Maggie is enthusiastic, organized, and truly has a heart for youth ministry. A native of Covington, GA, she has spent significant time working with underprivileged youth in the Atlanta and Decatur areas. For the past four years, she has served as a chaperone for the Jubilate Festival Singers, where she supervised and traveled with youth who enjoy spending their summers praising the Lord through song. Before she became a chaperone, Maggie herself was a singer in the group for 6 years! Being a part of this group led Maggie to dream of working in youth ministry.
Maggie recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. During her time in college, she wrote her undergraduate thesis on Religious Trauma, which she had the privilege of presenting at conferences worldwide. She continues her thesis work in partnership with the Global Center for Religious Research in Denver, Colorado as a research fellow.
Ali Thompson, Children’s Director
Ali is a native of Gainesville and is a graduate of Gainesville High School. Before coming to FPC, Ali worked with children as a volunteer Sunday School Teacher, Chapel Teacher for FUMC Preschool and staff member at a local Church helping to care for children while assisting in preparing both the Sunday and Wednesday night children’s programs.
Ali received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Georgia Southern University. She worked for 4 years as a Sales Representative for Yellow Book, and a short while as a Customer Service Representative for Regions Bank before retiring to be a full-time mother.
Ali is married to Zack Thompson who is also a Gainesville native and an owner of Pro-Touch Landscapes. They have two delightful young girls, Page and Ashley, who keep them both in shape mentally, physically, and spiritually. Ali would like to express her delight and honor to work with the children and families our wonderful church.
Benji Stegner, Choir Director/Organist
Benji Stegner is Organist/Music Director at First Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, GA where he plays the III-manual, 42-rank Op. 11 Parkey pipe organ and oversees all aspects of the music program. He has served a number of congregations, including St. Alban’s Episcopal Church (Waco, TX) All Souls’ Episcopal Church (Oklahoma City, OK), and First Baptist Church (Toccoa, GA). Benji is currently pursuing the D.M.A. in church music at Baylor University, studying organ with Isabelle Demers and holds degrees from Oklahoma City University and Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia. His research interests focus on 20th-century American composers of church music, particularly that of Calvin Hampton. In March, he presented research on Hampton’s hymn tunes as part of the Syracuse Legacies Conference at Syracuse University. From 2015-2017, he held a position as Instructor of Music at Piedmont College, where, in addition to teaching, he worked as a collaborative pianist and organist. While at Piedmont, he collaborated regularly with the theatre department, composing original music for Hush: An Interview with America and musically directing Chicago, Merrily We Roll Along, and 9 to 5: the Musical. In addition to music, Benji loves movies, dogs, and coffee.
Sophie Tolar, Morning Light Music Leader
Sophie is a relatively recent transplant to the Atlanta area from south Mississippi. She comes to FPC with over a decade of contemporary worship experience in her high school, collegiate, and adult life.
During the week, Sophie works as a sales and marketing professional. She received her two business degrees at the University of Southern Mississippi a few years ago, and has since developed a career in internet marketing and established her own small digital marketing agency so she can work remotely and spend time with her husband, Tim, and her two dogs.