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.”

Margie Ligon - Director of Missions, Youth and Young Adult Ministries Margie Ligon joined our staff in May, 2017 and 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. Margie is also serving as our interim staff liaison to the Service and Missions team. Prior to FUMC, Margie served for six years at Assurance United Methodist Church in Huntersville NC and 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 five grandchildren.

DOREEN EAGER - Director of Adult Discipleship Doreen and her family moved to Belmont from Charleston SC in 2019.  Their son Andrew graduated college in May and now lives in Nashville TN and their daughter Alexandra is a freshman at East Carolina University.  Her husband Joe works as a Cloud Architect.  They were members of Hibben United Methodist Church in Mt. Pleasant SC for seven years.  They have been attending FUMC services virtually, and more recently in person. Doreen was on staff at Hibben UMC as Director of Discipleship from 2017 until they moved in 2019.  She also served on the Administrative Council and their Capital Campaign committees.  Prior to Hibben she worked for General Electric Research Center for 13 years.  Doreen is looking forward to serving FUMC through discipleship and small groups.

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 just added a rescue dog named Zeppelin.    

Janice Pennington - Business Manager Janice is the Business Manager at First United Methodist in Belmont.  She has been on staff since 2003 and a member of FUMC Belmont since 1986.  She is married to Sam Pennington and they have two sons and two grandchildren.  Janice enjoys trips to Blowing Rock as often as possible, spending time with her grandchildren, reading and chocolate.  

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 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 ever since.  She has more than 40 years of experience in child development.  She also has both Early Childhood and Business Administration Credentials.  Linda has one daughter, Melanie, and one granddaughter, Aubrey, who live 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.


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

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