Our Staff

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Rev. Neal Locke

E-mail Rev. Neal Locke

Neal is an El Paso native 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 recently 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 begin 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 guitar (and the ukulele!), 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, the UTEP Miners, and most recently, the El Paso Chihuahuas!  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.

AVILA, Steven

Steven Avila

Choir Director

A native El Pasoen, 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 himself, Steven returns to First Presbyterian Church to serve as interim choir director, and is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the wonderful music ministries happening here.


Hope N. Griffin

Director of Family Ministries
E-mail Hope N. Griffin

Hope, her husband, and three kids have lived in El Paso just over 7 years.  She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a BA in English and from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Masters in Biblical Studies. Since graduating she has worked in ministry with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Youth Ministry, Children’s Ministry, and (since moving to El Paso) Military Ministry. She is an avid reader and loves to write short stories. Her passion is to pursue God’s call on her life wherever it may lead. She loves working with people of all ages encouraging them to grow into a deeper understanding of Christ.


Vanessa Williams

Children's Pastor

Vanessa Williams has been a musician since childhood.  Her earliest memories include family time around the piano while singing hymns. A lifelong church member, singing and playing for church services was a regular part of growing up, and later she began directing on occasion. A dedicated music educator, Vanessa holds two degrees in music, a Texas Music Educator license, and a kindermusik certification.  She brings that passion for teaching, and her love for children to her new work here at First Presbyterian Church of El Paso.  She looks forward to developing a Children’s ministry that will strengthen and grow the faith of each young person that walks through our doors, and hopes that together we can plant spiritual seeds in our children that will take root for a lifetime.


Jay Dea Brownfield

Membership & Special Event Coordinator

Jay Dea Brownfield is a graduate of UTEP with degrees in English and Special Education. She taught Special Education for 22 years in the El Paso Independent School District. Jay Dea is a long time member of FPC serving as an elder for many years. During that time she worked on the Worship and Christian Education committees. Jay Dea served as secretary to the Board of Trustees of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary for nine years. During that time she was also president of Young Matron’s Auxiliary of the Woman’s Club, chairman of the El Paso Rehabilitation Auxiliary silent auction for Christmas Street and the PTA. Jay Dea is looking forward to serving as Membership & Special Events Coordinator for FPC and is already planning some activities for the spring.

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Teresa Ramos

Teresa Ramos has been a teacher at First Presbyterian School 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.

HERRA, Patty

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.

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Everett King

Church Sexton

Bringing years of experience in building maintenance and management, Everett began work at First Presbyterian Church in October 2008. His helpful spirit and positive approach promise to be a great asset!


George Salas

George Salas is the Assistant Praise Band Leader. He will be graduating in May 2015 from UTEP with his music teaching certification. He plans to continue immediately afterwards with a Master’s in Music Education. As a performer, George has studied classical guitar with Thomas Johnson (pupil of Andres Segovia), John Siquieros and Armin Harrison and attended master classes by guitar virtuosos Adam Holzman and David Russell. Currently he teaches music at St. Mark’s Private Middle School and teach guitar at UTEP’s Public & Professional Programs and EPCC Continuing Education.

George’s hobbies include philosophy, reading, writing and ethnomusicology. He lives on the east-side of town with his beautiful wife Chanel and lovely daughter Lilianne.


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.