George Ragsdale - Pastor
The Rev. George Ragsdale is the Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Belmont. He preaches, teaches, and helps lead the congregation as we seek to be more like Jesus Christ for our community and beyond. George is passionate about the church and hopes to connect the rich history and tradition of our faith to the struggles we face in the twenty-first century.
George earned his undergraduate degree at Duke University in Durham in political science and religion. In 2005 he received his Masters of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School. An Ordained Elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, George’s ministry has included service in two rural churches in Yadkin County, North Carolina and churches in the British Methodist Church north of Manchester, England. Most recently he served for six years as the Minister of Discipleship at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is married to Courtney Wells Morton, who coordinates research around homelessness for Mecklenburg County, They have two daughters, Claire and Anne Louise. In what’s left of his spare time, he enjoys movies, biking, reading and the theater.
Kristen Surratt - Director of Discipleship Ministries
Kristen works with learning, outreach and nurture ministries of the church to encourage and challenge members as disciples of Christ as they grow in faith and faithful living. These include Sunday School, children's programs and activities, adult studies, fellowship and mission/outreach opportunities. She holds an undergraduate degree in English from Queens University in Charlotte and will complete her Masters of Arts degree in Christian Practice at Duke University Divinity School this summer. A native of Pennsylvania, Kristen and her husband David currently live in Charlotte. She loves the Philadelphia Eagles, playing tennis, and traveling.
Margie Ligon - Director of Youth Ministries
Margie Ligon leads our ministry with youth, overseeing all the ways we seek to help youth build community, grow as disciples and serve the community in Jesus’ name. Prior to FUMC, Margie served for five years as the Director of Youth Ministries and Spiritual Gifts Development at Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Fort Mill, South Carolina. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Masters of Arts degree in Christian Practice from Duke Divinity School. She and her husband, Arthur, live in Fort Mill. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Janice Pennington - Business Manager
Janice is the Business Manager at First United Methodist in Belmont. She has been on staff for 9 years and a member of FUMC Belmont for 25 years. She is married to Sam Pennington and they have 2 sons and a daughter-in-law, Steven & Danielle Pennington who live in Washington, DC and Eric Pennington who lives in Belmont. Janice enjoys trips to Blowing Rock as often as possible, walking, reading and chocolate.
Renee Painter - Director of Music
Renee graduated from South Point High School and Mars Hill University where she earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree. She has been Music Direct0r/Organist at First United Methodist Church Belmont since 1994. Renee is married to Tim and they live in Belmont. Their daughter, Erin, lives in Jonas Ridge, NC, with her husband Josh, and their daughter, Nora; son, Jacob, lives in Asheville where he is pursuing a career in marketing/management; son, Jonathan, is a music education major at Furman University. Renee enjoys spending time and singing with her children and being “Mimi” to granddaughter, Nora.
Carole Bertino - Administrative Assistant
Carole Bertino joined our staff in June, 2016 as our Administrative Assistant. Her primary responsibilities are coordination and production of our weekly bulletins and monthly newsletter. Carole and her husband, Rich, moved to the Belmont area from Tucson, Arizona, where she served on staff at St. Mark's United Methodist Church.
Linda Smith - Director of Child Development Center
Linda and her family joined First United Methodist Belmont in September 1975. The Child Development Center opened May 1976 and Linda became our Director and has remained with us for 36 years. She has more than 40 years of experience in child development. She also has both Early Childhood and Business Administration Credentials. Her daughter, Melanie is with Land Rover of Charlotte and her grandchild, Aubrey is a 6th grader and lives in Belmont. Linda lives at Lake Wylie and finds that to be a peaceful setting. She enjoys dancing and is a member of several Shag Clubs. The Beach is her home away from home, but most of all she enjoys spoiling her grandchild.
Shelton Davis - Pastoral Counselor
Shelton is a Licensed Professional Counselor (L.P.C.) and National Certified Counselor (N.C.C.) with Sanctuary Counseling Group. Shelton works with individuals (adults and adolescents), couples, and families. She specializes in working with clients struggling with grief and loss, depression, anxiety, marriage problems, mood disorders, adjustment disorders, self-esteem, life transitions, faith issues, caregiver stress, and finding meaning in life. She also offers premarital counseling. Shelton is an ordained elder of the United Methodist Church and formerly served as a chaplain at Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville and Gaston Memorial Hospital. Shelton completed her undergraduate work at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received her Master of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. She received her Master of Counseling degree from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. For more information, please go to www.sanctuarycounselinggroup.org.