Our Staff and Leadership


Rev. Dr. Joan W. Gandy, Minister

Joan began her call at First Presbyterian Natchez on January 1, 2018. However, her history with the church extends many years before that. She was baptized at First Presbyterian and her faith was formed at FPC Natchez. Prior to leaving her hometown to pursue the Master of Divinity degree, she was an elder and worship leader at First Presbyterian Natchez. Before returning to Natchez, Joan served for about seven years as solo pastor at a church in East Tennessee. Joan holds the M.Div. and D.Min degrees from Columbia Theological Seminary.

Joan's statement of faith includes this statement of her belief in God's timeless call to the Church and God's expectations of the work of the Church in the world: "God gathers people as the Church, equipping them through Christ in the Holy Spirit to exhibit God’s kingdom to the world through worship, fellowship; and through acts of love, justice, and hospitality. The faithful and caring deeds of the Church in the world are acts of gratitude for God’s benevolence and are testimony to God’s promise of redemption and life eternal. God calls every generation to pass on the faith as a God-given inheritance."



director of music:

jon gates

Jon Gates grew up in Hattiesburg, where he began piano lessons at the age of five, and organ at the age of eleven.  He attended the University of Southern Mississippi and earned his Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Church Music.  While there, he studied organ with Dr. Paul D. Andersen, piano with Dr. Roger Hill, and improvisation with Luigi Zananelli.  Since that time, Jon has served as Organist and Choirmaster at United Methodist, Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches in Gulfport, Ocean Springs, Jacksonville & St. Augustine (FL).


Office Administrator:

pam mcneil

Financial Secretary:

Mary Ann Peoples

Playschool Director:

Aretha Davis


Deon Buford

Elders and Session MINISTRIES:

Rosemary Hall - Clerk of Session & Administration

Hal Hicks - Treasurer

Anne Vidal Willett - Property

Stratton Bull - Property

Leigh Anderson - Fellowship

Danna Mooney - Fellowship

Lane Feltus - Evangelism

Marc Doyle - Evangelism

Chuck Borum - Mission

Helen Smith - Education

Phyllis Mashburn - Education
Cara Serio - Worship




Edie Christian - Moderator

Sandra Burkes

Rusty Jenkins

Sarah Smith

Ryan Sharp

Gwen Washington
Spencer Holder

Frances Meason

Everette Ratcliffe


Hal Hicks

Stratton Bull - Assistant Treasurer


Session Ministry Responsibilities:


Administration - Includes the work of clerk of Session, such as organizing the agenda for Session meetings; recording and keeping minutes for all Session and congregational meetings; and keeping and updating church membership records such as births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths.


Property - Oversees the care and maintenance of church buildings and grounds; keeps records, and reports church financial activity; oversees a stewardship committee; prepares an annual budget, and reports monthly to the Session.

Fellowship  - Plans and organizes fellowship events for the congregation and the community.

Evangelism - Welcomes new visitors and encourages new membership through visitation and providing church information.


Mission - Reviews and recommends plans for both foreign and local missions. This ministry oversees funds allocated for missions and makes recommendations on their disbursement. This ministry also organizes and recommends disaster relief efforts.


Education - Coordinates Christian education programs, including Sunday school classes, adult study groups, and retreats. This ministry selects study materials and sponsors guest speakers and programs of educational interest.

Worship - Oversees the congregation's worship services, including the music program; organizes ushers and greeters; provides the nursery for young children during worship services, and regular and special offerings collected at services.

Contact Us

First Presbyterian

Church of Natchez

Tel. 601.442.2581

Office & Fellowship Hall

400 State Street, 
Natchez, MS 39120

Sanctuary & Stratton Chapel

117 S.  Pearl Street

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