Senior Pastor 

Rev. John Fleming

Here are some things you might be interested in knowing about me. I grew up in Jackson, Tennessee with an older brother and sister, David and Emily. I graduated from Jackson Central-Merry High School and went on to Lambuth University (now the University of Memphis, Lambuth Campus). It was there that I met my future wife. We got married in 1993 and have two girls, Annie Grace and Julie. I attended seminary at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. I am brand new to First United Methodist Church, Paragould, having served previously in churches in Camden, Little Rock, and Sheridan, Arkansas. 

You might like to know that I am an avid Atlanta Braves baseball fan, but can cheer for the Cardinals if the two teams are not playing each other. 

I started working for the church when I was 16, but felt the call as early as my fifth year of life. I have a passion to help people grow spiritually through Bible studies, small group studies, and worship. I am very excited to be the Senior Pastor of this grand church, whose rich history amazes me. I also am a people person and want to know all of the sheep in this flock.

If you are looking for a church home, our church wants to be that place. Feel free to contact us in any way or to follow us on our website, on Facebook, and our other media outlets.

Thanks for stopping by our website. We hope to see you in person real soon.


Associate Pastor 

Rev. Pat Bodenhamer  

A church member from long ago described me as a  hot mess but blessed! And, that is me in a nutshell. I love being called into the ministry. I love living for Him. I love life. I am a colo-rectal cancer survivor. Though that was the hardest battle I ever fought, it was also the most rewarding time in my life. Relationships were strengthened, opportunities were born and God blessed me in ways I could never even imagine.

I grew up in Mountain Home, Arkansas. My family still lives in Baxter County and all are members of First United Methodist Church. I am a graduate of Arkansas State University with a degree in Social Work. While in college I was very active in college ministry at The Wesley Foundation. I was the mission intern and eventually became the assistant director. After college, I enrolled in seminary at Memphis Theological Seminary and graduated with an Master of Divinity. I have served in local (small and large) and my more transforming appointment thus far has been when I served as the Minister of Mission and Outreach for the Arkansas Annual Conference. I led our conference in disaster relief, started over 90 food pantries, developed a new program called The Delta Dream, preached or taught in over 500 Arkansas United Methodist Churches, and created a new leadership program for Small Membership Church Pastors called Pastors’ Link.

After some time in the local church, I accepted a job as the Outreach Director for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. My heart broke every day in hearing stories, watching the news and talking to groups and legislators about children and families in our state. I had the opportunity to lobby for our most vulnerable in Washington D.C., and connect the local church to the work of Advocates.

When my grant was up, I made the decision to return to the local church. I served 7 great years before being appointed to Paragould First United Methodist Church.

My hobbies include Hiking, Kayaking,  and Participating in the Warrior Dash (5k Mud Run). My greatest joy comes from those who call me Aunt Pat. Mackenzie (18), Gavin (13), Noah (13), Austin (13) Anna Claire (8) and Hurricane Hudson (5).

I am excited to be your pastor. God is inviting us to join Him in His work. I believe a healthy church is one that prays together and plays together. I love to hear laughter in the hallways. I love being in worship with you and sharing His Good News.  My areas of focus will be Discipleship, Adult Education, Small Group Ministry, Missions, Worship, Preaching and Pastoral Care (and anything else the church needs!)


Minister to Youth/Children's Director Interim

Kaylee Pillow

I was born in Poplar Bluff Missouri but moved to Jonesboro at the age of 5. I graduated from Nettleton High School in Jonesboro. I went on to college at Arkansas State University and received a Bachelors in Radiologic Sciences with concentration in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. While at Arkansas State I was involved with the Wesley Foundation where I would meet my future husband, Alan. We were married at First United Methodist Church Paragould in December of 2014. We have a 3-year-old dachshund mix named Lady.

 Some of my interests include watching Netflix, dance, and cheering on the Miami Dolphins with Alan. I love all things Disney. I also enjoy spending time outdoors or on the beach when I get the chance.

