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.
Kelly McConnell - Youth Director
Kelly McConnell has been our Youth Director since August of 2011. Prior to that, she volunteered with our youth group for four years. She is passionate about working with teenagers and loves to create ministry opportunities for the youth to grow in their relationship with Christ and to develop a better foundation of being a Christian through interactive lessons and experiences. She is originally from East Aurora, New York, where she was an adult volunteer for church youth group for two years. She has lived in Brentwood for nine years with her husband Mark, son Matthew and son Jeremy. In her free time Kelly loves to hike, explore, travel and cook. Being with youth, laughing, loving and learning is one thing she absolutely loves to do!
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 STRASSER - MUSIC DIRECTOR
Nate discovered his passion for music at the age of 4 when he began to study piano. At 8 years of age Nate was selected to perform at the International Music Workshop in Scotland and again in Austria at the age of 10. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Piano Performance from West Virginia University. Nate has worked extensively with bell choirs, children’s choirs, adult choirs, and praise bands. He has also composed a number of sacred works including a 2015 Commission to write a work for SATB choir, brass ensemble, and percussion that will premiere in the fall. In 2013, Nate was one of twenty candidates worldwide accepted into the Scoring for Motion Pictures and Graduate Television Program at the University of Southern California.
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!
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.