Our Staff & Leadership

Rush Otey

Temporary Supply Minister

Rush recently retired from Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church where he served 18 years as the Senior Minister (2002-2020). Born and raised in Gainesville, Georgia—parents were leaders at First Presbyterian Church
Education: Happyland Kindergarten; Gainesville Public Schools; B. A. in English, with honors, Presbyterian College, Clinton, S.C.; D.Min,, with honors, Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Va.; study year abroad at New College, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, worked with team ministry in low income parish of Edinburgh, Iona Community, traveled throughout Europe, and in Scandinavia and Russia; Clinical Pastoral Education at Medical College of Virginia hospital and also at Virginia State Penitentiary (maximum security prison); internships at Richmond area churches
Ordained by Mecklenburg Presbytery at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, 1973
Post graduate fellowship at Duke Divinity School; selected participant in Pastor-Theologian Program of Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey
1973-1980 Minister to Students (college chaplain) at Davidson College, and assistant minister at Davidson College Presbyterian Church     Board member of Davidson Cornelius Child Development Center, founding member of Ada Jenkins Center, founding board member of ECO (Ex-Convicts Organization) which is now Center for Community Transitions, campus ministry Board at UNCC, CROP, member of PCUS Task Force on Criminal Justice, and others; guest lecturer and seminar leader of various classes at Davidson College
1980-1982  Director, Uniting Campus Ministry, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge—ecumenical and interfaith center funded by United Methodist and Presbyterian judicatories; moderator of University Chaplains Association and liaison with University administration; Board member Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations, Southern University campus ministry, International Hospitality Foundation, Louisiana Interchurch Conference, Baton Rouge chapter of Amnesty International; volunteer chaplain on death row and life sentence units at Angola Prison
1982-1993 St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Tucker, Georgia (northeast Atlanta)—approximately 900 members—congregation was/is very active in urban and international mission, part of founding group of congregations of Druid Hills Night Shelter, Open Door Community, Dekalb Initiative for Affordable Housing; St. Andrews Preschool serves over 200 students; sponsored group home for and with people with physical and mental disabilities, continuous teaching of and with interns from Columbia Seminary; large multi-staff congregation; major capital campaign and renovations and additions; two Sunday worship services
1993-2002 First Presbyterian Church, Pensacola, Florida—downtown congregation of approximately 1000 members, founded in 1845; not unlike many thriving and dynamic urban congregations; two capital campaigns; facilities in constant use; two Sunday worship services
2002-2020 Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC—approximately 500 confirmed members plus over 200 children; participation and leadership in local and regional mission such as Habitat for Humanity, Room in the Inn, Rise Against Hunger, Loaves and Fishes, 20 year continuous partnership with Montclaire Elementary School (Title 1); two capital campaigns; influx of younger members and strengthening of music and worship and Christian education for all ages; developed a strong and creative and complementary staff and Session; retired in April 2020
Service to Church: commissioner to three General Assemblies, moderator of Committee on Ministry for four years in Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and three years in Presbytery of Florida; Presbytery of Charlotte member of Permanent Judicial Commission and co-moderator of an Administrative Commission; Board member of Presbyterian Psychological Services and North Carolina Council of Churches; intern supervisor for Columbia and Union Seminaries since 1984; member of Church in Vocations Group; Editorial Advisory Board of Journal for Preachers since 1990; published numerous articles, sermons, and reviews in several venues
Interests (other than Bible, theology, pastoral care, preaching, teaching, administration): music (played keyboards in rhythm and blues groups during high school and early college years, and love the music of the Church); reading and writing; sports; gardening (have been cutting the grass and raking the leaves since I was eleven years old)
Immediate family: married to Deborah Plonk, retired teacher and psychologist; two adult children, Andrew who lives in Washington, D.C., and Emily who lives in Raleigh, N.C.

Lynne Keel

Associate Pastor for Care and Mission

Born in Atlanta, GA, Lynne Keel attended the University of Georgia and graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a focus in advertising.  Through Stephen Ministry, Lynne experienced God’s call to ministry, and she graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary with an M.Div. degree in 2007.  After completing a residency as a Hospice Chaplain in Atlanta, and prior to arrival at FPC Concord, she served as Associate Pastor for Congregational Care at South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church.  In her spare time, Lynne enjoys spending time with her husband, Gene, and her daughters Amina, Gabbie, and Gwyneth.  Her hobbies include reading, hiking, and singing.