The ministry vision that God has placed on my heart is to respond to the social and spiritual needs of the youth within our church and community. I believe that we can provide programs, activities and events that will lead them to build a strong foundation of faith. This will enable them to express and share their faith through their own actions and words. I hope that through encouragement, love and compassion we can achieve these goals.

I am so excited to work with the youth at FUMC Paragould!


Media/Communications/Video/Children's Music 

Karole Risker


I originally come from Dearborn, Missouri (which is where my Northern "accent" comes from), a small town halfway between St. Joe and Kansas City where I grew up with five sisters, one of them a twin. I have a daughter, Hannah, 20, who graduated from Crowley's Ridge Academy with honors who now attends Arkansas State University, and who is wonderful. We have a gray kitten named Ash who we love to an embarrassing degree, and a calico cat originally named Callie that we brought in "just for a minute" when we found her out shivering in our flower bed.

My interests include running, reading, writing, community theatre, and music. Hannah and I like to run 5K's together and do community shows together and we just recently discovered scuba diving. We live in a century old house near downtown. 

I love what I do here, which includes writing, photography, music, and video, and feel fortunate to work at such a fine church and with such wonderful people.

I have a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. My undergraduate degree is in communications with an emphasis in photojournalism from Arkansas State University. I most recently come from MOR Media where I was the managing editor at Premiere Magazine, a post I held for four years. Before that I was the Executive Director of the Endowment Foundation of Greene County for five years. I own my own children's photography business, Pitter Patter Photography, that began in 2006. I have been a member of FUMC for over 9 years.


Director of Music Ministries

Brian Pearson


I am currently the Junior High Band Director/High School Assistant at Greene County Tech schools. I live in Paragould with my wonderful wife Andrea, who sings with the praise team. We have a 8-year-old son named Riley,  6-year old, Evan, and daughter Piper, 3. 

Originally from suburban Chicago, I moved to Conway, AR at age 13. I graduated from Conway High School in 1998, and remained in Conway to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Central Arkansas in 2002. Before going into band directing, I took a year to work at Sigler Music Center in Little Rock as a salesman/guitar area supervisor/band and orchestral instrument consultant/piano mover. I accepted my first band director job at Rivercrest High School in Wilson, AR. It was in my third year here I met, fell in love with, and became engaged to Andrea. I went on to accept the Piggott job, and Andrea accepted a job in Brookland…leading to a move to Paragould.

I have been surrounded by the arts from a very young age. I  sang and played in school and church groups since preschool. While my major instrument is tuba, I have never lost interest in an instrument I've picked up…maybe with the exception of piano. On the rare occasion free time presents itself, I enjoy simply spending time with his family, participating in community theater, or reading that occasional good book I can find.


 Church Administrator

Denise Chipman

I was born and raised in southeast Iowa.  I am a middle child having one older brother, one older sister, and two younger brothers.  I have been married to Larry for 40+ years and we have 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

Before settling in Paragould in 1995 we lived in Indianola, IA, Marceline, MO, Harrisburg, PA and Charlotte, NC. 

I began working at FUMC Paragould in 1996 and have been blessed by working as secretary in three Methodist churches.  Indianola, Marceline, and Paragould.  A total of 25+ years.  

I love my job and the people of the church.  I like to travel, love music, enjoy sewing, but current activities are work and grandkids. 



Iona Stone

I have been at FUMC for about 30 years. I appreciate the people here, which is probably why I have stayed for so long.



Greig Lynn

I was born in Manila in 1951 and I am a life-long Methodist. I've been playing music for about 50 years. My favorite things are playing music in the praise team and teaching and playing music with the kids. 

I'm married to a beautiful woman named Joy, and have two sons, Jonathon, 42, and Matthew, 40, and one daughter, Laura, 21. 

Jeff Reynolds

I am a recent graduate of Greene County Tech High School and am a freshman at Black River Tech College, and hope to transfer to ASU and major in IT. I have been a member of FUMC for 10 years and enjoy video games. 

Nursery Workers








Bernard Raley