Blake Daniel


Blake began work as pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Sylva in the summer of 2015. Blake studied English and Spanish at the University of Georgia and attended seminary at Duke Divinity School. He is married to Erin and they have three sons, Luke, Isaac, and Asa, and a pup named Penny. 

Email: blake@sylvapres.org


Judy Henderson


Judy is a life-long Presbyterian who loves her church and the God it serves. She has had many jobs along the way, from teacher to engraver, but her favorite calling has been to be a wife to Bruce and mom to her three children. Now Judy can add "Meema" to that list. "I have been co-treasurer and then treasurer for over 25 years and am glad that my love of numbers has been of use to the church."

Email: judithehenderson@gmail.com


Courtney Umphlett

Children's Ministry Director

Courtney is a person of many hats. She lives on a small farm, loves exercising but also ice cream, likes to make things from scratch, plays a variety of musical instruments, and loves to read a good book. But her favorite thing is working with and developing the lives on children and young adults. Courtney is married to Drew Umphlett, who is the band director at Smoky Mountain High School. They have recently welcomed their first child into the world, a little girl named Cecilia.

Email: FPCSylvakids@gmail.com

Margaret Hale


Margaret loves playing the organ for First Presbyterian Church. No matter what kind of music she plays, or how many mistakes she makes, the congregation members make her feel appreciated. Margaret also loves working with the First Presbyterian Church Choir. "The choir members are dedicated, faithful, hard-working, marvelous singers who take seriously their call to lift up our hearts in worship through their music."

Email: camelotmarg@yahoo.com


Emily Fields

Administrative Assistant

Emily is a recent graduate of Western Carolina University with a degree in Psychology. Usually with a cup of coffee in hand, she love all things organizational and all things chocolate. In her spare time Emily enjoys painting, working out at CrossFit Swerve in Sylva, and a good marathon every now and then (and by marathon, she means movie marathon). "Church has always been where I've felt most at home, so this is a dream job."

Email: emily@sylvapres.org


Amanda Murajda


Email: amurajda@hotmail.com


Michael Collings

Music Director

Michael's passion for music has lead him to many strange, dangerous and exotic places: from the treacherous jungles of public universities to the terrifying dungeons of inquisition called concert stages. But his strangest and most perilous calling has been to direct music at "the Local Church" or more specifically, First Presbyterian Church of Sylva in the mountains of North Carolina. Here, he and his family have been warmly accepted by the natives and together they are attempting to discern the sounds and postures of the cloud of witnesses who worship God in the heavenly realms.

Email: mikatcoll@yahoo.com


Grace Reed

Financial Secretary

Email: gracereed33@gmail.com


Sara Beth Foti

Child Care Attendant

Sara Beth was born in Charleston, South Carolina. Her family later moved to Sylva, North Carolina where she has lived most of her life. Sara Beth and her dog, Poe, live happily in her grandmother's house. She's a former elementary and Pre-K teacher. Sara Beth loves God, children, and the beach. "I feel that God has blessed me with this opportunity to serve as the preschool attendant."

Email: fotibeach@aol.com

Elders & Committee Assignments

Class of 2019

  • Roger Murajda - Christian Education Committee

  • David Noland - Finance Committee

  • Tommy Thompson - Worship Committee

Class of 2020

  • Ali Large - Personnel Committee

  • James McManus - Property Committee

  • Frances Hess - Hospitality Committee

Class of 2021

  • Amanda Murajda - Clerk of Session

  • Gloria Stockton - Mission Committee

  • Blair Yount - Transition House Committee


Class of 2019

  • Besan Nash - Co-moderator

  • Cyndie Royce

  • Nancy Zachmann

Class of 2020

  • Jae Crawford - Co-moderator

  • Toni Knott

  • Pat Mikula

Class of 2021

  • Sara Beth Foti

  • Donna Mason

  • Kelder Monar