Rev. George Freeman, senior pastor
I grew up on the banks of the Potomac River in Southern Maryland and had the best childhood that anyone could ever imagine (out on the river every day after school and all summer long). My faith formation began and was nurtured by my upbringing in the Episcopal Church. Moving to N.C. in 1974, I attended Greensboro College followed by seminary training at Duke Divinity School. Ordained as a Deacon in 1977 and an Elder of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1981. I am especially blessed to be married to my wife Donna for 41 years. We have three amazing children, Mark (wife-Erin), Beth (husband- Wesley) and Megan along with four incredible grandsons (James, Henry, Cooper and Connor).
I have had the privilege of serving congregations from the Piedmont to the Mountains, although my love is the ocean. I pray that my call to ministry continues to be lived out in ways that encourage others to find a vital connection of faith with God, with one another, and with the community. It is a true blessing to serve with the people of Sedge Garden UMC who also believe that faith in God in vital to a full and meaningful life and that our life is meant to be given away for the sake and the betterment of others.
Rev. Karen Smith, pastoral care
Karen Smith joined the staff of Sedge Garden United Methodist Church in September of 2013. She is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and has served in the Reidsville, Trinity, and Thomasville areas before retiring to Kernersville in July of 2013. Karen is married to Larry Smith and they have a son, Jimmy, a daughter, Jessie, and a delightful 2 year old granddaughter, Lexi. Jessie and Lexi also live in Kernersville. Karen has a Master’s of Public Administration from UNC-G and a Master’s of Divinity from Duke University. Her hobbies include reading, music, and playing with her rescue pets – 3 cats and a hound dog.
Amanda Betters, garden kids and youth ministry
Amanda Betters, who has been a member of Sedge Garden UMC since August of 2010, joined the staff in April of 2012. She is a graduate of Meredith College with a BA in Psychology and Child Development, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Masters in Education: Human Development and Family Studies. Amanda resides in Kernersville with her husband Chad and daughter Mia. After following a calling to serve in Africa, Amanda’s calling to serve the young people of this church was reaffirmed. She believes that teaching and leading young people to have a personal relationship with Christ is what God wired her to do. Being in ministry is a family endeavor as Amanda and Chad share the role of directing the UMYF, and Mia doesn’t mind tagging along as we serve God! Outside of church, Amanda likes to hang out with friends and family… she loves coffee and is a definite foodie!
Chad Betters, youth ministry
Chad Betters joined the staff in November of 2014. He graduated from the University of North Florida with a BA in Psychology, and then completed his graduate work at the University of Florida, where he earned a PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling. In addition to his position working with the Youth here at Sedge Garden, Chad operates a private practice in Kernersville providing Christian counseling services, as he is also a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate and a Board Certified Christian Counselor. Chad resides in Kernersville with his wife/best friend/Co-Director of Youth Ministry Amanda and their daughter Mia. They enjoy visiting family in the mountains and at the beach. In his spare time, Chad enjoys working out, watching movies, mastering the grill, and serving the church as a Stephen Minister or as the Children’s Ministry’s number one volunteer.
Barry Lyons, director traditional music
Barry studied choral conducting at Pfeiffer College. He received a BA in performance at Radford University, and has studied advanced vocal technique with various private teachers. Barry has performed as a soloist for numerous choirs, chamber groups and operas. He is currently pursuing an Masters of Divinity at Wake Forest University.
Bobby Singleton, worship leader – contemporary service
Bobby has the privilege of leading a group of talented musicians as they provide the music for Sedge Garden’s Contemporary Worship Service – First Fruits. Bobby’s “training” for this job began with growing up as the son of a United Methodist minister and playing in rock bands. On a more formal level, he studied music at UNCG and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Bobby’s passion for music and people come together at Sedge Garden where he uses music to create a meaningful worship experience for all who attend the First Fruits service.
Judy Holye, preschool director
Judy Hoyle joined the preschool staff in 1990 and has served as director since 1994. She is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a BS in Elementary Education. Judy is a former elementary school teacher and continues private tutoring for elementary and middle school students in reading and math. Before moving to the Sedge Garden community and joining Sedge Garden United Methodist Church in 1980, she and her husband, John, lived in Virginia, Texas and Alabama. They are the proud parents of four grown sons and have three grandchildren. Judy enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, baking and working in her flower gardens.
Angie Shearer, church secretary
Angie Shearer joined the staff in May 2013. Angie has a long history with Sedge Garden, having attended the Preschool as a child and joining the church in 1983 after completing confirmation class. A graduate of East Forsyth HS and UNC-Greensboro, Angie lived in Knoxville, TN for six years before returning to Kernersville. Angie worked in HR/Recruiting for 8 years prior to starting a family. Her husband of 20+ years, Jason Shearer, plays bass with the First Fruits Praise Team. They have two boys Zachary and Johnathan, and a miniature schnauzer, Smokey. The Shearers spend much of their time “on the go” with baseball, soccer, cub scouts, and Garden Kids’ activities. As a family they enjoy visiting the beach and playing in the mountains. Angie has been actively involved with the PTA at Cash Elementary for 5 years, serving as President for one year. Angie enjoys time with family and friends, attending sporting events (Go VOLS!), being outdoors and reading.
Debbie Idol, administrative manager
Debbie joined the Sedge Garden staff in March of 2010 as administrative manager. She attended Davidson County Community College in Lexington, NC where she obtained an Associate Degree in Accounting. She worked for twenty years at Douglas Battery Manufacturing in Winston-Salem. Since leaving Douglas Battery in 1998, Debbie has worked in the Retirement Industry as Business Manager for both Wesleyan Arms, Inc. in High Point and the Masonic and Eastern Star Home of NC in Greensboro. Debbie is married to Eddie Idol who grew up in Kernersville. They have been married for over 30 years and have two daughters, Janet and Jessi. Debbie loves to read and enjoys spending time with her family.