Our Staff

Get to know our talented and dedicated ministerial staff through the listings below. Some of them may surprise you!
Feel free to contact any minister with questions.

Laura Addis, Ministry Associate, Students

We welcome Laura as the new Ministry Associate for Students. Laura‘s many gifts in ministry and her deep love of students will be a tremendous asset for our youth ministry and our wider congregation. Laura will provide direct oversight with youth Bible study classes and will share in the leadership and teaching of ongoing youth programs.

Tate Addis, Organist

Tate Addis joined the staff of First Baptist Church as Organist in 2015. In this position, he collaborates with the Associate Pastor for Music and Worship in a comprehensive music program, teaches organ and piano in the church’s Academy for the Arts, directs the Youth Handbell Ensemble, accompanies the Asheville Youth Choir, and, until 2022, presented a monthly series of organ recitals entitled ‘Bach’s Lunch.’ He currently serves as Assistant Director and Accompanist for the Asheville Symphony Chorus and maintains an active career as an organ recitalist. 

Before coming to Asheville, Tate served for two years as Wilson Family Sacred Music Intern at New York City’s Brick Presbyterian Church. He has also served as Organist-Choirmaster at the Yale Berkeley Divinity School in New Haven and as organist at Second Presbyterian Church in Kansas City.

Tate Addis holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Wichita State University, a Master of Music degree from Yale University, and an Artist Diploma from Oberlin Conservatory. His primary teachers were James David Christie, Lynne Davis, and Thomas Murray. Additional studies were with Marie-Louise Langlais and Roman Summereder.

Tate is married to Rev. Laura Addis. They share their home in Asheville with their pet pig Virgil.

Tommy Bratton, Coordinating Pastor (In Memoriam, 1970-2023)

Tommy joined the FBCA staff in 2004. As Coordinating Pastor, he coordinates and supports the staff and church leaders as they imagine and implement the church’s future together through our collaborative ministry model. Tommy is the liaison to the Communications council and is on the advisory board of the Center for Faith & Life (CFL).

Tommy received his Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Furman University; his Master of Theological Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta; and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University. Post-graduate studies include a certification in Spiritual Direction from the Haden Institute and a certification in Labyrinth Facilitation from Veriditas.

Tommy is married to Laura Robertson Bratton. They have three sons: Ryan, Jake, and Ben.

Tommy enjoys reading, listening to podcasts and classic country songs, playing racquet sports, and watching all sports.

Leah Brown, Associate Pastor, Pastoral Care

Leah joined the FBCA staff in 2008. She coordinates and provides pastoral care for the congregation. Leah graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Asheville. She received her Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her clinical focus is aging and end-of-life care. She provides both individual and family counseling. Leah is the liaison for the Sacred Garden and the First Shine Learning Center.

Leah is a proud native of Asheville. She and William married in 1991 and joined First Baptist Church of Asheville in 1999. They have two sons, Cameron and Collin. She enjoys playing the piano, singing in the choir, reading, going to concerts, seeing movies with her family and friends, and watching Carolina basketball!

Casey Callahan, Associate Pastor, Mission and Students

Casey joined the FBCA staff in 2014. He coordinates the mission and reconciliation work of the congregation, guiding our vision and practices ever towards the city and beyond. In his ministry with students, he seeks to help students deepen their relationships with God and one another. Casey is the liaison to the Mission Council.

Casey grew up on a family farm in Travelers Rest, SC, where the best parts of life occurred outdoors. He studied the soil at Clemson University and then shifted studies to the soul at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (Virginia). Casey frequently finds points of intersection between the sacred and the mundane, and deeply enjoys exploring such intersections with ​others.

He is married to Martha Ann H. Callahan, and they have a son, Brennan, and a daughter, Zee, both of whom fill their lives with joy and wonder. Casey completed a doctoral degree program in 2017 at Louisville Seminiary (KY) focusing on the exploration of Celtic Spirituality. 

Wally Davids, Operations and Finance Manager

Bio coming soon.

