Esther moved to North Florida in September of 2010 from South Florida where she had been organist at First Presbyterian Church in Boca Raton for seventeen years. She earned her B.A. with a major in music from Malone University in Canton, Ohio and her M.M. in applied organ from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Additional organ study was done under Diane Bish at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Ft. Lauderdale and additional piano study was with Judith Burganger of Florida Atlantic University. She is a member of the Jacksonville American Guild of Organists and serves on the Executive Board. She sings with the Jacksonville Masterworks Chorale.
  • We were founded 30 years ago, in 1988, by a group of 130 stalwarts many of whom are still with us today.  We value our Presbyterian heritage and we love the people God brings us. We believe that it is important to show God’s love to the world through service.  We are a theologically diverse, caring, Christ-centered congregation with a surprisingly big impact and we’d welcome you into our fellowship.
  • We are a place where many generations interact, share, learn from and bless each other. And we are on the adventure of being church together.
  • Prayer at Geneva.  We are a Christ-centered church and prayer is the foundation of all we do. If you have a prayer request, send it to our church office administrator at: admin@genevapresbyterian.org. If you’d like to learn more about prayer, join us for a prayer group in the pastor’s study Thursdays at 9:30 am or get involved in one of our small groups.
  • If you have a question about our church, do not hesitate to call the church office at (904) 287-4865.
Baptism at Jacksonville Presbyterian C hurchHere’s a quick summary:

Presbyterians believe in:

  • The sovereignty of God
  • The authority of Scripture
  • Justification by grace through faith
  • The priesthood of all believers

First and foremost, Presbyterians are Christians.  We believe that God has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit through the scriptures.

We emphasize the sovereignty of God.  The spirit of that statement is something called “the Halverson Benediction”:  “You go no where by accident – wherever you go, God is sending you.  Wherever you are, God has a purpose for you being there.  Christ who lives in you by the power of the Holy Spirit has something he wants to do in you and through you wherever you are. Believe this and go in God’s grace, God’s love, and God’s power.  Amen.”

We believe that the Scriptures have authority.  While we appreciate, learn from, and respect what the church has confessed down through the ages (i.e. the Apostles Creed), we believe the scriptures are, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s unique and authoritative revelation of Jesus Christ and God’s Word.

There is not one regimented worship style for the Presbyterian Church overall. Rather, the emphasis is placed on glorifying God, the preaching of God’s Word, and responding with our lives.  We enjoy singing psalms, hymns, and anthems of worship in many different styles.  At Geneva, we feature a service that celebrates many expressions and styles of  music. If you are from a different kind of church (Baptist, Catholic, non-denominational), you are likely to find aspects of our worship service that feel familiar.   Many times, couples with different denominational backgrounds find that being a Presbyterian is a good compromise.

We affirm education and encourage people to study on their own.  We believe that learning and examining faith against our lives enables us to put faith into practice.  We believe this is the best route for spiritual growth and living in a way that glorifies God.  That makes our church a good place for asking and living with questions and testing our faith to understand it.    We are centered on Jesus and trust God through Jesus Christ.  Beyond that, we don’t insist on uniformity of beliefs and interpretations.

We emphasize community.  We understand our faith better was we live it out with other people.  At Geneva Presbyterian Church, we have a saying –

The Christian Faith Is Not A Solo Sport!

The word “Presbyterian” refers to governance by elders.  (The Greek word for elder  is presbuteros).   Pastors are “teaching elders” and are responsible for teaching the scriptures and the faith of the church.  “Ruling elders” are elected from within the congregation and are called to measure the progress of the church against the measure (or rule) of faith called for in scripture and expressed in our confessions.  The primary task of elders is to lead the congregation in the way of Jesus Christ.

There are many Presbyterian denominations.

While all of them have roots to the theology of Calvin and his immediate successors, there is a range of theological views within contemporary Presbyterianism.   Our denomination, the PC(USA) is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S., and is the most diverse.  We emphasize that God is the Lord of the consciences and value education.  While we encourage faith and reason, we see questions and doubts as an important pathway to discovering the depths of truth.

