An Arkansas native, Rev. Robert Lowry grew up in Little Rock and was a member of Second Presbyterian Church and later a charter member of St. Margaret Episcopal Church. He holds degrees from Millsaps College (B.A. History/Religion), Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (M.Div), Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University (M.T.S. Christian Ethics/ Practical Theology) and Columbia Theological Seminary (D. Min. Gospel and Culture). He is currently (slowly) pursuing a PhD at King's College in the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) in the area of Political/Practical Theology.
Since being ordained in 2001, Robert has served congregations in Louisiana, Michigan and Arkansas. He served the presbytery as a member of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry and the Presbytery General Committee, a reader for ordination exams, commissioner to the Synod of the Sun, and currently serves on the Presbytery Youth Advisory Team. From 2013-2015 he moderated the Presbytery Restructure Taskforce. With the synod he served as a member of the Coordinating Team, moderator of the Synod Stewardship Ministry moderator of the Synod Co-Leader Search Committee. On behalf of the synod, Robert served as a representative to the University of the Ozarks and the Texas Presbyterian Foundation boards. He is currently a trustee of Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Family Services. Robert has taught as an adjunct instructor at Hendrix College and is currently serving as Adjunct Professor of Religion at the University of the Ozarks.
In his spare time, Robert enjoys travel, reading, spending time with family and friends, and being taken on walks by his two Springer spaniels, Willie and Mo.
Assistant Stated Clerk
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.
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!
NiAnn A. Thompson
NiAnn Thompson joined the Presbytery staff in January, 1999 as Resource Center Director, served as Assistant Stated Clerk from 2001-2013, and serves as staff resource to the Committees on Christian Education and Nurture, Nominations, Representation, and the Committee on Ministry. 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 is a widow and lives in Hot Springs with her dog. She has a blended family of six adult children, nine grandchildren and four great grands.
Staff Resource for Youth
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 four wonderful children - Riley, Gracie, Kira, and Declan. 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.
Director of Mission Support
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.
Clare Martin Kelley
Moderator of General Committee
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.
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.
Rev. Lacy Sellars
Vice Moderator of the Presbytery
Lacy is a lifelong Presbyterian who grew up and was confirmed at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC. He graduated from Furman University in 1976 with a B.A. in Religion and earned his M. Div. degree from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in 1980. While on a chaplaincy internship at Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City in 1978, he met Darlene High in the same program, and they were married the next year. Darlene has a Masters in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Although Lacy is a native of North Carolina, each church he has served has been within the Synod of the Sun. In 1980, he was ordained as Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in El Dorado, Arkansas. In 1982 he accepted a call as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Midwest City, Oklahoma, where Darlene served as Chaplain of Midwest City Regional Hospital. In 1995, Lacy was called as Pastor of Bellaire Presbyterian Church in Bellaire, Texas. After ten years he led a successful merger with Braeburn Presbyterian Church to form the new ChristChurch Presbyterian in Bellaire.
Lacy has been the Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Hot Springs since 2010, serving on the Committee on Ministry. He enjoys being a liaison to churches in transition and serving as a mentor to CREs as they lead small congregations. In 2014 Lacy received his Doctor of Ministry Degree from Austin Presbyterian Seminary with a concentration in Proclamation and Worship. He and Darlene have a daughter, Caroline, who lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Bryan Lieber.