Bill Gilmore - Building Superintendent
Bill’s unique life experience and heart for service brings the perfect skillset to handle stewardship of our church facilities and campus. Bill grew up in San Diego, pursued a career in the military and, after 21 years in the U.S. Army, retired as a first sergeant. Now he is first sergeant to our facilities team, tackling the wide scope of responsibilities involved in both the long-term and day-to-day maintenance of the church campus. From landscaping and building projects to safety code requirements and event set-ups (and everything in between), Bill is always working to enhance the operation and safety of First Church. He holds a BA in Criminal Justice, enjoys gardening and stonework, and is a Certified Instructor/Master Parachutist. Bill lives in Bonita with his family – wife Susan, daughters Haley and Callie, and granddaughter Bella – and their three dogs, Beanie, Rosey and Kitty.
Donabeth Urick - Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor
Born in Cooperstown, New York, Donabeth earned a B.A. in Biology at Bates College, then moved to Wichita, Kansas to do graduate work. God used that time to open the door for her to use her gifts of service and helps in a ministry context. Since 1984, Donabeth has served Senior Pastor Doug Pratt as his administrative assistant, first at Eastminster Presbyterian in Wichita, KS, then at Memorial Park Presbyterian in Allison Park, PA (1990-2004) and now in Bonita Springs. In addition to the general assistance provided Pastor Pratt in his duties, she supports the work of the Session, maintains the official church registers, and creates many of the PowerPoint screens for worship. She and her husband Gil, a graphic designer, share their home with two orange tabby cats. She delights in finding the "Seinfeld moment" in every day and following her favorite NASCAR driver.
Ed Gonzalez - Office Manager
With 17 years of experience as a systems analyst, database administrator and software developer, Ed’s talents have continued to expand since joining the staff in 2014. He loves learning and expanding his technological horizons – always in the process of tackling a new computer program. Ed is a graduate of Zion (now Northpoint) Bible College and founded Victorious Life Ministries, serving as its pastor from 2001 to 2008. Born in Puerto Rico, Ed and his wife Noemi have lived in New York City, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. They have two grown sons, four grandchildren and a dog named Angel.
Ed Schick - BookCenter Manager
Former business owner + avid reader + committed Christian = ideal manager of First Church BookCenter. Ed Schick fits both sides of this equation! Ed and his wife Ann came from Michigan in 2000 and joined First Church shortly thereafter. Together they have served in a number of volunteer capacities, including as co-chairs of the Adult Christian Education committee. So when the BookCenter (a combination retail store and lending library) opened in 2009, Ed was a natural choice to manage it. And Ann adds her own special touch with the beautiful displays of featured titles in the BookCenter window!
Elsie Nesbitt - Administrator
As Church Administrator, Elsie Nesbitt is uniquely gifted — her years of administrative experience in higher education and business, combined with a deep love for the Lord and His church, have equipped her well for this key role. She oversees the smooth day-to-day operations of the church in the areas of administration, finance and human resources with humility, great skill and a warm sense of humor. Elsie is a graduate of Wesleyan University, has taken additional coursework in business, and is nearly completed with professional accreditation through the National Association of Church Business Administrators. She and her husband Jim (a retired college administrator) have lived in Bonita Springs since 1996. They are both active in the Great Banquet ministry, and enjoy golf and travel.
Rebecca Harley - Membership and Volunteer Coordinator
The smarts of a businesswoman, the determination of a former golf pro, the caring of a wife and mother, the heart of a servant: meet Rebecca Harley, our Membership Coordinator. Rebecca sees her role as an extension of First Church hospitality; she personally welcomes and follows up with visitors to our Sunday morning services, and guides those interested through the church membership process. A native of Canada with a degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, Rebecca played professional golf from 1992 to 1999. She and her husband Bill, head golf pro at The Forest, have two children and have been members of First Church since 2004. She loves gourmet cooking, golf (obviously) and anything Disney. And if you like the biscotti at Café First, you have Rebecca to thank!
Rita J. Flower-Opdycke - Publications Manager
Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Rita moved to Bonita Springs in 1979 and joined the church staff in 1998. Her primary responsibilities are in the area of our church publications — from the weekly bulletin to the church newsletter (Epistle to the Bonitians), and everything in between. A former feature writer for a number of newspapers and magazines based in Naples, Rita now concentrates her talent on getting the word out for the various ministries and events of the church and writing about the spiritual side of life. At home, she and her husband Doug are entertained by two kitties - Josh and Sammie – offspring of the church cat, Grace.
Thomas Hillegass - Media Manager
Who better to assist with our media needs than someone not intimidated by “new” technology? Tommy started helping with Sunday morning sound and lights as a high school volunteer on our media team; now he’s an indispensable member of the staff. Whether it’s for worship, weekday studies or special events, Tommy makes sure the necessary media equipment is in place and ready to go. He is continuing his media training as a part-time student of sound and video technology. A big Harry Potter fan, Tommy has to find other ways to fill the void now that the series has concluded… golf, fishing and basketball will do!
Vivien Wain - Hospitality Manager
Vivien was born in England, raised in Toronto and has lived in Boston (go Boston Red Sox!). She owned her own retail shop which sold home décor and gifts, so she already has a flair for presentation and hospitality. Vivien and her husband, Jeffrey, moved to Bonita Springs in 2008. Vivien brings a contagious smile with her to work every day. She oversees the many aspects of church hospitality ─ from stocking Café First with delightful pastries to organizing catered events and Sunday’s “First Stop.” She enjoys spending time with her grandson and attending his Little League games.