Austin McIver Dennis, Senior Pastor

Mack joined the FBCA staff in 2016. In both his pastoral and scholarly work, Mack commends the ways God’s reconciling love is revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the church and world. He has a deep sense of call to pastoral ministry, bearing witness to the gospel’s transformational power, and honing the art and craft of Christian preaching and teaching.

A native of Henderson, NC, Mack was ordained to the ministry of preaching in 2003.  After five years as pastor of First Baptist Church, Mt. Gilead, NC, he studied homiletics and reconciliation at Duke Divinity School (Th.D., ’14), and taught there as adjunct professor until 2016.  He came to First Baptist Church of Asheville after serving as interim preacher at Warrenton Baptist Church in Warrenton, NC.

Mack’s interests lie at the intersections of preaching, biblical interpretation, theology, and reconciliation.  Both his preaching and scholarly work are concerned with faithful responses to division, conflict, and violence.  His dissertation explores the theology of faith leaders involved in The Greensboro Massacre and The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  He is the editor of The Luminous Word: Biblical Sermons and Homiletical Essays, an anthology of sermons and essays by Old Testament scholar, Ellen F. Davis (2016). 

He lives in Asheville with his partner, Erin, and their two children.

Emily Floyd, Associate Pastor, Music and Worship

Emily joined the FBCA staff in 2023. She leads choirs and instrumental music and serves as a liaison to the Academy for the Arts (AFTA).  It’s important to Emily that people in the Asheville community feel invited to make music with us, and she is especially passionate about awakening artistry in all singers and nurturing leadership in young singers.

Emily has served as a church musician in Presbyterian and Methodist churches in Florida, Illinois, and Georgia.  She taught high school choral music in public schools in Florida and Georgia.  She holds a music education degree (voice and piano) from Florida State University and considers herself a lifelong learner.  In addition to church work, Emily is the co-director of the Choristers Guild Institute, a three-year summer program that certifies church musicians for music ministry with children and youth.  Active in leadership roles for professional organizations, she is the president-elect for the Presbyterian Association of Musicians and serves as the Repertoire and Resources Chair for Music in Worship for the Southern Division of ACDA.  When not making music at FBCA, Emily enjoys conducting honor choirs and serving as a choral clinician for schools, church choirs, and choral festivals. She is a founding member of the Blue Ridge Consort, a professional chorus in Western North Carolina.  Choirs under her direction have performed in 18 states and internationally in places such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, and Carnegie Hall in New York.

She is married to Rev. Dr. Richard Floyd, a Presbyterian pastor (PC USA), and they have two daughters.

Amy Stertz, Associate Pastor, Christian Formation and Children

Amy joined the FBCA staff in 2015. She leads the church’s Christian formation ministry, exploring the connection between faith and everyday life through spiritual practices, Bible study, theological reflection, and cultural engagement. In her ministry with children, she works to create ways for families to deepen their relationship with God and each other while they are at church, in the community, and at home. Amy is the liaison to the Christian Formation council and the Child Development Center (CDC) committee.

Amy received a Bachelor of Social Work from Mars Hill College and a Master of Divinity from Campbell University Divinity School

Amy is married to Joe. They have a daughter, Sophia. She loves good conversation, a good laugh, a good book, a good football game, and more than anything spending time with people she loves.

Heather Swanson, Ministry Assistant, Senior and Coordinating Pastor

Heather joined our staff in Spring of 2020, after traveling south from Philadelphia just prior to the whirlwind of the pandemic. 

Her experience as a French instructor, medical interpreter, and spiritual director, makes a great fit with the variety of skills and sensitivities needed in her role, from administrative and linguistic, to spiritual and artistic. As the pandemic lifts, she looks forward to deepening her support of God’s work in this good church.

Heather loves being outdoors and discovering God’s creation through rock climbing, hiking, biking, back packing, swimming, and growing a garden. She is thrilled to make her home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and looks forward to offering hospitality as she lays down roots.