Dr. Rhett G. Payne, III, Senior Pastor

  • rgpayne3@fpcmeridian.com

  • (601) 693-1133

Dr. Rhett G. Payne, III, a native of Jackson, AL, did his undergraduate work at Oral Roberts University. Rhett received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Bible from Oral Roberts University in 1977. From there, he received two masters’ degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO – a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies in 1981 and a Master of Divinity in 1985. Finally, Rhett received the Doctor of Ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL, in 1995. Rhett began in student ministry, serving four different churches over eleven years. The last of the four was the Central Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, MO. He even co-founded EPC youth ministry (now “Student Ministries”) in the late ‘80s. Rhett began his pastoral ministry as a church planter in Marshall, TX, serving as the founding pastor of EPC of Marshall, from 1985 until 1991. In 1991, he moved to Dallas, TX, to take over a “stalled” church plant, which at the time was called “Grace Church.” Rhett served as the reorganizing pastor of Grace Church, which later changed its name to CrossPointe Community Church, from 1991 until 2002. In the summer of 2002, Rhett became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Meridian, MS, where he has served ever since. Rhett has served in the Presbytery of the Central South his entire pastoral ministry. He has chaired both the Nominating Committee and the New Church Development Committee. And in 2006, he served as the Moderator of the Central South Presbytery. Rhett and his wife, Donna, have been married for 40 years. They have three adult children and four grandchildren.

Rev. Bo Kyle, Assistant Pastor

  • bokyle@gmail.com

  • (225) 266-1217

Bo is an outgoing Assistant Pastor who serves the Church by collaborating and contributing pastoral leadership to our many ministries and events. Before joining FPC in 2015, he served as the Director of Middle School Ministries for seven years at the Chesterfield Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO. Bo moved to St. Louis to attend Covenant Theological Seminary, where he studied from 2007-2010, completing his Master of Divinity Degree. Bo and his wife, Lindsay, met in college at LSU and graduated in 2006. Bo grew up on a 1,200-acre rice farm in Welsh, LA where he loved to duck hunt, ride four-wheelers, and participate in school sports. Today, Bo enjoys watercolor painting, playing golf, and saying Geaux Tigers.

Bo’s wonderful wife Lindsay is from Lafayette, Louisiana. She also graduated from LSU and Covenant Seminary. She received her Masters in Arts and Counseling at Covenant and has served as an LPC since 2009. When she’s not raising their two beautiful girls, Cora and Carolyn, she serves as one of the Church’s counselors. Lindsay’s office hours are Tuesdays and Saturdays at FPC. (Psychology Today)

Chip Cowsert, Director of Student Ministries

  • chipcowsert@gmail.com

  • (540) 809-3239

Chip Cowsert is a native Virginian who grew up playing soccer, basketball, and loving the Washington Redskins. He began following Jesus late in college through the influence of a rugby teammate at Virginia Tech.  After graduating in 2009, he joined the staff team of Campus Outreach Lynchburg, the college ministry of Rivermont EPC in Virginia.  Chip spent seven years investing in staff and students at Virginia Tech, Radford University, and Lynchburg college.

Chip is passionate about teaching the Scriptures and developing young people.  Chip married his wife Katie in 2012 and they now have a daughter, Lottie, and a son, Charlie.  Chip enjoys running, reading, playing with his kids, breakfast food, being a weekend warrior, and watching intense crime shows with Katie.

Michael Gibson, Director of Music & Worship Ministries

  • michael@fpcmeridian.com

  • (601) 693-1133

Karen Lewis, Director of Children’s Ministries/Administrative Assistant

Karen Lewis, Director of Children’s Ministries/Administrative Assistant
  • KPL912@yahoo.com

  • (601) 693-1133

Karen graduated from Meridian Community College in 1997 with an associate degree in Graphic Communication and worked in the graphic design field for 11 years. In 2008, she became Director of Children’s Ministry here at First Presbyterian, and in 2013 her responsibilities were extended to include being the Administrative Assistant as well. She loves planning activities for the children and watching them grow in their relationship with Christ.  Karen’s favorite thing to do is spend time with her husband, Michael, and their two daughters.

Alan Gartrell, Facility Administrator

Alan Gartrell, Facility Administrator
  • agartrell@fpcmeridian.com

  • (601) 693-1133

Alan Gartrell was born in 1946 in Meridian and graduated from Meridian High School in 1964 and from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business in 1968. He served in the Air National Guard in Meridian and received an honorable discharge after a six-year tour. Alan worked in the automotive aftermarket field as an owner and manager in both the engine rebuilding and the engine parts businesses. He retired in 2012 but still retains ownership and board membership in his company, The Internal Engine Parts Group, Inc. He also serves on the Rush Foundation Hospital Board in Meridian. In 1994 Alan and his wife, Andrea, joined First Presbyterian Church of Meridian. Since then he has served one three-year term as a Session member and is currently serving his third term as a Deacon. He is active in Sunday School and the church adult choir. After retiring Alan volunteered to serve as the facility administrator for FPC.