Our Team

Lee Ann Bryce

Senior Pastor

Lee Ann has served as senior pastor of First Congregational Church since December 2012. Read more...

Kathy Bowser

Pastoral Care Assistant

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Laurie Dobson

Office Manager and Director of Communications.

Laurie is responsible for running the church office, the weekly Comma, the monthly Comma Plus, website content, and all other communication needs at FCC. Read more...

Heather Goolsby

Youth Director

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Stacy Roberts

Children's Pastor

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Joel Penrod

Worship and Arts Planner

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Nina Ortega

Nursery Director

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Zane Freemyer

Hand Bell Choir Director

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Laurie Casland Simmons

Accompanist

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Bios

Pastor Lee Ann

Senior Pastor

A native Texan, I am a life-long Christian who has been inspired and energized by progressive Christian theology. I have devoted my life to nurturing healthy, supportive community, both sacred and secular.  (I don't really think there's a difference.) Mindfulness meditation in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hahn centers me in the presence of the sacred, and enables me to sustain the justice work for which I am passionate. I have a Music Education degree from Friends University, and a Master of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology.


Favorite Movies

● Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

● Waiting for Guffman

● Goodfellas

● To Kill a Mockingbird

● Fargo

Favorite Places to Eat

● Tacos Ernesto

● Pho & Grill

● Nonna Tata

● Fred’s Texas

● Cork & Pig

Favorite Things to Do

● Watch movies and great TV shows (so many choices, not enough time)

● Hang out with kids David, Sunny, and Hannah

● Cook and drink good wine with good friends

● Hike with dogs Denver, Mabel, and Shelbe

● Anything with my partner, Lisa

Favorite Quote

“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”  —Mary Oliver

A Random Fact about Me

My great-grandfather was an east Texas bootlegger who was killed in a skirmish over his still. Later, the man convicted of his murder was pardoned by the Governor of Texas.

Listen to some of my sermons.

Contact me via e-mail.

Rev. Kathy Bowser

Pastoral Care Assistant

I recently retired after serving ten years as the pastor of Celebration on the Lake Church. I grew up in the Catholic Church and became a nun with the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. After leaving the convent, I began a career in fundraising for the March of Dimes where I worked for 25 years.

 

Favorite Movies

● The Yearling

● Shawshank Redemption

● One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

● To Kill a Mockingbird

● Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

● Bridge Over the River Kwai 

Favorite Places to Eat

● Olives Mediterranean Grill

● SukhoThai

● Moni's

● Pappadeaux

● Red Lobster 

Favorite Things to Do

● Swimming

● Boating

● Walking our dog, Annie

● Reading

● Writing

Favorite Quote

The definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.

A Random Fact about Me

I always wanted to be a beachcomber-philosopher.

Contact me via e-mail.

Laurie Dobson

Office Manager and Director of Communications
I began working a few hours a week at FCC in 2013 as the Director of Communications. In 2015, just as I was ending my 23-year career in college textbook publishing, the position of office manager came available, and I was happy to come on board full time. While helping to run our church can be challenging, we have a wonderful staff and the most loving congregation—along with the most beautiful view outside my office window—and it is a joy to work here.


Favorite Movies

● An Affair to Remember (only the Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr version)

● Elf

● Pretty in Pink

● Hope Floats

● Return to Me

Favorite Places to Eat

● Spiral Diner

● Iron Town Pasty (in Michigan)

● Maharaja

● King Tut’s

● Taste of Asia

Favorite Things to Do

● Be creative

● Play ukulele

● Watch movies and eat popcorn with Eric

● Document life with my camera

● Read magazines and biographies

Favorite Quote

"Perfect is the enemy of good." —John Jerome

A Random Fact about Me

I used to take care of two chimpanzees (one was the famous Nim Chimpsky).

Contact me via e-mail.

Heather Goolsby

Youth Director

I have enjoyed leading Youth Ministry for 14 years, working in both the United Methodist Church and First Congregational United Church of Christ. My passion for working with preteens and teens has been life long, and I truly enjoy getting to know them and their families! 

 

Whether we are engaging in structured learning time, service projects, or hanging out and having fun, the value of the time spent together is immense. I believe young people are one of our most precious resources, and we can learn so much when we take time to truly see and hear them. I make it my mission to remind them and others of the worth and power of our youth, so they may realize their full potential and be recognized for it. The goal in my ministry is to help these beautiful humans grow in their faith, learn to love themselves and others, and discover the joy of helping make the world a better place. One of the greatest gifts for me is seeing my former students as adults! Staying connected with them and seeing the wonderful paths they have carved out for themselves in this world keeps me inspired to work with new generations of youth.

 

Favorite Movies

● The Princess Bride

High Fidelity

● Mystic Pizza

● Serenity

● Almost any sci-fi or action movie

Favorite Places to Eat

● Clear Springs (best onion rings ever!)

● Spiral Diner

● Stir Crazy (for sweet treats)

● Bombay Bistro

● Tokyo Cafe

Favorite Things to Do

● Doula duties

● Exploring outdoors and being near water

● Spending time with my husband, dogs, and kiddos

● Traveling

● Gardening

● Visiting museums and libraries

Favorite Quote

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

A Random Fact about Me

I am a rescuer of things: lifeless plants, homeless books, animals in need, people in need, and anything else that calls to me.

