Presbytery Staff
Rev. Dr. William F. Galbraith
General Presbyter
bill@presbyteryofarkansas.org

Bill Galbraith has served as the General Presbyter of the Presbytery of Arkansas since 2009.  He was born near the East Texas oil community of Gladewater. His father was a Presbyterian minister and his mother a high school English teacher. Bill's grandfather was also a Presbyterian minister and his great-grandparents missionaries in Mexico.

 

Moving to San Antonio, Bill was active in church, school and athletic activities. For five years, he was on the permanent summer staff of John Knox Ranch, his presbytery's camp. Accepting an athletic scholarship from Rice University, he began his formal education. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, Bill studied at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary from which he was awarded a Master of Divinity degree. At Louisville, he was recognized for promise in ministry as a recipient of an Anderson Fellowship. In 1984, Bill completed a Doctor of Ministry at McCormick Theological Seminary.

 

Bill was ordained by Missouri Union Presbytery in 1975 and has served congregations in Missouri, Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma. Prior to becoming the General Presbyter, he was the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

 

Commitment beyond the local congregation has led Bill to serve the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. in multiple capacities including moderating Indian Nations Presbytery as well as various committees and commissions. For several years, he joined the adjunct faculty of Austin Presbyterian Seminary as a supervising pastor in the Supervised Practice of Ministry program. He has extensive experience with Committees on Ministry and Presbyterian mission. He has served as the Regional Resource Person for the Theological Education Fund and also on the Boards of Trustees of Mo-Ranch Camp and Conference Center, Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center and Lyon College.

 

Lifelong learning is important to Bill, a regular participant in continuing education events including a colleague group entering its thirty-second year.

 

Bill is married to Sibyl Kingston Galbraith, a CPA in public practice, who specializes in clergy tax and compensation issues.  Bill and Sibyl have two daughters, Beth Sarey, Director of Youth Ministry, for St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Frisco, Texas, and Kate Cook, a pediatric hospitalist in Oklahoma City, two great sons-in-law, Rich Sarey and C.W. Cook, four grandsons, and one granddaughter.

 

For fun, Bill enjoys reading, running, taking beginning piano lessons and exploring new places. He looks forward to each football season and takes in several Rice games each year.

 


 
Rev. Cathy Ulrich
Stated Clerk
cathy@presbyteryofarkansas.org

Stated Clerk Rev. Cathy Ulrich appreciates the way the Presbyterian Church combines faith and knowledge in service to Almighty God.

Her home church, First Presbyterian, Duncan, Oklahoma, has raised five generations of Cathy’s family. Faith and knowledge were combined in a unique way when Cathy attended Oklahoma State University, and was employed by First Presbyterian, Stillwater as a Fellow in Christian Education.  This exploration led to enrollment in Union Seminary (Union/PSCE) upon graduation. Cathy sensed her call to ministry was in Christian Education, but upon receiving her M.Div. God called her to a small church in the panhandle of Texas as a solo pastor.

Ordained at First Presbyterian, Quanah, Texas in 1983, Cathy spent six years in this rural community learning the arts of ministry from wise saints of the church. Her next call was to First Presbyterian, Arkadelphia where she was the solo pastor of a trusting and progressive congregation. It was there that she met and married Tom Ulrich, and has been greatly blessed with an inspired partner in ministry and in life. Before accepting the call to Central Presbyterian, Fort Smith as co-pastor, Cathy was the solo pastor at First Presbyterian, Clarksville, where Tom was the Dean of the Chapel at the University of the Ozarks. She served as Stated Clerk of the Presbytery from Jan., 1999 until June, 2006.

Preaching, teaching, and pastoral care are the center of Cathy’s ministry. Because ministry for Jesus Christ is not limited to church-related activities, Cathy serves on the Board of the Good Samaritan Clinic, as President of the Pastoral Care Committee of Sparks Hospital where she is also a member of the Ethics Committee. She enjoys baseball (Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves), swimming, reading, walking, and dark chocolate.  

She continues to practice grace, forgiveness, commitment, and stewardship hoping that some day she will get it right. Until then, she relies upon the large providence of Almighty God and the love of Jesus Christ to guide her ministry.

Cathy is the staff resource to the Committee on Clusters, Committee on Preparation for Ministry, and the Presbyterian Women Coordinating Team.

 
NiAnn A. Thompson
Resourcing Director
niann@presbyteryofarkansas.org

NiAnn Thompson joined the Presbytery staff in January, 1999 as Resource Center Director, has served as Assistant Stated Clerk since 2001, and serves as staff resource to the Committees on Christian Education and Nurture, Nominations, Representation, and the General Committee. She is also Part-time Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian, Malvern, and is former Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian, Arkadelphia, Westminster Presbyterian, Hot Springs, and First Presbyterian, Jonesboro.

