John R. Hilley - Pastor

John became East Brentwood Presbyterian’s Minister October 2013, returning to pastoral work after years of nonprofit leadership and owning a consulting and software business called Patmos, LLC. He brings a strong skill set and experience in strategic planning, organizational leadership, and stewardship.   

John brings life experience as a father / husband / brother / son, an understanding of what it means to run a business and a deep empathy of what many face in their work environments, and a desire to be more rooted in a community – all of which informs his preaching and teaching.  He first came to Nashville in 1994 to serve as Senior Minister of The Downtown Presbyterian Church (1994-2000) and he has served other churches in the Middle Tennessee area, including Priest Lake Presbyterian Church.  His work in the Presbyterian Church has taken him to work with churches in South Africa, New York City, New Jersey, and Iowa.  About the church, John says: “God’s love is the mortar by which the community is built: our focus upon worship, education, and service is our proclamation.” 

John is married to Kira Florita Hilley and they have 4 adult children: Aaron, Sam, Marrah and Rick. He enjoys kayaking, bicycling, and trail running with his friends and his Border collie mix. He holds degrees from Wake Forest University and Princeton Theological Seminary and has taken post-graduate fellowship studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.


Nora dewater - interim Youth Director

As part of our partnership with Ministry Architects, Nora DeWater has joined our team and is serving as East Brentwood’s Interim Youth Director this year. Nora was born and raised in Seattle, Washington: her favorite place in the world (Nashville has become a close second!). Her mother was a Presbyterian Minister at several churches growing up, so Nora was actively involved in her church, her youth group, and even the Presbyterian Youth Triennium conferences. Her first real job was working at her Presbytery church camp, Soundview, where she wrote songs and led music for the children and high schoolers. Nora followed her dream of music to Belmont University, where she studied Audio Engineering Technology.

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mercedes ford - PRESCHOOL DIRECTOR

Originally from Mobile, Mercedes attended The University of Alabama where she received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies. Upon completion, she began working as a preschool teacher and received a Master of Science in Child and Family Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi. She served as a teacher for six years prior to transitioning into leadership in a Metro Action Commission (Nashville) center. Mercedes is pursuing a Doctorate in Education at Tennessee State University. She looks forward to becoming an addition to the EBCA family and bringing innovative ideas to the program. As a team, we will work together to maintain our presence in the community, our status as a high-quality preschool, as well as continue to uplift children and families through our service.


Nate is the music director for EBPC and the staff pianist for the musical theater program at Belmont. He received his BA in Jazz Studies from West Virginia University, and completed the Scoring for Motion Pictures Program at USC. Since moving to Nashville, Nate has become a sought-after session musician for many Grammy-winning artists and producers while pursuing a busy musical career as a film and television composer, pianist and songwriter.. He and Matt Combs, a featured performer on the Grand Ole Opry, collaborated to compose a piece for fiddle, piano and full orchestra. Their album Strasser & Combs present Americana Carols, featuring *Appalachian Rhapsody, will be released this fall as a fundraiser for EBPC.  For more info visit


Deborah Robitaille - Office Manager

Deborah is a recent addition to the EBPC staff. She and her husband moved here in the summer of 2018 from their native Michigan, where she was Director of Administration for a 4 campus ELCA Church these past 14 years. Her passion is equipping and empowering God’s people to ministry and mission. She has three wonderful grown children and lives in the Nashville suburbs with her husband, Todd Michael and their fur babies Delilah (queen of the felines) and Charlie Kramer the wonder Yorkie.


Alison Maraniss - Communications Director

Alison has worked in the communications field for 13 years. Most recently she served as an account supervisor at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations, the largest independent PR firm in Tennessee, where she managed accounts for Nashville Electric Service, U.S. Department of Labor's Job Corps program, and the YWCA, among others. A native of Nashville, she is a graduate of Saint Louis University where she majored in communications with minors in theology and women's studies. She has two adorable children, Eliza and Charlie, and a very cool husband, Andrew. She loves to travel, read and sit by the beach when she can!

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Lindsey Hinds-Brown - Children’s Director

Lindsey fell in love with teaching as a young child and has served in children’s ministry as a volunteer since her time in youth group many moons ago! She has worked in education for 12 years, holding a master’s degree in American History from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree in elementary education from Lipscomb University. Lindsey currently teaches middle school math for Williamson County Schools. When she is not at church or school, Lindsey spends every second she can with her husband Brad and their three amazing kiddos, Aidan, Lucy, and Connor.