Rachel Vogado

Associate Pastor for Christian Formation

Originally from Tallahassee, Florida, Rachel earned a degree in Art History and a minor in Museum Studies from Florida State University in 2009. She earned her M.Div. degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in 2013.  Most recently, Rachel completed a two-year pastoral residency as a Lake Fellow at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana (4,000 members), and its partner church, Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in neighboring Crawfordsville (150 members). Rachel is married to Rev. Chris Vogado, and together they enjoy playing music, adventuring, and frolicking with their cat, Sherlock. In her free time, Rachel enjoys gardening, traveling, reading, swinging in hammocks and exploring the arts.

Jacqueline Yost

Director of Music/Organist

Jacquie has been the music director and organist at First Presbyterian Church since 2004. In addition to playing the organ for and planning the music in worship services, she oversees the music planning, coordination, and performing of the adult and children’s choirs.  Jacqueline is also a professor in Music Theory and Aural Skills at UNC-Charlotte, where she also serves as the  instructor for applied organ.  She holds the BM and DMA in organ performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY, where she also received the prestigious Harold Gleason Emerging Artist Award and The Performer’s Certificate. In addition she holds an MM in organ performance and improvisation from The Cleveland Institute of Music and an MA in Music Theory Pedagogy from the Eastman School of Music.

When not doing music, “Ms. Jacquie” (as she is often addressed by the children at First Pres) loves to run marathons, cook (and eat) French food, and read 19th century British literature. She hopes to never retire and will someday author children’s books.

Jeffrey Price


Jeffrey Price, Choirmaster, has served First Presbyterian Church of Concord since February 2004.  He encourages members of the Sanctuary Choir and congregation to sing and give their best music to God through hymns, anthems, introits and prayer responses.  Jeff and the Sanctuary Choir have led and collaborated on outreach presentations in retirement communities like Taylor Glen, and worked with organizations in the broader community including the Piedmont Choral Society, Central United Methodist Church, the Northeast Foundation, Central Piedmont Community College Opera Theater, and the Festival of Churches at Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston, South Carolina. Jeff strives to affirm and enable others to use the gifts God has given them to praise God, and bring joy, inspiration, and comfort to each other.

Suzanne Russell

Church Administrator

Suzanne joins the First Presbyterian staff from Huntersville, NC, where she has lived with her husband John for twenty years. They share their home with their two dogs since their two boys have grown and moved to the Raleigh area. Before taking this position, Suzanne worked for Ramah Presbyterian Church in Huntersville and Williams Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte as well as several customer service and bookkeeping jobs while working to get her degree in business administration from Northeastern University. A love of cooking keeps her busy in the kitchen during any free time, followed by walks with the dogs to work off all she has eaten!

Christy Baucom Canupp

Financial Secretary

Christy has been the Financial Secretary at First Presbyterian since November of 2003.  Before coming to the church, she was a faithful employee of Cannon Mills/Pillowtex for 23 years.  Christy received her BA in Business Administration from Catawba College.  She is married to Andy Canupp and has two children, Rex & Jennifer.  She enjoys reading, gardening, walking, and grandbabies.

Maureen O’Bryan

Director of First Kids Preschool

Maureen has served as the director of First Kids Preschool since 1992.  Originally from Louisville, KY, she has earned BA degrees in both Special and Elementary Education from the University of Kentucky and an MA degree in Early Childhood Education from UNCC.  Before joining our staff Maureen was a teacher for Iredell Co.  Schools and for the past ten years has worked as an adjunct instructor in the Early Childhood Education Department at RCCC.   Maureen is deeply devoted to improving the lives of young children in our community and serves as a volunteer in many organizations including the Cabarrus Partnership for Children. She is a past recipient of NC Child Care Resources T.E.D.D.Y.  Award and the CRSAEYC Anne Laukitis Pulling for Children Award, for her service and advocacy for young children.  Maureen’s family includes two sons, Chapman and Patrick, daughter-in-law Kellie, and a furry crew of rescued animals.

Heath Ritchie

Maintenance Superintendent

A native of Concord, Heath has handled maintenance and upkeep responsibilities for the church since 1998.  He has served as a Cubmaster and on the boards of several local organizations, including a term as chairman of The Historic Preservation Commission of the City of Concord.  He is currently a member of the Concord Lions Club and the Food Policy Council of Cabarrus County.  Heath and his wife Carolyn have two children, Elizabeth and Bennett.  He enjoys, gardening, watercolor painting, local history, spending time with family, and caring for their four dogs.  Heath’s greatest claim to fame, however, may be his homemade cheesestraws!