A Partial List of a Few Famous American Presbyterians

Peter and Kathryn Marshall, Ruth Bell Graham (wife of Billy Graham), John Ortberg, Lloyd Oglevie, Tim Keller, Henrietta Meers, Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, Ann LaMotte, Roy Rogers, Arnold Palmer, John Wayne, John Witherspoon, Sam Walton, Jimmy Stewart, Ann Coulter, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Jim Carrey, Dick Van Dyke, Christine Todd Whitman.  As you can tell, Presbyterians are quite a diverse bunch.

 

Geneva Presbyterian Church Fruit CoveWhat is in a denomination?  Geneva was a new church development of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  It was launched with the support of the leadership and resources of the our regional council, the Presbytery of St. Augustine.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) formed in 1983 when the “northern” United Presbyterian Church (USA) joined with the “southern” Presbyterian Church (US) to create one national church.  It’s predecessor denominations had split apart during the Civil war, reuniting after 118 years.

The PC(USA) is the largest Presbyterian denomination in our country and has congregations in every state.  Currently there are about 1.8 million members.

The word “Presbyterian” has mainly to do with our governance.  We are “governed by elders”.   We trace our roots back to John Knox in Scotland and to John Calvin’s Protestant Reformation in Geneva, Switzerland.

Our denomination has a two part constitution. Part II, The Book of Order, governs how a local congregation should be led and defines our relationship to other Presbyterian councils and congregations.  What Presbyterians believe is captured in Part I, The Book of Confessions.  We affirm our confessions to be a collection of “reliable expositions of what the scriptures teach.”  Ultimately, we affirm that God is revealed most completely in the person of Jesus Christ, who is revealed to us by the power of the Holy Spirit through the scriptures of the Old and New Testament.  In other words, we believe that we have to answer to Jesus for how we do church.

Another Presbyterian value is this: God is Lord of the conscience.  We have in our membership a fairly broad representation of theological perspectives.   You could say that we value hearing different voices.   It keeps our Sunday School classes interesting.

Here are some links that may be of interest:-

The Presbytery of St. Augustine 

PC (USA) official website

 

History

Martin Luther

Presbyterianism has its roots in the European Reformation but found its distinction through the Scottish Reformation. The Protestant Reformation was a theological movement intended to reform the Church. As the Catholic Church resisted the reformers, the Church split and different theological movements bore different denominations.  In 1517, the noted German monk and professor Martin Luther took issue, as did many, with the way the Roman Catholic churches of the times were interpreting the Bible and trying to run lives both secular and sacred. He famously posted his grievances on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, and it is this moment that is said to have marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Ulricht Zwingli

Emboldened by Luther, in 1522, Ulricht Zwingli began to lead a protest in Zurich, Switzerland.  His reforms emphasized simplicity and intelligibility in worship.  He objected to the lenten fast, developed a communion liturgy that was in everyday language, and encouraged the reading and hearing of scripture.   In 1529, he and Luther met in Marburg to see if they could combine their efforts- but the two could not come to agreement regarding the presence of Christ in communion.  Zwingli was killed in 1531 in a battle between Catholic and Protestant cantons in Switzerland.   But his ideas greatly influenced other reformers, especially a young French law student named John Calvin.

John Calvin

In 1536, persuaded by his friend William Farrel, Calvin began his first ministry in the town of Geneva, Switzerland.  Calvin would be forced out of Geneva but would later be invited back.  In addition to preaching and teaching, Calvin was a prolific scholar, writing catechisms,  translating scriptures, and producing a commentary on every book of the Bible except Revelation.  Over his lifetime wrote and rewrote one of the most significant works of theology ever published: the Institutes of the Christian Religion, which still serves as the foundation for Reformed (Presbyterian) theology.  Presbyterianism applies Reformed principles to church government.  John Knox, a Scotsman who studied with Calvin in Geneva brought his teachings back to Scotland. In August of 1560 the Scottish Parliament adopted the Protestant Confession of Faith as the creed of the Scottish Kingdom.

John Knox

John Knox

In December of that year, the First Book of Discipline was published, outlining important doctrinal issues but also establishing regulations for church government, including the creation of ten ecclesiastical districts with pointed superintendents which later became known as presbyteries.

 

 

Kirkin o the Tartan at Geneva Presbyterian Church

 

And in more recent times, our own Clerk of Session, Rick Ulp, honored the late John Knox on the 500th  anniversary of the Presbyterian Church, which happened to coincide with our Kirkin ‘o’ the Tartans…. we were all kilted up anyway!