George Ragsdale - Senior Pastor The Rev. George Ragsdale is the Senior 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.  Previously, he served for six years as the Minister of Discipleship at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.  George has two daughters, Claire and Anne Louise.  His wife, Catherine, serves as a trauma registrar with Atrium Health.  

Ellen Robison - Minister of Worship and the Arts The Reverend Ellen Robison serves as our Minister of Worship and the Arts, with primary responsibility for all our aspects of our music ministry. Raised in Indiana with two sisters by a family of educators, Ellen was drawn to music early in life and she learned to play the piano, the organ and the cello. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. She taught high school in Indiana for six years and then moved to Wilmington, NC in 1989 to begin teaching at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. While there, she served as music director at two churches, worked for four years on the “Matlock” television show, and directed over 100 musicals for the local professional theatre company. In 2003 Ellen received a call to ministry and enrolled in Duke Divinity School. Graduating in 2006, her first appointment was at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte. She then served as the Minister of Worship and the Arts at the historic Riverside Church in New York City from 2016 until 2019. In joining our staff, Ellen shares, “I am excited to be back in North Carolina and thrilled to be serving at First United Methodist Church in Belmont, where people take their discipleship journey seriously and are deeply engaged in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the community and around the world.”        

Kelly Connelly - Director of Youth Ministries Kelly joined our staff in January 2024 as the Director of Youth Ministries. She oversees all the ways we seek to help youth build a loving and safe community, grow as disciples, and help others in Jesus’ name. Kelly grew up in Hendersonville, North Carolina and was active in her church’s youth ministry throughout middle and high school. After graduating high school, she spent eight months planning and executing service projects with the Young Dreamer Network in India, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. She then attended UNC Chapel Hill, where she played clarinet, tuba, and served as Drum Major of the UNC Marching Tar Heels. Kelly has worked for various United Methodist summer camps since 2014, most recently serving as the Day Camp and After School Director at Mount Shepherd Retreat Center in Asheboro, North Carolina. She is deeply passionate about sharing the Light of Christ, developing the faith of the next generation, and of course, having fun!  

Margie Ligon - Director of Missions Margie Ligon joined our staff in May, 2017 and serves as our Director over Missions. Margie started in this part time role January of 2024.  When hired over six years ago she was our Director of ministry with youth and young adults. In 2020 Margie added to her role of interim staff liaison to the Service and Missions team.and continued that responsibility for the past four years. Prior to FUMC, Margie served  at Assurance United Methodist Church in Huntersville NC and  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 seven grandchildren.  

Doreen Collins - Director of Adult Discipleship Doreen joined our staff in September of 2021.  In 2019 Doreen moved from Charleston, SC to Belmont.  While living in Charleston she worked for Hibben United Methodist Church as their Director of Adult Discipleship.  Doreen has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Siena College in Loudonville, NY.  She has a passion for bringing people together in a small group setting to read Scripture, share their stories and learn how God is moving in their lives.  

Jennifer Martin - Director of Children's Ministries Jennifer joined our staff in January 2021 after being a member since 2004. Jennifer was an elementary school teacher and administrator before staying home with her three kids. During that time she was active in volunteer ministry, both at FUMC Belmont and with Community Bible Study. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Erskine College and a Master of School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She and husband, Brandon, have three children- Greta, Fletcher and Piper and a rescue dog named Zeppelin.  

Mark Sutton - Business Administrator
Mark Sutton is our Business Administrator.  Mark has been a lifelong member of the Methodist Church, joining FUMC Belmont in 2014 shortly after he and his wife Cheryl moved to the area. They have since welcomed a daughter, Marie, who just started Kindergarten at New Hope Elementary. Mark previously served on the Finance Committee at FUMC Belmont, including two years as Chair. Professionally, he has over 17 years of experience in data and analysis and has served in leadership roles for the past 10 years. He also holds a Master of Science degree from Northwestern University and dual Bachelor of Science degrees from NC State University.  

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 UMC.    

Heather Gaskins - Director of Child Development Center Heather Gaskins joined our staff in September, 2022 as the Director of our Child Development Center.  Heather comes to us from Park Road Baptist Church CDC in Charlotte, a 5-star daycare program with over 170 children, where she had been the director since 2008.  She has over 27 years of experience in early childhood education, including 9 years as a TK lead teacher.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UNC-Charlotte in early childhood education and received her Early Childhood Administrative Level Three Credential from CPCC.  She is passionate about partnering with families in the care of their children.  Heather and her family live in Belmont.


For more information, contact Mark Sutton:; 704-825-2106

For more information about our Child Development Center, contact Heather Gaskins:; 704-825-4634