She serves the Presbytery as Adviser to Christian Educators seeking certification and has served on the Ferncliff Camp Board, as Cluster III Representative to Presbytery, and on Committees on Preparation for Ministry and Christian Education. NiAnn is an ordained Elder and Deacon.

She is a 1995 graduate of Memphis Theological Seminary with a M.A. in Religion and a 1991 graduate of Henderson State University with a B.A. in Secondary Education. NiAnn is a Certified Christian Educator.

She and her spouse, J.D., now retired, live in Malvern with their dog. Together they have six adult children, nine grandchildren and three great grands.

 
Britton Varn
Staff Resource for Youth
britton@presbyteryofarkansas.org

Britton Varn is a bonafide P.K. (Preacher's Kid) and can't remember a time when she wasn't active in the church!  Britton, the oldest of Rev. Drew and Rhonda Travis' six kids, grew up in various towns in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  She was raised in the church and is ever-grateful for the love shown to her by members of the congregations where her dad served and other wonderful people in the wider church.  Her hope is to show that same love to young people in churches today.

Britton attended Austin College in Sherman, TX and graduated with degrees in International Studies and Spanish.  While at Austin College, she was very involved in the ACtivators program and did a Study Abroad year in Madrid, Spain.  Immediately following college, she married her wonderful husband, Chris, who is a Software Architect with NIC, Inc.

Britton has served as Director of Jr. High Ministry at Preston Hollow Presbyterian in Dallas, and as Director of Youth Ministry at Second Presbyterian in Little Rock.  In addition to her part-time work here at the Presbytery, Britton is the Director of the Presbyterian Youth Workers' Association (PYWA), a national organization for PC(U.S.A.) youth workers.  She also teaches Spanish to 3 and 4 year-olds at Second Presbyterian Preschool.

Britton has three wonderful children - Riley (7), Gracie (4), and Kira (2).  As a family, they love swimming, traveling, playing board games, and reading books out loud!  The Varns are active members at Second Presbyterian in Little Rock.


 
Kenneth Rich
Director of Mission Support
kenneth@presbyteryofarkansas.org

Kenneth is a native of Louisiana and graduated from Centenary College with a Bachelors of Science in Accounting degree. He was most recently employed as the North American Fixed Asset Accountant for Almatis, Inc., where he worked since 2005. His prior work, from 1993 to 2005, was with Alltel Communications in a variety of accounting positions and from 1990 to 1993 with AT&T. From 1997 to 2000, Kenneth served as the Treasurer for Habitat for Humanity of Pulaski County.

Kenneth and his family are active in the life of Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock where Kenneth sings in the adult choir and is a youth group advisor. He has also served as Second Presbyterian's treasurer. Away from work, Kenneth enjoys spending time with his children at their sporting events, visiting extended family in the area, watching good movies and reading good books.

 
Rev. Michael Vinson
Staff Resource CC&D


Michael Vinson is Parish Associate for Worship and Spirituality at First Presbyterian Church in Conway.  Michael has a Master of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Tennessee in Community Health Education and Organization.  He has a Certificate in Spiritual Formation from Columbia Seminary where he has also been trained in New Church Development.  He has served as chair of the New Church Development Committee of this Presbytery and currently serves on the Committee on Ministry.  Michael has worked with a variety of congregations, administrative commissions and middle governing bodies in discerning new directions and transformation strategies.  This Spring Michael facilitated the Individual Health and Balance workshop and co-facilitated the Organizational Health and Balance Workshop as part of the Spring Academy for the Genuine Contact program.  He frequently works as facilitator, consultant and mentor with Dalar International, a company devoted to holistic approaches to organizational transformation around the world.

Michael is married to Karen Young Vinson who serves on the Committee on Preparation for Ministry for the Presbytery.  Michael and Karen have a blended family including four sons, two daughter-in-laws and three grandchildren.  Michael is a potter and enjoys the lessons he learns from the clay about transformation.  

 
Rev. Jesus Juan (Jesse) Gonzalez
Presbytery Evangelist


 

A native of the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo, Jesse Gonzalez is the organizing pastor of Comunidad Presbiteriana Hispana Northwest Arkansas Hispanic New Church Development based at First Presbyterian, Springdale.

He is a 1983 graduate of  Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico where he received a Bachelors in Business Administration.  He is a 1992 graduate of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, Texas where he earned  a Master of Divinity.  Jesse  was ordained in November, 1992 at Presbiterio del Noreste, National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. Jesse has served the Iglesia Nacional Presbiteriana de Mexico in a number of positions and has served the PC(USA) in Mission Presbytery and the Pesbytery of Coastal Carolina.

Jesse and wife Bertha are the proud parents of three sons Isaí (wife Heather), Abner and Obed.

 
Sheree Niece
Moderator of General Committee


Born and raised by a loving family on a farm in northeastern Ohio, Sherée (Parrot) Niece moved with her husband, Rick, to Clarksville, Arkansas, in 1997 to become the First Lady at the University of the Ozarks. Coming from a family of educators, Sherée graduated from a liberal arts college with a degree in elementary education.

