Director of Congregational Engagement
I help members of the congregation and our visitors engage in our ministries. As a part of that effort, I organize the tracking and engaging of visitors and new members; connect people in the church with ministry opportunities; provide staff support to Sunday School classes and small groups; provide staff support for the special events of the church; and participate in the communications processes for the church. All that I do at St. James, I try to do with a spirit of service and goodwill. I enjoy our staff and take advantage of times when I can inject some levity into our work.
I was born in New Orleans, the ninth of nine children. I grew up in Covington, a small town near NOLA, then attended and graduated from Louisiana State University (2019 National Champions in football!), where I majored in History (B.A., 1979). GO TIGERS! I received my master’s from the University of North Carolina as a Waddell Fellow in History (M.A., 1983), and became addicted to Tar Heel basketball. I then embarked on a career in newspaper and textbook publishing in Louisiana, North Carolina, and New York. Before coming to St. James, I ran my own publishing consulting business, working with textbook publishers on publications in all content areas and helping individuals publish memoirs, family histories, and children’s books.
I am married to Lynne Langley Garcia, who was born and raised in Rocky Mount and attended ECU. Through her influence and the kindly assistance of good friends, I have become a fan of ECU athletics. So, my loyalties are split except in one area—the NFL. I have been a Saints fan since New Orleans got the franchise in 1967. I suffered through many years of ineptitude until the magical Super Bowl run in the 2009 season.
Together Lynne and I have seven children. Lynne’s daughter, Kristen Welborn Letchworth, attends St. James UMC with her husband Spencer and children Langley, Olivia, and Bryce. Other grandchildren are Ella Grace and John Henry Welborn, the children of Kristen’s twin brother, Travis Welborn, and his wife Alicia Gainey Welborn; and Eliza Leigh, Ember Brook, and Lacey Kate Strickland, the daughters of Lynne’s daughter, Katie Welborn Strickland, and Brooks Strickland. My four daughters are Cece Garcia, Ellen Garcia, Abbie Wendehorst, and Caroline Garcia, who live in Los Angeles, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Asheville, respectively. Besides the time with our children and grandchildren, Lynne and I enjoy dining with friends and hanging out at the beach.