First Presbyterian Church of Athens, Ohio

What We Believe

 In The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us how to pray and instructed us how to live so that we might make a meaningful difference in the world. We define our vision this way:

We are a Christian community of faith that shares the love of God with all people everywhere.

These are the values that guide our church:

  • We rejoice in God’s presence in the life of our church, and we honor God as the source of all that we celebrate and the reason for all that we do.
  • Christ-focused corporate worship is the central act of our community. During worship, we glorify and thank God while proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel. We value engaging and thoughtful preaching that meets congregants at their point of need, beautiful music that uplifts the soul, and prayers that inspire.
  • Christian faith is not solitary, but shared. We foster and build a nurturing and supportive Christian community by providing rich and varied opportunities for gathering, connecting with each other, and deepening our understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in the world today.
  • We seek to use our building and facilities in creative ways to further God’s mission and to preserve these great assets for the benefit of future generations.
  • We believe that each member is an ambassador for Christ who can make a difference in other people’s lives by inviting, welcoming and serving in the name of Jesus. We seek to demonstrate God’s love through our daily actions, and we are not afraid to share with others the importance of our faith in our lives.
  • We seek to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors near and far, addressing spiritual as well as physical needs in ways that are relevant and transformative. We reach out beyond the walls of the church with our time, talents and financial resources to participate in God’s plan of reconciliation for the world, demonstrating the love and justice of Jesus Christ.
  • FPC is a place to learn and to grow spiritually, no matter what age or stage of life. Together, we ask hard questions and explore our beliefs. We seek to deepen our understanding of the reformed branch of Christianity and to engage in respectful interfaith dialogue.

Presbytery of Scioto Valley

 Presbyterian Church (USA)

Synod of the Covenant

Meet Our Staff

Pastor - Reverend Rob Martin

The Reverend Rob Martin ( grew up in Toledo, Ohio. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Muskingum University and went on to receive a Master of Divinity from McCormick Seminary in Chicago, Il. Rob is married to Barbara and they have two grown children, Elizabeth, and Robert.

In May 2022, Rob received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Using his exeperiences as a pastor, Rob wrote his doctorial dissertation titled, “FOOD, FAITH, AND FILM: Cultivating a spirituality of Hospitality in a Presbyterian Congregation.”

 Rob likes red wine and good coffee, and is constantly in search of the world’s best recipes to try. Pastor Rob adds: “I read a lot. My laugh is too loud. I am into reformed theology, parables, psalms, and prayers. I am always on the lookout for God and good conversation. Let me know whenever you spot them.” His personal thoughts can be read on his blog, “The Thin Places.” 


Administrative Assistant - Debbie Perry

Debbie Perry(  provides secretarial, financial secretarial services, and associated services to the pastor, professional church staff, the Session, the Session committees, and the Board of Deacons, in serving the congregation. Along with her many administrative duties, Debbie maintains the church calendar, schedules the use of church facilities, and is responsible for the publication of the monthly newsletter.


Organist - Janice Robison

Janice Robison ( has been organist at First Presbyterian Church since 1971. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from West Virginia University and a Master of Music in Organ Performance from the University of Kentucky. She previously served at churches in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Michigan. Janice accompanied students at the Ohio University School of Music for lessons, recitals and competitions for 25 years. She has been bringing guest organ recitalists to First Presbyterian Church every year since 1985, including winners of the National American Guild of Organists (AGO) Performance Competition. Janice is a charter member and past Dean of the Southeast Ohio Chapter of The AGO.


Choir Director - David Tadlock

David Tadlock ( has been Choir Director of the First Presbyterian Church since 2000. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University School of Music, and a Masters and Doctorate from The University of Connecticut at Storrs. He serves as guest stage director and voice coach for various local and regional musical productions.

Handbell Director - Anna Crum

Anna Crum is an Ohio University Student studying Music Education.

She grew up in nearby Belpre, OH.Anna is a flutist in the Ohio University Symphonic Band and has played in the FPC bell choir under Director Tyler Thress.  She has also been a member of the OU Flute Choir, the Warren High School Handbell’s and Band Program. She has worked with local food pantries, an Energy Express volunteer and the Mid-Ohio Valley Work Camp. Anna has been awarded the John Philip Sousa Award, the National Choral Award and the Arion Award.


Christian Education Coodinators - Richard and Joan Nease

Richard has served as an English teacher at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School, Wahama High School, and schools in Ohio and Tennessee. Richard has a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Tulsa, a Master of Arts from The Ohio State University, and a Master of Divinity from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

Joan has been employed by United Appeal for Athens County, Ohio University, and several other organizations. Joan majored in mathematics and economics at Seattle Pacific University, and completed additional courses at institutions including Ohio University. Joan has volunteered with youth programs at several churches in Ohio and West Virginia.

Richard and Joan may be contacted at

History of Our Church

Our history has always been tightly woven into the greater Athens community and Ohio University. In 1809 our church was organized by the Rev. Jacob Lindley, the first President of Ohio University. The First Presbyterian Society, as the church was called at its founding, included nine members and it inhabited this same corner at the heart of Athens where we worship today. Now, over two hundred years later, we continue to honor and celebrate our relationships with the city and university. FPC’s historic doors are open to all, but the true church is our people who live, work, and serve in the great community, showing God’s love, just as our founders did so many years ago.

See our PDF document for the history of our beautiful windows!