Rich Mitchell-Oct 2015

Reverend Richard Mitchell,

Rev. Mitchell’s appointment to St. Paul UMC began July 1, 2015, as he moved just over the Arkansas River from his prior appointment of Gardner Memorial in North Little Rock.


(check back soon)

Director of Children’s Ministry



Suzie Van Patten

Suzie Van Patten,
Director of Visitation

Suzie Van Patten joined the staff of St. Paul as Director of Visitation Ministries in mid-2006. She and her husband, Ben, joined St. Paul in 2003. St. Paul was Ben’s church home as a child and youth. Suzie is a lifelong Methodist also, and was reared in Hope, Arkansas. Suzie and Ben both are active leaders for St. Paul, and Suzie’s part-time job with the church allows her to fulfill her calling–ministry to and caring for everyone, but in particular the senior adults of St. Paul United Methodist Church. Suzie visits and “brings the church to” homebound members, nursing home residents, and senior hospital patients. She is very energetic and active and loves the interaction she is able to enjoy with not only “her” people, but also their families. Although her normal work day is Wednesday, she is available any time there is a need.

Lisa Hester Dec 2014

Lisa Hester,

Director of Music Ministries and Organist

Lisa Hester joined the SPUMC staff in October 2014, bringing a never ending passion and energy for serving God’s kingdom on earth through music.  She comes to us after 6 years of employment as Director of Music Ministries and Organist for Benton First Presbyterian Church and as the same time being the Organist for Bryant First United Methodist Church.  Prior to serving Benton FPC, she served for 4 years as Choir Director for Primrose United Methodist Church in Little Rock. 

Lisa is currently attending Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary near Chicago as she pursues Certification as an United Methodist Musician.  Anticipated completion is January, 2018.  She also is a board member of the Arkansas Chapter of Handbell Musicians of America.

A lifetime Methodist, growing up at First United Methodist Church-Benton, Lisa was the Children’s Choir Director, accompanist for the Youth Choir and the Praise Band and participated in the Sanctuary Choir and the Handbell Choir.  Some musicals she accompanied included “Godspell” and  “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”  More recently she served as Music Director and accompanist for the Saline County Royal Players production of “Godspell,” “The Sound of Music,” and “Scrooge, the Musical.”

She has been active with the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, including being coordinator for five years of the Children’s Choir Festival and camp dean for 3 years for Camp Tanako Music Camp, near Hot Springs, and also involved in the Music Camps at Shoal Creek, north of Dardanelle.  Through all these endeavors, Lisa brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to St. Paul.

Outside the realm of serving the church, Lisa is the mother of a wonderful daughter, son-in-law, grandson and granddaughter, who live in Benton. Other than playing organ and piano, she enjoys sightseeing around Arkansas, going to the movies and enjoying friends and family.

Lisa states “I feel so very blessed to be joining the congregation of St. Paul and hope that I can bring them blessing beyond measure as we serve together.”


Jessica Emerson (2)

Jessica Emerson,
Youth Director

Jessica joins St. Paul UMC in August 2017 and brings with her a passion for serving God and growing God’s kingdom.  She also is on the staff of Ozark Mission Project, an Arkansas United Methodist mission group for youth participating in mission needs around Arkansas.   In addition to guiding and serving the youth of St. Paul, along with working for OMP, Jessica is also a student of Hendrix College in Conway.

Lea Swink, Administrative Assistant

 Lea join the staff at St. Paul in August 2016.