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Meet Our Pastor

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Rev. Ben Wilcox

Rev. Ben Wilcox has been appointed by the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church to serve as the Lead Pastor at Lavonia First United Methodist Church.   

Pastor Ben has a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, a Master’s Degree in Forestry and Natural Resources from The University of Georgia, and a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology. Prior to serving at Lavonia First UMC, Pastor Ben served as the Lead Pastor at Cornelia UMC from 2020-2024, Associate Pastor at Bethlehem First United Methodist Church from 2018-2020, was the Director of Children’s Ministry at Bethlehem First UMC from 2015-2018, and the Children’s Ministry Director at Princeton UMC in Athens from 2009-2015.

Pastor Ben grew up in Lapeer, MI and moved to Georgia in 2003 to work at The University of Georgia’s Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study.  Work there consisted mainly of catching wildlife to test for various diseases including West Nile Virus and Avian Influenza.  In 2013, Pastor Ben felt God calling him into ministry and he began to pursue ordination as an Elder in the United Methodist Church.

Pastor Ben's ministry passions are working with laity to find their best fit in ministry since we all have been given unique gifts from the Holy Spirit, reaching out to the community and discovering ways to connect with them, and working with all ages to become better disciples of Jesus Christ.

Pastor Ben is married to Kristine (Suzor) Wilcox (20 years), and they have two sons, Wyatt (16) and Kody (14).  Ben enjoys most sports including coaching baseball, bird-watching, walking, and reading.

Church Office Administrator

Meet our Pastor and Staff: Meet the Team

Office Adminstrator

Carol Cason

Church Choir Director

Meet our Pastor and Staff: Meet the Team

Choir Director

Sheldon Lehman

Sheldon comes to us from Toccoa, a product of both Stephens County High School and Toccoa Falls College, where he studied Music Composition. He has spent 28 years in music ministry, most recently at Toccoa First Methodist.

Sheldon’s philosophy is summarized by the following: “My goal in church music is to get people excited about praising God through singing or playing and communicating that to others, so that when they hear, they will not see us, but Jesus.”

Meet our Pastor and Staff: Meet the Team

Church Musicians


Kit McCluskey Thompson

Traditional Service Pianist


Kimberly Bryant

Early Service Pianist

Meet our Pastor and Staff: Meet the Team
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