Contact me via e-mail.

Stacy Roberts

Children's Pastor

I firmly believe children are a vital part of the sacred space we create as a community. I love when I can hear little voices bubbling up all over the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning! I hold a BA in Christian Studies, a Master's in Theological Studies, and a Master of Divinity. I have been both a solo and associate pastor for the last eight years. I am passionate about teaching progressive theology through sensory play, art, and storytelling.  


Favorite Movies

● Harry Potter (all of them)

Bridget Jones' Diary

● Scott Pilgrama vs. the World

● When Harry Met Sally

● To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Favorite Places to Eat

● Press Cafe

● Chicken Salad Chick

● Maharaja Indian Restaurant

● Esperanza's

● Little Lilly Sushi

Favorite Things to Do

● Coffee Dates

● Road Trips

● Play Dates

● Yoga

● Crafting

Favorite Quote

"You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness."—Brene Brown

A Random Fact about Me

In the last 15 years, I have lived in four different states and four different houses in Texas.

Contact me via e-mail.

Joel Penrod

Worship and Arts Planner

 

Favorite Movies

● High Fidelity (any Cusack film)

● The Thomas Crown Affair

● I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka

● Love Actually

● The Sting

Favorite Places to Eat

● King Tut’s

● Carrabba's Italian Grill

● Maharaja

● Smokey's Barbeque

● La Rueda Mexican Restaurant

Favorite Things to Do

● Driving around with Veronica listening to music and talking

● Making my kids laugh; hearing their laughter

● Playing music with the band

● Watching TV shows set in Alaska (i.e., Alaska: The Last Frontier)

● Watching football (fantasy football)

Favorite Quote

"On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty. Today is such a day."  —Rumi as sung by David Wilcox & Nance Pettit

A Random Fact about Me

I have a secret love for beatboxing, but I haven’t gotten much better since 6th grade.

Contact me via e-mail.

Nina Ortega

Nursery Director

 

Contact me via e-mail.

Zane Freemyer

Handbell Choir Director/Assistant Vocal Choir Director


I am from Fort Worth where I grew up in a Cooperative Baptist church and then graduated Baylor University with a church music degree. I have always been drawn to ministering through worship and still strive to be a humble music leader in church. I am a student at Brite Divinity School for a Master of Divinity as I grow my ministry and also prepare for chaplaincy. I also work at The Cheesecake Factory downtown as a host. Please don’t be a stranger if you want to know more from me about handbells, music, worship, ministry, cheesecake, etc!


Favorite Movies

The Lion King

Tarzan

The Babadook

Elf

Black Panther

Favorite Places to Eat

The Cheesecake Factory ;)

P.F. Changs

Le’s Wok

Raising Cane’s

Five Guys

Favorite Things to Do

Arts & Crafts

Travel

Singing & making music 

Talk theology

Binge watch a great TV show with popcorn and a friend 

Favorite Quote

“…We will not fight their wars - we will not fall in line because if it's us or them it's us FOR them. We reject the ‘either/or’ - they can’t define us anymore because if it's us or them it's us FOR them….Know [God] holds the earth like dust and [God’s] judgment comes to us, and [God’s] judgment is love – may our judgment be love.” --“Us for Them,” One Wild Life, Gungor

Random Fact about Me

I absolutely love flags and political geography and could probably tell you lots of interesting facts about countries and their symbols. 

Contact me via e-mail.

Laurie Casland Simmons

Accompanist

I was born into a musical family. My father was my first piano teacher and my mother taught me to sing all the Girl Scout rounds. I began classical piano training at the age of six while living in Central America. At the age of twelve, I realized I wanted to “expand my horizons” and learned to play the guitar. My first music-teaching job was at the age of sixteen for a summer music camp. I continue to teach both piano and guitar to people of all ages in my private music studio. From 1995 to 2001, I served as Music Director at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Worth and later was part of the “start-up” UU church known as Pathways as their Music Director. From 2006-2018, I was a member of the 11:11 Band at First Methodist. I have performed for many years both as a solo artist and with various bands.

For me, music and spirituality go hand in hand. It’s the way I worship. It’s the way I pray. And I love sharing music with people in community.


Favorite Movies

● Sound of Music

● Field of Dreams

● Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

● Star Wars: A New Hope

● The Majestic

Favorite Places to Eat

● Mexico Real

● Prima’s Pasta

● Spiral Diner

● My own kitchen

● Picnic on top of a mountain

Favorite Things to Do

● Travel, travel, travel!

● Play music with my three sons: Joel, Travis & Justin

● Go to the movies or a live musical/theatre performance

● Walking with my dogs, Lilo & Cassie

● Read in my pajamas

Favorite Quote

“Music can name the unnamable and communicate the unknowable.”

—Leonard Bernstein

A random fact about me:

In 1995, while working for the Fort Worth Symphony, I washed James Taylor’s underwear and socks.

Contact me via e-mail