In addition to her duties as First Lady and Director of Campus and Community Relations at Ozarks, Sherée has served as a Governor-appointed Commissioner to the District 5 Criminal Detention Facility Review Committee, a member of the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, board member of the Johnson County Community Foundation, board chair for Forrester-Davis Development Center, and past president of P.E.O. Chapter CJ.  As an elder at Clarksville First Presbyterian Church, Sherée is active in Presbyterian Women, having served as moderator and cluster moderator on the Presbyterian Women Coordinating Team.  She has been a member of General Committee since 2009.

As she and her husband prepare for his retirement in June, they look forward to relocating to Hot Springs Village.  They will become involved in community activities, travel, and work on Rick's third book.  Sherée enjoys typing and reading and has proofread six published books including two of her husbands', Side-Yard Superhero and The Band Plays On.

She looks forward to serving the church during this exciting time of change and renewal.

 
Clare Martin Kelley
Moderator of Presbytery


Clare grew up in Alabama where she was a lifelong Presbyterian.  She graduated from Auburn University in 1973 and moved to Houston, Texas, where she attended law school and practiced law for almost a decade.  Only then did she hear God’s call to the ministry.  After graduating from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1991, she came to Arkansas to serve First Presbyterian Church in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.

Since 2003, she has been the pastor of the two congregations which are members of the Northwest Arkansas Larger Presbyterian Parish, First Presbyterian Church, Eureka Springs, and Holiday Island Presbyterian Church.  During the almost 10 years she has been the Pastor of the parish, she has at various times served the Presbytery as a member of the General Council (as it was called then), as Stated Clerk, as Cluster representative for Cluster 2, and on various committees, commissions and task forces.  She is grateful to the members and sessions of the churches of the NWALP, for their support of her service to the larger church. 

 
Ed Wilkinson
Vice Moderator of the Presbytery


Ed Wilkinson was baptized as an infant at Central Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith, and joined the church through its communicant's class in 1971. At Central, he served both as Deacon and as Elder. Later, responding to the "still small voice," he became a member of the small congregation of Good Shepherd Church in Greenwood, where he was elected Clerk of Session. A graduate of the Presbytery of Arkansas Lay Academy, he fills the pulpit most Sundays and leads the adult Sunday school class. Ed served three years on the presbytery’s Committee on Ministry and served as a commissioner for the 221st PC(USA) General Assembly.

Ed served in the United States Navy supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, completing his service at the rank of Commander.  He was elected to the Arkansas legislature, where he served for 16 years.   Ed enjoys studying history and his family’s geneaology, and has served over 21 years as a volunteer firefighter in Greenwood.  He and his wife LaDonna have one son, Daniel, a student in the Honors College at the University of Arkansas.


 
David Dyer
Assistant Stated Clerk
david@presbyteryofarkansas.org

David was born in Munich, Germany, July 22, 1948 to M/Sgt Vernard Craft Dyer and Maxine Laflin Dyer.  He grew up in St. Louis, Washington D.C., Battle Creek, Michigan and Richmond, Virginia;  graduated from George Wythe High School, Richmond, Virginia, 1966, King College, Bristol, Tennessee, with an A.B. degree in English (Linguistics), 1970, and Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, with a D.Min. Degree in 1974.  He was ordained in Hanover Presbytery in 1974.

David has served as Pastor of Village Presbyterian Church (PCUS), Richmond, Virginia from 1974 to 1978, as Pastor of Oaks Presbyterian Church (UPCUSA), Houston, Texas from 1978 to 1986, as Pastover of Westover Hills Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Little Rock, Arkansas from 1986 to 1993, on the faculty of Philander Smith College, 1994 and 1995, taught at Arkansas Governor's School 1993-1995, and served as Interim Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Arkansas from 1996 until 1998.  He recently retired as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Arkansas where he had served since 1998.  David worked on the Task Force for both Daily Prayer and The Book of Common Worship, primarily doing the Easter and Lent sections.  He is currently serving Westminster Presbyterian Church in Little Rock as stated supply.

David has served on and moderated the Worship Committee and the Committee on Ministry for the Presbytery of Arkansas, served as President of the Ferncliff Board of Trustees and chaired the building committee for the Brown Center.

David married Marian Erdman Dyer in 1971 and they have two daughters, Jennifer (age 38) and Lucy (age 35), and two grandchildren, Joseph (age 16) and Miranda (age 13).

He enjoys Civil War History, computer gaming, and reading in the areas of mathematics, physics, cosmology, linguistics, and history.  He actively plays the game HeroScape.

In 2004 David was diagnosed with colon cancer and has had successful surgery and chemotherapy.  In 2005 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgskins Lymphoma.  Following two and a half years of chemotherapy, he is now cancer-free;  thanks be to God!