Rev. Sam Vernon
Senior Pastor
Rev. Sam Vernon was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1984 with a degree in Business Administration. He graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1989 with a Master of Divinity. He began his career in the South Georgia Conference in 1989, was ordained an elder in 1991 and served as an associate pastor for four years before pastoring his first church, Bass UMC in Macon. He served for five years as the Methodist Campus Minister at Valdosta State University. Since then, he has pastored churches in Hazlehurst, Lake Park, Waynesboro, Douglas, Columbus, and most recently College Place UMC in Brunwick.
Sam and his wife, Celeste, met in seminary and have been married thirty-three years. Celeste is the Georgia Coordinator for a special project of a pro-life non- profit. The Vernons have two sons. Rhett and Mitchell (25).
Brian and Stacey Morgan
Contemporary Worship Leaders
Brian and Stacey both grew up in musical homes with parents who were actively involved in ministry and provided an example of what it means to serve others. They met at Georgia Southern University while serving on the Leadership Team of the Wesley Foundation and soon discovered each other’s heart for worship.
Brian is currently the Project Manager at S&L Integrated Systems while Stacey is a Special Education Teacher at Jerger Elementary School. They are the proud parents of three beautiful girls and reside in Thomasville, GA. Both feel blessed to be a part of Cairo First United Methodist Church where they desire to guide and teach others how to have an encounter with the Lord through the art of worship.
Dr. Clell E. Wright
Minister of Music
Dr. Clell E. Wright serves on the faculty of Valdosta State University as Director of Choral Activities where he gives direction to five choral ensembles and teaches classes in Choral Conducting and Choral Repertoire.
Dr. Wright has conducted numerous large-scale choral orchestral works, including performances of the Mozart Requiem, the Fauré Requiem, the Poulenc Gloria, Haydn’s Creation and Handel’s Messiah among many others. He currently serves as Chorus Master for the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra
Dr. Wright is active as a choral clinician and has been a guest conductor for several All-Region choirs and Honor Choirs.
Dr. Wright holds degrees from Samford University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory.
Mr. Ed Self
Ed has been the organist and primary accompanist for First United Methodist Church since 1984. He is a graduate of Troy University and has a master’s degree in music education with a principal in organ. Ed retired from the Grady County School System in 2007 after teaching choral and general music for 30 years. He holds memberships in the Georgia Music Educators Association, the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, and the Tallahassee chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Quotable Quote: “Each day should be part of a life­long quest of learning.”
Fun Facts: Ed stopped riding horses when one ran away with him; He stopped playing golf when his ball landed in the wrong fairway, and he quit bowling after his ball rolled backwards into the chairs. He is thankful for music to fall back on!
Dr. Benjamin Crook

Dr. Crook joined our Church Staff in September as pianist and piano accompanist for us at the 11:00 am Traditional Service. He is a recent graduate from Florida State University’s performance program. Benjamin maintains an active repertoire of both classical works and new music. He is an active music teacher and judge. Benjamin has taught in both classroom and private settings at Bowling Green State University, Florida State University and Bluffton University.
His recent projects include creating a commercial recording of Matthew Ramage’s im(Balanced), and a concerto for piano and chamber winds, with the music collective Inspired.

Mrs. Jamie Allen
Preschool Director
Jamie is a native of Cairo, Georgia. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with a B.S. in Psychology in 2000 and completed her Master of Education degree in Counseling from Georgia Southern in 2002. In 2004 Jamie and her husband of 13 years Chad moved back to Cairo and became active in the Cairo First United Methodist Church where Chad was raised. They have one son Tyson who fills their days with love and laughter. Jamie has served on the Children’s Council for CFUMC and has had a role in the preschool as committee member, volunteer, or director since 2006. Jamie has a true love for children and their development both ademically and spiritually. She also has a love for the Preschool and the families who are a part of it.
Quotable Quote: “Enjoy the little things because sometimes God’s biggest blessings come in the smallest packages.”
Fun Facts: Jamie enjoys cooking, going to the movies, and spending lazy days with Chad and Tyson. Jamie would love to eat a meal with Giada De Laurentiis and Ina Garten.
Contact Info:
Mrs. Ruth Sims
Administrative Assistant
Ruth Sims has been a member of Cairo First UMC since 1967. Before coming to work at the Church in 1977, she had previously worked at Grady EMC and was a Tupperware consultant. Ruth is a member of the state and national chapters of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries. She has served in several elected offices of the state organization and is currently serving as the chairperson for the by-laws committee. She is also on the finance Committee of the National Association. She is a certified United Methodist Church Secretary having attended the certification institute at Emory University. She also attended the Church Business Administrators Certification Program at Emory University.
Fun Facts: Her hobbies include antiquing, collecting items that have morning glories and white angel figurines with musical instruments, reading and cooking. She is married to Ross Sims. Ross is from Ashland, Alabama and a graduate of the University of Alabama so the family members are all Alabama football fans. They have two daughters, Rhonda and Rebecca. Both daughters are married to United Methodist pastors, The sons-in-law were seminary roommates at Emory Candler School of Theology. Ruth and Ross are proud grandparents of Wesley Addington.