Appointed in July 2014, Valarie brings to First United Methodist Garland a passion for linking congregations and communities, seeking to join with others in bringing these relationships to fruition for a more just, Spirit-filled world.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana with deep family roots in East Texas, Valarie was ordained an elder in the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church in 2004, and has served previous appointments at White Rock, First Dallas, First Rockwall and First Commerce.
She holds a bachelor's degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas and a Master of Divinity degree from SMU Perkins School of Theology.
Valarie’s husband Rick, a graduate of Syracuse University and the University of Texas at Dallas, owns a landscape design and maintenance business.
Valarie and Rick are proud parents of Eva, a graduate of Boston University School of Theology who lives with Eva and her husband Chris in the Dallas area.
Pastor for Children and Families
Caroline is married to her wonderful husband Patrick. They met at the Wesley Foundation on the campus of Texas A&M University. They have two active young kids, Bennet and Margaret. Caroline is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and received her Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. She has a gift and calling to help all kids understand the love of God in a personal and applicable way.
Minister of Congregational Care and Evangelism
Deena Marie Hamilton has been a proud member of The United Methodist Church for 41 years.
She is a 2017 graduate of SMU Perkins School of Theology with a Master of Divinity degree.
Her goal as a pastor is to create a local church environment where discipleship takes place and people feel cared for and loved. She seeks to empower families to evangelize and disciple others. She wants to create opportunities for church members to develop relationships with people in the community through performing and visual arts and sports ministries.
From 2015-2016, Deena was appointed by the SMU Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life to serve as Chaplain of McElvaney Residential Commons. She has also served as pastor of Macedonia Charge in Lockesburg, Ark., and McCabe Chapel United Methodist Church in North Little Rock, Ark., and as student pastor at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Little Rock.
While serving as a local pastor, she also worked as a chemist and a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).
Deena is an accomplished journalist and author. She created, writes and produces The Method: Real Talk for Real People, a Christian radio talk show and podcast. She was a columnist for The Arkansas Methodist, a publication of the Arkansas Conference from 2008-2012.
She has also released her second Christian fiction novel, “Among Us Mortals,” available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Deena has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, an MBA and Masters in Health Care Management from the University of Phoenix, and an LVN diploma from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
She is also the proud mother of Dedra Marie, who just received her bachelor’s in business administration from Philander Smith College.
Pastor for the Homebound
A retired United Methodist pastor with seven appointments in 31 years of service in the North Texas Conference, George joined the staff of First United Methodist Garland in 1992 as Pastor for the Homebound.
In this role, he makes sure homebound members remain connected to the church and continue to feel like and be seen as a vital part of the congregation.
George also teaches a Sunday School class that bears his name.
Born and raised in Wichita Falls, George is a 1943 graduate of Wichita Falls High School. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) and a Masters from Scarritt College for Christian Workers in Nashville, Tenn.
George has a daughter, Jo Lynn Ellzey, granddaughters Stacy Clark and Kellie Hunter, and great grandchildren Trevor Petty, Chelsea Petty, Willow Hunter, Dylan Clark and Ian Hunter.
George and his wife Clara were married more than 61 years before she passed in June 2008.