Rev. Dave Barkalow
Senior Pastor

Dave grew up in Montgomery, Alabama attending Frazer Memorial UMC. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion with an emphasis in Christian Education from Huntingdon College and a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. He has served in vocational ministry for seventeen years. He has served as the Minister to Youth at Capital Height UMC in Montgomery, AL., as the Associate Pastor at Marianna FUMC and as the Senior Pastor at FUMC in Tallassee, AL before coming here as the the Senior Pastor in 2014. Dave is married to Laura Barkalow also of Montgomery and they have six children – Andy, Zadie, Rosie, Michael, Xavier, and Saphira. Dave enjoys reading, running, singing, and binge watching Netflix.

James Whited
Assistant to Pastor / Director of Programs

Jimmy grew up in Panama City, FL attending FUMC. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology from Florida Baptist Theological College and a Master of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served in vocational ministry for twenty-four years. He is married to Denise Whited and has two sons – Luke and Noah. He has been at FUMC since October 2000 and currently serves as the Assistant to the Pastor/Director of Programs. He has a passion for the local church and feels called to be an equipper to help believers understand and apply their faith. His life’s verse is Ephesians 4:12. His hobbies include exercising and playing guitar. Fun fact: Although he grew up along the Gulf Coast, going to the beach is NOT his favorite thing to do.

Cathy Wyant
Director of Children’s Ministries

Cathy grew up in Aledo, TX and moved to Fort Walton Beach, Florida during her senior year of high school. She is married to Sean Wyant and have three children – Elliott, Bailey and Caitlyn. She has served as the Director of Children’s Ministry since 2008. Her passion for ministry is to introduce all children to Jesus while showing them how He made them in His image for a special purpose. Her hobbies are her family, spending time at the beach and camping. Fun fact: She loves to camp in a tent for LONG periods of time.

Denise Severson
Director of School Ministries

Denise grew up on a farm in Granite Falls, MN. She met and married Brent Severson and had two children – Nick and Rachel. She also has two grandchildren – Sophie and Audrey. She has served as the Director of FUMC School since 2010. Her passion and hope is that all children who come to our school experience and learn about God’s love and have a strong academic beginning. Her hobbies include sewing, walking on the beach, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Fun fact: She was married during one of the worst snow storms in Minnesota.

Chandler Robbins
Director of Youth Ministries

Chandler has dedicated his life, energy, and passion to helping people. He comes from a background of community service from leading high school service projects to serving on Nonprofit boards. For Chandler people come first, and he has spent the greater portion of his life ensuring that he never meets a stranger twice and that all feel the love of Christ through him.


Chandler is a lifelong member of FWBFUMC and a product of our Youth Ministry. He has been blessed to serve in many lay leadership roles over the years and now feels both honored and humbled to continue serving First Church as their Associate Pastor for Youth Ministries. Chandler is a licensed local pastor within The United Methodist Church he looks forward to all that God has in store for his ministry to others and feels unequivocally blessed to have been appointed to serve his home church.


His life verse is Romans 12:2. Chandler enjoys anything having to do with being outside and finds great comfort and joy in helping others.


Fun Fact – He is extremely competitive with board games and sports activities whether it is with his family or the Youth.

Jessica Fike
Contemporary Worship Leader

Jessica Fike is our Contemporary Worship Leader. Jessica grew up in Lawton, OK and is one out of 7 brothers and sisters. She went to Cameron University in Lawton, OK for music. Jessica started playing the piano and singing at age 3, and started writing songs by age 9. She started in music ministry at age 12 and has worshiped with many churches since then. She loves God and loves to be in His presence. She loves hanging out with her, daughter Olivia, and her dogs. She enjoys walks on the beach, watching sunrises and sunsets and exploring God’s beautiful creation. We look forward to all God is going to do through Jessica’s ministry with us.

Ann-Marie Rider
Admin Asst./Church Office

Ann-Marie was born in Philadelphia, PA, and was raised in Cinnaminson, NJ. She and her family moved to Fort Walton Beach in 2013. She is a mother to three sons, Alex, Eric and Evan, and two English Cream golden retrievers, Jack and Jill. Her favorite bible verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She enjoys the beach, day trips, taking an art class every so often, and spending time with her sons. Fun Fact: She is related to Daniel Boone and is eligible for the D.A.R., Daughters of the American Revolution.

Alex Rider
(850) 243-9292