Our staff

First Presbyterian Fort Smith

  • REv. tasha blackburn      

    co-pastor                                                                                                      Tasha@1pres.org

    Tasha grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri, where she was raised in the Presbyterian Church. She earned her undergraduate degree at Illinois College and a Master of Divinity at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She also received a Masters of Theology degree from the University of Edinburgh’s New College in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has served in ordained ministry since 2002, working as an associate pastor in Springfield, Illinois, until 2012 before becoming co-pastor here at FPC, Fort Smith. Tasha and her husband and fellow co-pastor Phil have two children, Calum and Alena. Tasha loves reading mysteries and watching bad tv.

  • Rev. phillip blackburn

    Co-pastor                                                                                                    phillip@1pres.org

    The Reverend Phillip Blackburn was born and raised in Oklahoma City, OK. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1997 and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2001. Following his graduation, he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland and received a Master of Theology from the University of Edinburgh. He has served in ministry in Indianapolis, IN, Lincoln, IL and now Fort Smith, AR. He has been married to his wife, Tasha, since 2001 and they have two children, Calum and Alena. He enjoys sports, reading, chess and tennis.

  • Keley Simpson

    Missions facilitator                                                                                   Keley@1pres.org

    Keley Simpson is a native of Fort Smith, AR. She attended Arkansas Tech University and graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology. Keley’s work experience includes program director for sexual assault and domestic violence services at the Donald W. Reynolds Crisis Intervention Center (formerly known as the Crisis Center for Battered Women and Crisis Center for Women) and Investigator for Crime Victims Reparation at the Office of the Attorney General Keley is a member of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee with the city of Fort Smith. She is also a board member for 3 local non-profits. During her free time, Keley enjoys reading and writing poetry.

  • Gini Law

    music director                                                                                                             gini@1pres.org

    Gini Law was born and raised right here in Ft. Smith. She has been playing in church since the tender young age of 13 and has had a steady playing gig ever since. She has served as a church musician in Ft. Smith, Conway, Maumelle, and Batesville, AR and has enjoyed adding organist to her resume since coming to First Pres. She is the proud mom of three talented kids- Victoria, Cameron, and Evan, and Gigi to Allison. In what little spare time she has, she enjoys shopping, watching crime TV, and going to the movies.

  • Rebekah Martin

    communications director                                                                rebekah@1pres.org

    Rebekah Martin loves being a part of the First Presbyterian Staff. After receiving a BA in Theater Arts from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, Rebekah lived and worked in New York for multiple theater companies. The majority of her family was from Fort Smith which eventually led her back here. She is married to her best friend, Stephen, and a proud mother of three amazing kids: Sebastian, Weston, and Reagan, who keep her constantly busy!

  • Cindy Sherrod

    finance and facilities director                                                            cindy@1pres.org

    Cindy Sherrod joined the staff at First Presbyterian Church in March of 2012. Cindy was born in Mena, but was raised and has lived most of her life here in Fort Smith. She is now happily raising her two daughters here as well. In 2008, Cindy graduated from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She has an Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising from the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving.

  • jean perdue

    office manager                                                                                               jean@1pres.org

    Jean Perdue was born in Fort Smith and has lived here all her life. She attended Westark College, taking various business classes. Jean worked doing Medical Billing for 45 years prior to coming to First Presbyterian. She has two grown children, Amber & Blake and two Grandchildren, Cody Ryan and Charley Mae. Jean enjoys reading and sewing in her time away from work and watching Hallmark movies with her cats curled up on her lap.  

  • Kesha McCain

    director of hobson preschool                                                      hobson@1pres.org

    Kesha McCain is from Fort Smith. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and received a Masters in Biblical Studies in May 2015. She is currently working on her Doctorate in Biblical Studies. She has been married to her husband Timothy for 4 years. She has 2 children, Sierra and Keshaun. She is the praise team leader at her church and serves in other various ministries.

  • K.C. Chanthorn

    Laotian lay pastor

    In 1978, K.C and his wife converted to Christianity (Church of Christ) while they lived in a refugee camp in Thailand. K.C. came to the United States in 1979 from Laos. “My family and I had to leave our country because we could not live under the communist regime.” When K.C. and his wife arrived in Fort Smith, they joined Westark Church of Christ. In 1982, K.C. established the Laotian Fellowship at Westark Church of Christ and led one of the two Laotian congregations in Fort Smith. In 1992, K.C. learned of the Presbyterian Ministry from a relative. As a result, K.C. and some of his loyal followers joined First Presbyterian Church of Fort Smith. The Laotian fellowship has grown from 7 families in 1992 to 27 families in 1999.