Meet Our Staff

Pastor Keith Ritchie

Pastor Keith has been married to the former Paula Waller for almost thirty years and they have two daughters, Bekah and Liz.

Keith grew up in Harrisonburg, VA, and graduated with a Social Work degree from Eastern Mennonite College, then attended Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, graduating with a Master of Divinity Degree in 1986. He has served churches in Virginia's Northern Neck, Shawville, Richmond, and Colonial Heights.

He enjoys running, gardening, cooking (especially baking bread), and the music of Frank Sinatra. Time spent at the beach finds him flying kites, and darkened nights will find him enjoying starwatching. He has a lifelong love of baseball and is anxiously awaiting the Washington Nationals' appearance in playoff baseball this year.

Pastor Keith is thrilled to be in ministry with First Church, Martinsville, and looks forward to shared worship and service of God in this community and beyond.

Director of Music Ministries Jill Gardner

Jill Gardner comes to Martinsville via Kernersville, NC where she lives with her husband, bass-baritone Jake Gardner, and their adorable "Chiweenie" dog, Bear.  A native North Carolinian, Jill has been recognized internationally as a lyrico spinto soprano, specializing in the music of Puccini and Verdi.  As a professional soprano, she has sung with such recognized companies as Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, the Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center, Florida Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Carolina, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, and Hawaii Opera Theater, to name a few. This season, she returns to Virginia Opera as Anna Maurrant in Kurt Weill's Street Scene and debuts with Greensboro Opera in the title role of Puccini's Madama Butterfly.

Jill began her church music ministry as organist of her home church, Mizpah Moravian Church, when she was 13 years old. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Centenary College of Louisiana and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from UNC-Greensboro. She has also studied organ locally with John and Margaret Mueller and the late Dr. Jonathan Biggers of Binghamton, NY. For the past 25 years, she has served many denominations as Director of Music Ministries/Organist including Moravian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Catholic denominations, and is delighted to begin her ministry here at FUMC. Let us truly sing a new song! (Psalm 33:3))

Youth and Children's Director Matthew Hoover

Matthew Hoover (Matt) is the newest member of staff at First United Methodist Church. Matthew received his B.A. in Religious Studies from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. 

From a young age, Matthew has felt the call to ministry. He has made it his life's goal to seek out the truth of God in order to help guide others into the Lord's loving embrace. He has interned under many different denominations, ranging from Presbyterian and Methodist to interdenominational congregations. Along the way he has picked up many different skills in leadership and organization, but has never lost his heart to help guide anyone of any age into a relationship with Jesus. Most notably, Matthew has been a head intern for Southbrook Community Church's youth group, where he co-led and organized youth gatherings and retreats with their youth minister. Matthew has a true servant's heart for the community where God has placed him, which he eagerly waits to put into full use. 

Matthew currently resides in Winston-Salem with his wife Sarah and their two cats, Esther and Molly.

Business Manager Karen Turney

Karen first came to us as Financial Secretary, and her acceptance of that position at First United Methodist Church resulted in her return to her native Henry County, after spending several years in North Carolina. In 2004, she was elevated to position of Business Manager. While living in North Carolina, Karen used her accounting skills in service to many civic and non-profit organizations. She served as CFO of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Karen graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in accounting.

She and her husband, Tony, have two children, Ben and Elizabeth. Karen is active in the Church of God of Prophecy in Eden, North Carolina, as well as in many community organizations. She enjoys reading, antiquing, and spending time with her family.

Early Learning Center Director Laura Elkins

Laura has worked at the Early Learning Center (ELC) at First Church since January, 1995. Prior to joining the church staff, she was an interior designer with a local firm. Her love of crafts and spending time at home with her chidren when they were young were major influences on her calling by the Lord for His work. 

She began serving as part-time teaching assistant, planning crafts and Bible stories for the ELC, eventually becoming a full-time teacher. She was blessed to become the Director of the ELC in June, 1996. 

Her family has been very supportive of her career change. Laura and her husband, David, enjoy Christian retreats, concerts and watching basketball. Laura enjoys art, baking and Noah's Ark collectibles.

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