Dr. Eric Spivey – Senior Pastor
As the son of the late John Spivey, a Baptist pastor, Eric Spivey grew up exploring God’s direction for his life. First Baptist Church, Port Wentworth, GA, an industrial town on Savannah’s Westside, licensed him to preach at the age of 17.
In 1991, Eric received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Samford University where he met his wife, Marcia Coyle Spivey. For the next three years, Eric served as a resort chaplain at Dollywood theme park working with Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries. While working at Dollywood, Eric and Marcia married in April 1992. Following a call to prepare for ministry, Eric and Marcia moved to Fort Worth, Texas where Eric attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
After his seminary years Eric continued to explore God’s direction for his life through a variety of ministries. In Texas in served as the chaplain for Six Flags Over Texas theme park and at Baylor University Medical Center. In Alabama he served as the 1996 Olympic Ministries Coordinator for the Birmingham Baptist Association. In South Carolina he served as North American Mission Board (SBC) resort missionary in the Beaufort/Hilton Head area. Also in South Carolina he served as both the Associate Pastor/Christian Formation and Missions and Interim Pastor at the Baptist Church of Beaufort.
In 2010, Eric received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Gardner Webb University. At the same time, First Baptist Church, Cornelia called him to be their 32nd pastor. He preached his first sermon on July 4, 2010.
Eric’s family includes his wife Marcia, his two daughters, Sarah and Sydney, and his mother, Jean. Marcia serves as an educator in Habersham County Schools. Sarah is a college student at Samford University. Sydney attends Tallulah Falls School where she runs track. Eric’s mom, Jean (or Mama Jean as we call her) lives in Demorest.
Eric loves to explore the mountains of Northeast Georgia through day hikes with family and friends. Snow skiing continues to be a passion both for him and his family. While no one can believe, he is now known around Habersham County as the “Dancing Preacher” after winning a clean sweep in the 2016 Dancing with the Stars for Hope fundraiser.
Rev. John Swindler, Associate Pastor, Discipleship and Student Ministries
John grew up in Columbia, South Carolina in a strong Christian home. As a teenager, he was very involved in the growing student ministry at First Baptist Church of Columbia, South Carolina where Dr. Ed Young served as pastor. After attending Furman University and graduating in 1982 with a major in psychology, he began to deal with God’s call on his life to minister. A mission trip to inner city Philadelphia in 1981 was a key time in this process of a life long calling. He graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1986 with a master of divinity degree in pastoral counseling. Following graduation, he returned to Columbia, SC and the Baptist Medical Center there to complete 3 units of Clinical Pastoral Education and in 1987 was called to work as minister of music and youth at the Sandy Level Baptist Church in Blythewood, SC. There he began to realize his calling in youth ministry, and has worked with students in churches all over South Carolina including Beaufort, Florence, and Lexington. The teaching of God’s word and an emphasis on missions are important in all that he does. His philosophy of ministry can be summed up in three phrases: Life Change, Life Choices, and Life Memories. He enjoys photography, being with his family, and watching lives change as people commit their lives to the Lord.
His favorite TV show? SURVIVOR…mainly because he is one!
John met Jennie in 1972 in the youth group at FBC Columbia. They have been married since 1984. Jennie is a graduate of Columbia College and the University of South Carolina and works as a speech pathologist at Hazel Grove Elementary School. They are the parents of 3 girls. Alana is a graduate of the University of Mobile and she and her husband Steven O’leary live in Stuart, Florida and are the parents of 4 boys: Aiden, Archie, Judah and Jonny. . Laura Grace and her husband Jack Belote live in Summerville, SC where she works as the Assistant Volleyball Coach at Charleston Southern University, her alma mater. Jillian is a sophomore at Charleston Southern University and is majoring in elementary education.
Randy LeBlanc, Minister of Worship & Music
Randy grew up in Bogalusa, Louisiana, a small town 60 miles north of New Orleans. His family was actively involved in Calvary Baptist Church where he learned of the love of Jesus in a caring community of faith. Musical influences in his life included the church graded choir program, playing in the band, and a musical family. The call to church music ministry came while serving as music director of a small country church during his high school senior year.
While majoring in church music at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Randy met Cecelia Patterson. Now married for 49 years, they have three children. Jennifer works in Raleigh for Red Hat Technology in leadership development and has two children, Jacob and Grace. Jason, general manager of The Waterfall Club at Lake Burton, is married to Amy and they have two daughters, Allie and Maddie. Jon is employed with BHP Billiton as a strategy manager and is married to Lizzie. They have a son, Noel, and are presently living in Singapore.
In 1990, Randy completed his Masters of Music degree at Baylor University and in 1997 did further post graduate studies in conducting at University of North Texas. He served churches in Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, and now Georgia for a total of 46 years. He is also licensed as a financial advisor.
When not making music or advising financial clients, Randy loves to hike and photograph the beautiful landscape of Northeast Georgia. He and Cele enjoy travel, spending time with family and friends, and gardening.
Mrs. Carrie Trotter, Minister to Children
Carrie Trotter, part time children’s minister, has spent her life dedicated to children’s service. Whether you know her from Camp Agape, MOSAIC Arts Camp, Cub Scout Camp, a teacher at Level Grove Elementary School or South Habersham Middle School, Carrie’s passion for children is sure to be seen.
Carrie’s personal mission is to lead responsibly, respectfully, and relationally. Her vision for the children’s ministry at FBC Cornelia is to create an environment that fosters spiritual growth through family partnerships, quality programs, and Biblical truths.
The ministry goals that Carrie seeks to fulfill are:
- Partner with families to create the greatest impact in the spiritual development of children.
- Create a safe, welcoming environment with strong leaders and quality experiences.
- Ensure that each child in the ministry understands core Christian values essential for laying a foundation of faith.
It is important that Preschoolers understand three basic truths:
- God made me
- God loves me
- Jesus wants to be my friend forever
In the elementary program our hope is that we teach children:
- I need to make wise choices
- I can trust God no matter what
- I should treat others the way I want to be treated
Carrie is married to Brad Trotter and together they are the proud parents of Jacob, a student at Young Harris College and Kate, a middle school student at Tallulah Falls School.
Sheila Thomason, Bookkeeper and Minister Assistant
Carol Hasty, Church Secretary