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Clifton Stringer

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Rev. Dr. Clifton Stringer joined First UMC Lockhart as Senior Pastor in July 2020, and we are delighted to receive him into our church family.

Both as an academic and as a pastor, Clifton is passionate about topics like the existence of God, the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation and work of Christ, the relationship between soul and body, and contemplative prayer.

He is an ordained Elder in the Rio Texas Conference, and has previously served United Methodist churches in Austin and Lakehills, TX. He holds a Ph.D. in Theology from Boston College, and a M.Div. from Duke, and before all that earned a BA in English at UT Austin.

When he’s not working he enjoys spending time with his wife, reading with the kids and driving them where they need to be, reading poetry, playing guitar, going for walks, and having good conversations with friends.

Learn more about Clifton at http://www.cliftonstringer.com/

Office Manager

Sherry Wallsmith

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Sherry Wallsmith grew up in Orangefield, Texas and graduated from high school there. She met her late husband Richard, in Houston, where she worked for the University of Houston, main campus. She was a secretary for five years in the College of Education for an assistant dean and then part-time in the Physics Department. Richard and Sherry moved back to Richard's hometown, Luling in 1991. Sherry worked as Church Secretary at the Central Baptist Church in Luling for six years before coming to First United Methodist Church in Lockhart in July of 2009. Richard and Sherry had four children and one grandson.

Choir Director

Gregory Hilliard, Jr

Gregory A. Hilliard, Jr. serves as the Choir Director at First United Methodist Church of Lockhart, Texas. He has over 10 years of experience serving on the music staff of churches throughout North and Central Florida, where he served as Music Assistant for the large music ministry of choral, handbell, and steel pan ensembles at Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, Florida.

He recently earned his Master of Music in Choral Conducting at Texas State University, and held Graduate Assistant duties within the Texas State University Choral Department. Gregory holds teacher certification in K-12 Music in Florida and Texas, and has previously taught several music curricula (including chorus, keyboard, guitar, orchestra, handbells/choir chimes, musical theatre and drama, music theory, and general music/music appreciation) at the elementary through high school levels.

Additionally, Gregory also serves as the music director of Austin Harmony Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International. From 2011 to 2018, he was the music director of The Capital Chordsmen, the award- winning chorus of the Tallahassee chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society. He currently sings in The Marcsmen, an international competition-level chorus based in San Antonio, and serves on the performance team as tenor section leader.

Gregory earned the Bachelor of Music Education in Choral Music Education and the Specialized Study Certificate in Sacred Music from The Florida State University. A member of ACDA, NCCO, NAfME, AGO, FUMMWA, Handbell Musicians of America, and an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, he maintains an active schedule as a baritone solo/choral vocalist, guest conductor/clinician, adjudicator, barbershop quartet/chorus coach, vocal jazz ensemble/contemporary a cappella group coach, and handbell musician.

Communications Manager

Shane Raynor

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Shane Raynor grew up near Raleigh, North Carolina and spent over a decade working as an editor and content strategist at the United Methodist Publishing House in Nashville, Tennessee. He's currently working on building a multimedia publishing platform. Shane is an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves and Austin FC. He lives in Del Valle.


Margaret Riddle

Margaret Riddle is the pianist for First United Methodist Church of Lockhart, of which she is a member of the congregation.


Jane Brown

Jane Brown, a native of Lockhart, graduated from Lockhart High School and the University of Texas with a major in Business Education. During high school she played the organ for FUMC, Lockhart. Jane was married to the late Gary Brown and has two children, Mike and Dana, and three grandchildren, Ellie, Ryan, and Isabelle. In 2007, Jane retired from teaching fifth grade and reading at Navarro Elementary, where she taught for twelve years. Through the years, she has accompanied many local choirs, and she served as the organist for FUMC Lockhart for twenty-five years. She now enjoys volunteering, being a member of different clubs, being interim organist, and spending time with her grandchildren.

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