Rev. Karen H. Whitaker
Rev. Karen H. Whitaker is the senior pastor at Epworth, appointed to our church in 2015. She is a Duke Divinity School graduate and has served churches in Fayetteville, Cary, and most recently at Soapstone UMC in Raleigh. Pastor Whitaker is married to Alan and they are blessed with three children: Megan, Kristen, and Justin. Throughout the years, God has called her in numerous ways. In every place, there have been powerful grace-filled, God moments, as well as challenges and joys of journeying with Jesus. She is here at Epworth, seeking to be faithful to that call. She prays that God uses her for God’s work in this corner of the kingdom, in this place.
Rev. Charles C. Daly
Charles comes from Mt. Carmel UMC in Manns Harbor, NC where he served as the lead pastor from 2015. He grew up in North Carolina, received his undergraduate degree from UNC, and completed a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During seminary, Charles interned at St. Paul and St. Andrew UMC, co-led a Methodist student ministry on Columbia University’s campus, and taught Sunday school to 70 children as the youth pastor of Tian Fu United Methodist Church. His ministry has included hospice chaplaincy, dementia care, food pantry management, addiction response, homelessness services, disability services, and music leadership.
Carie Dupree (she/her)
Coordinator of Youth Ministries
My goal for the youth is to build a community and help them understand their faith while growing into the people they are becoming. I have one cat, her name is Catherine, and she and I love to watch Netflix together on rainy days.
Rev. Amanda Fleishman Wilson
Coordinator of Children’s Ministries
Amanda came to Epworth in November 2016 as Coordinator of Children’s Ministries. She is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, an ordained United Methodist Deacon, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a small counseling practice serving low-income individuals and families. Amanda grew up in Maryland and Virginia but is blessed to have married a lifelong Tar Heel, J.D. They have two children. Amanda is passionate about building cross-cultural relationships, seeking both personal and social transformation by God’s grace, and helping kids grow in God’s love through the stories of the Bible and through their daily lives
Dona Gamble was born in Fitzgerald, Georgia. After graduating from The University of Georgia, teaching 5th grade, and marrying Don, she began working as a church secretary at First UMC, Myrtle Beach, S.C. After moving to Durham, she began working at Epworth and enjoys working on the newsletter and bulletins each week, supporting other staff members in their ministries, and helping those who call, email, or stop by the office. She and her husband Don enjoy their children and grandchildren, traveling (especially to the Pacific Northwest, Montana, and Wyoming), Duke basketball, and Georgia football.
Meg Hemingway Bass
Meg was born in Elizabethtown, NC to long-time Epworth members, Pat and John (Alden) Hemingway. She attended Epworth Kindergarten in 1964 and was taught by Hilda Moone. She grew up overseas in Mexico City, Mexico; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Brussels, Belgium as her dad worked in the International Division of Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company. She graduated from Duke University in 1981 with a BA in Psychology. She has two children, Lewis IV and Emily who are both life-long members of Epworth. Meg loves to read, pull for her Blue Devils and stays busy caring for her dogs, Elmo and Edsel.
Fred began his tenure as Epworth’s organist on Palm Sunday, March 19, 1978. He holds a BA in
French and Music from Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, where he studied organ performance with Donald Johnson. While completing his doctoral studies in Romance Philology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Fred also continued his organ studies with David Weadon, former associate chapel organist at Duke University, and with organist/composer Robert Hebble, long time associate to
Virgil Fox at Riverside Church in New York City.
Fred enjoys traveling and spending time at home with his spouse and his canine companions.
Director of Music Ministries
Neal Wegener holds a Bachelor of Sacred Music degree from Phillips University, having previously been a student at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey; and at the University of Colorado.
Mr. Wegener has served as Director of Music in churches in New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado. Mr. Wegener has also served as a Vice-President of the Colorado State Music Teachers Association, Vice-President of the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and as a Convocation Chair for the Denver Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Mr. Wegener is Nationally Certified by the Music Teachers National Association and the National Guild of Piano Teachers, and c.urrently teaches piano in Cary
Epworth Preschool Director
Leigh is Tar Heel born but spent most of her childhood in New Bern, NC. She and Jeff were thrilled to settle in the Durham/Chapel Hill area to raise their three children, Abby, Molly, and Will. When Leigh is not at Epworth, she enjoys spending time with her family. They love to go for family hikes but more often you can find Leigh on the sidelines of soccer games, watching tennis matches, on deck at swim meets, and cheering for the Tar Heels.
Theresa grew up in Florida but considers Durham “home.” She moved to the Triangle area in 2001 to pursue a PhD in archaeology at UNC, which she completed in 2011. Theresa now works as a 5th grade science teacher and swim coach at Durham Academy, runs archaeology summer camps in Morganton, NC, and of course cares for Epworth’s youngest members on Sunday mornings. She rarely has “spare” time, but when she does, you’ll find her playing with her 4-year-old son, Stefan.
Stacy Paper (she/her)
Digital Marketing & Worship Tech
Stacy recently joined Epworth after her family relocated from Iowa to North Carolina. Stacy holds degrees in Marketing, Secondary Education, Communications & Theatre Performance. After teaching for the first few years of her career, she transitioned to the world of Digital Marketing after the birth of her first child & his subsequent 4-month NICU stay.
Stacy & her husband are currently working on their 5th home renovation & enjoying the process of creating their “for a long time” home. She has two amazing children, E’Mya (14) and Benton (5) who are the joy of her life.