Our Staff

Rev. Neal Locke


Neal is a third-generation El Pasoan who graduated from Coronado High School in 1993. After several years as a high-school English teacher in the Dallas area he answered the call to ministry, and in 2012 graduated from Princeton Seminary with a Master’s in Divinity and a Master’s in Christian Education. Neal and his wife Amy (who is also an El Paso native) are excited at the opportunity to do ministry and raise their three children, Grady, Abby, and Jonah, in their hometown. When he is not writing sermons, visiting congregation members, or in committee meetings, Neal enjoys playing the bagpipes (and various other strange instruments), translating medieval manuscripts, playing with electronic gadgets, backyard cook-outs, and brewing his own homemade beer. His favorite books of the bible are Job, Ecclesiastes, Jonah, and the Gospel of Mark. His favorite teams are the Denver Broncos, the Baltimore Orioles, and the UTEP Miners.  Neal passionately believes in sharing with all people the love of God, expressed in the teachings of Jesus Christ and reflected in the welcoming family of God, the church.

Steven Avila

Director of Worship Ministry

A native El Pasoan, Steven attended the University of Texas at El Paso and received a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2006.  Since then, he has dedicated his time and talents to teaching choir and piano in the Socorro Independent School District.  Steven has also performed with organizations such as the El Paso Chamber Choir, the El Paso Opera, and the UTEP Dinner Theater.  His past conducting credits include works such as The Vivaldi Gloria, The Mozart Coronation Mass, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Phantom, andThe Wizard of Oz among others.  A former First Presbyterian scholarship singer, Steven returns to First Presbyterian Church to serve as our Director of Worship Ministry, and is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the wonderful music ministries happening here.

Marina Schlinke

Interim Director of Children's Ministries

Marina Schlinke has been teaching preschool for over 20 years, and has been teaching at First Presbyterian Preschool for 5 of those years. She holds the Co-Governance chair on the board of the Paso del Norte Association for the Education of Young Children and trains early childhood educators. In addition to working with preschool age children, she also has many years of experience working with school age children. Marina’s husband Brent is an assistant principal at Magoffin Middle School and they have two sons and a daughter.

Patty Herrera

Administrative Director

With a ministry reaching back to 1977, Patty has been serving at FPC for over 37 years. She was hired through El Paso High School’s Vocational Office Education as Receptionist. During her career at First Presbyterian, she has also worked as Membership Secretary and is currently the Administrative Director. She says that “It’s great to work for a congregation and staff that make you feel like part of their family.” Patty enjoys going to zumba classes and music concerts. Patty received the First Presbyterian Church Saints of Service Ministry Award in 2014 which was a great honor for her.

Jessica Garcia

Children's Ministry Intern

Teresa Ramos

Teresa Ramos has been a teacher at First Presbyterian Preschool for 11 years and has an Associate in Child Development.  She is happy to apply her knowledge in Child Development as she guides and supervises the child caregivers to establish a loving Christian environment for our young children.  She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and also serves as a board member.  She has a son, daughter-in-law and two sweet grandsons who live in California.

Cece Neal

Preschool Director

Now serving in her 30th year, Cece is the founder Director of the First Presbyterian Church Christian Pre-School. This wonderful institution enrolls 154 children ages two through kindergarten, housed in 13 classrooms. It is fully accredited with a staff of 24. Cece and her husband, Ray, are the proud parents of two children.

Lois Holt

Organist Emerita

Following almost twenty years as the Chapel Organist at Fort Bliss, Lois was the Organist at First Presbyterian Church from 2005 to 2014.  She continues to be an active member of the congregation, and in her capacity as organist emerita, she still graces the keys of our beautiful organ when the spirit moves her to do so!  Lois holds a Bachelor degree in mathematics and physics from Simmons College in Boston, and has studied organ music, theory, and design at the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Texas.

Our Officers

2017 Board of Elders
Corryn Lara
Oliver Tavizón
Helen Edwards
Esther Martinez
Craig Field
Eileen Salome
Rebecca Lenig

2017 Board of Deacons
Barbara Christopher
Amy Field
Ramon Pizzi, Jr.
Lacey Darcy
Wendy Moomaw
Marc Moomaw
Herminia Escajeda
Majd Sarah

2017 Board of Trustees
Amy Thompson
William Thompson
Aixa Adame
Melanie Mullings
Vicki Black Walker
Cathryn Baker
Lee Brownfield
Mike Duchouquette