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At First Presbyterian Church, we are led by a team of dedicated and passionate individuals who are committed to serving God and our community. Get to know our leaders below:

Rev. Michael McLaughlin

Rev. Michael McLaughlin

Lead Minister

Reverend Michael has been serving at First Presbyterian Church for over 5 years. He is passionate about preaching the Word of God and helping others grow in their faith. Reverend Michael was born and went to high school and college in Knoxville, Tennessee. A 2001 graduate with a Bachelor's of Science in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology from The University of Tennessee, he received a Masters of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia in 2008. Michael is married to Lisa, a Registered Nurse. Lisa and Michael are blessed with daughters Madeline and Sophia and their son, True. Other McLaughlin family members include Olive and Opal the beagles and Juno, Eve and Ophelia their cats.     ​ Michael’s interests include ministry, theology, art, music, politics, the sciences, and elephants. ​​

Rev. Katie Ory

Rev. Katie Ory

Youth Director

Reverend Katie has been serving as our Youth Director for 4 years. She is committed to creating a safe and fun environment for our youth to grow in their faith and build strong relationships with one another. Reverend Katie received her undergraduate degree from Mississippi College in International Communications, her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Tennessee Tech University, recently completed her Master’s of Divinity from Asbury Theological School and was ordained April 30, 2023. Katie has lived in Cookeville, Tennessee for 17 years and has spent the last dozen working as a counselor for the Putnam county school system and as a therapist for a nonprofit. She is also an ambassador for the Appalachian Service Project.  In her free time, she enjoys travel and participation in musical theatre around town and loves to spend time with her daughter.


Virginia Fillers

SoulSong Director

Virginia hails from east Tennessee but has lived in Putnam County since 2008. She holds an education degree from TTU, as well as a TECTA certification for toddlers and a Montessori certification for early childhood (ages 3-6). Virginia began her teaching career in 2001 and has experience in public and private education. She has a daughter who graduated from the SoulSong program in 2019. In her free time, Virginia enjoys camping in her vintage Scamp, watching hockey games, cooking, and visiting theme parks. Virginia serves on the FPC education and outreach committees.

Paul Thurmond, Director of Music

Paul Thurmond

Director of Music

Organist and Director of Music, Paul Thurmond, performs frequently as a soloist and accompanist. A native of Winder, Georgia, he earned his Bachelor of Music Education from Berry College and a Master of Music in Accompanying and Vocal Coaching from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied with John Wustman. He has served on the faculties of Interlochen Arts Camp, Delta State University, and The University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He is presently an Adjunct Professor at Tennessee Tech University, where he teaches Class Piano, coaches voice majors, plays for the Tech Chorale, and accompanies many students and faculty in recital. He also appears occasionally with the Nashville Symphony. At his website,, you can listen to and purchase albums of his piano compositions. When not making music, he enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu, woodworking, and brewing his own beer.

Amy Ainsley Photo.jpg

Amy Ainsley

Office Administrator

Amy Ainsley is our office administrator.  Amy was born and raised in Michigan. She moved to Tennesse in 2017 and joined the FPC staff shortly after. She earned her AA Theology from Beacon University. She has worked as a full charge Bookkeeper and Administrator for over 35 years. She is a member of good standing with the American Institue of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), where she is certified in payroll, adjusting entries, and depreciation. She is also a cetified QuickBooks user and budget counselor.   Amy and her husband, Tom, enjoy gardening in the yard, touring parks and waterfalls, cooking up new meals, floral photography and are both avid gamers.

Security Guard

Mr. Dave

Security Officer

Our thanks to Mr. Dave. Even though you don't like pictures and have a thing about internet privacy; being a security officer and all that. We know you are always there for us keeping a watchful eye over the flock. We really appreciate you and all that you do!

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