Leadership

GUMC Leadership Team

Meet our leadership

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Joseph Casteel

Senior Pastor

Reverend Joseph W. Casteel was born and raised in Cumberland, Maryland. The son of a minister, Joe, was active in the church from the time he was a very young child. After graduating from Allegany High School, in pursuit of becoming an optometrist, he enrolled as a pre-med student at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia. In the second year of study, Joe realized his uncomfortable certainty with the scientific discipline required for an optometry degree. After resisting the call to ministry for some years, Joe decided to follow the Lord’s leading.


Completing a Bachelor of Science in Sociology degree from Methodist University in Fayetteville, he completed his Master of Divinity Degree from Duke University. His post-graduate work has been in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Joe completed the American Association of Pastoral Counselors Training Program in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership. In February 2020, he became a certified Transitional/Intentional Interim Ministry Specialist in The United Methodist Church.


Joe is an ordained Elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and has served churches in Grantsville, Maryland, Wilmington, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Roxboro, Robbins, Siler City, Hampstead, Elizabeth City, and Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. He has been an active leader in the District and Conference Ministries and Missions. 


He is married to the Reverend Doctor Kimberly Carlson, Lead Pastor of Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. The father of four children, Joe and Kim, enjoys spending time with their families and grandchildren. He loves to travel, enjoys woodworking, and loves excellent food. Besides God and family, his two great loves are seafood and Duke Men’s Basketball.



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Rick Winders

Director of Youth & Digital Outreach Ministries

Rick joined the GUMC staff in September of 2019. For 15 years, he served as a law enforcement officer before receiving his Call to Ministry in 2015. Rick began his work with church youth as a volunteer at First United Methodist Church of Wilson and served as the part-time youth director at Zebulon United Methodist Church. Recently, he served as the full-time children's and youth director at Friendship Church in Farmville. Rick resides in Wilson with his wife, Jana, and two children, Madison and Benjamin. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking for his family and playing his Pearl drums. Every year he looks forward to his family's annual adventures on Ocracoke Island, their favorite place on earth!


While Rick loves playing games and eating pizza with the youth, the best thing about youth ministry is when a youth discovers the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!


"This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all—this was attested at the right time."

1 Timothy 2:3-6

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Shawnna Smith-Parker

Director of Children's Ministry and

Shawnna began serving at GUMC as the Director of Children & Family Ministries in 2021. Prior to joining the staff at GUMC, she served as Children and Youth Director at Saulston UMC. 


Shawnna loves to read and spend time with her family, including their beloved fur baby Baxter. She enjoys traveling, especially to the beach but also the mountains in the fall. Two of her favorite places to visit are Lake Junaluska and Ocracoke. Shawnna loves post-it notes of all kinds and gladly accepts love gifts of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Shawnna's husband Clay is the pastor of Elevation UMC and Shawnna's son Ben is a rising Sophomore in high school.   


Shawnna’s passion in ministry is to help all ages to experience the love of Christ and to continue to grow as a disciple. She is very excited and thankful for the opportunity to serve at Garner UMC and looks forward to developing meaningful and lasting relationships to help build the Kingdom of God here and beyond.

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Ray Newlin

DIRECTOR OF MUSIC

Ray joined GUMC staff in 2017. Ray grew up on a farm in Saxapahaw, NC, where he developed a love for the outdoors, nature, and music. He was involved in music as a high school student and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in music education at UNC-Greensboro. After teaching choral music in public school for several years, Ray moved into school leadership. Ray and Liz married and settled in Fuquay-Varina, where Ray remained assistant principal at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School until he retired from the school system. Ray has been involved in church music for many years, most recently as Music Director at All Saints’ UMC in Raleigh. Liz and Ray live in Fuquay-Varina where they enjoy their daughter, Megan, her husband Brett, and three grandchildren who also live in the area. Both love to be a part of Garner UMC.

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Amanda Griffin

CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP LEADER (Interim)

Amanda has been a member of the Journey of Grace (JoG) praise team since 2015 and has been serving as the interim worship leader since August of 2021. Amanda grew up in Julian, NC, and was a member of Tabernacle UMC, where she grew up singing in the children's choir. In high school she was a member of her school's Honors Vocal Ensemble. Amanda attended NC State University, (Go Pack!) and received her B.A. in Communications Public Relations. Amanda is also a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and coordinator for the YMCA of the Triangle.


Prior to serving at GUMC, Amanda spent nine years as a stay at home mom caring for her two children Tilden and Ellie. Amanda loves all things music and fitness and serves with the youth on summer mission trips. Her husband Josh also volunteers in the children and youth ministries at GUMC. If you have a love for music and feel like you would like to use your talents to glorify God at GUMC, please reach out!

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Bill McClure

ORGANIST

Bill has been a member of GUMC since 1974. He became interim Organist in November of 1999 and staff Organist in May 2000. He graduated from Campbell College (now Campbell University) in 1972 with a BA degree in music. He is married to Jean and has one daughter, Kimberly.

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Jane McNeil

ACCOMPANIST

Jane begin serving at GUMC in 2019. Prior to serving at GUMC Jane has served as a pianist in several capacities in various churches throughout the years. She served as the full-time pianist at Woodhaven Baptist Church in Apex, NC for 17 years then, at Temple Baptist Church for 10 years. She works full-time in the finance field and enjoys many other opportunities to share her musical talents. Jane is a volunteer with The Arc of the Triangle and accompanies the M’n’M Singers. Jane has three adult children and twin grandsons. She loves spending time with her family and enjoys any opportunity to listen to music, especially live performances.

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Annette Locklear

OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

Annette joined the staff at GUMC in 2022. Prior to serving on staff at GUMC, she has been a member of GUMC since 1991. She enjoys helping the members and visitors of GUMC. When performing her duties as Office Manger she likes to mediate on Colossians 3:23-24 " Whatever you do, work at with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."


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Richard Wall

FACILITIES MANAGER

Richard joined the staff of Garner UMC in July of 2017. He has over 20 years of experience in facility management in the manufacturing environment. Richard is very excited to bring this experience to Garner UMC. He is married to Jean and they have a son, Michael, and a dog named Clarence.

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Tom La Matto

SEXTON

Tom has attended GUMC since 2010 and has served on staff since 2014. His background is in the restoration and refurbishing industry, which he brings to his work here at the church as well. Tom keeps the facility clean and functional, all while sharing Christ with all those he encounters. Tom is the leader of our outreach program to the area homeless, HOPE Ministry. Tom is married to his wife Debbie. They have one adult child, Joe, and a granddaughter, Tatianna. They also have two loving dogs, Chase and Sadie.

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Nancy Turner

FIANCE MINISTRY

Nancy started as the Finance Manager at GUMC in August 2018. Nancy has found that working as the Finance Manager has allowed her to become more involved with her church community and she has truly enjoyed getting to know more members of GUMC through her time here. Nancy is married to Gene and they have 3 children, Melanie, currently living in Utah; Jonny, currently stationed at Ft. Bragg with 82nd Airborne; and Alex, currently living in Garner and attending Wake Tech to become an electrician. Nancy and Gene have been members of GUMC since 2006 and have lived in Garner since 1995.