Mt. Sylvan Church Staff


  • Rev. Kathie Wilkinson

    PASTOR of Congregational Care

    Kathie is an Ordained Deacon in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. She earned her bachelors degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her seminary degree from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Kathie is married to Tim, has four children and nine grandchildren. Kathie has a passion for creating and leading people in worship and caring for members during illness or other difficult situations.


    Office hours: Monday - Thursday: 10:00am - 12:30pm

  • Rev. LArry Bowden

    lead Pastor

    Larry is an Ordained Elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Originally from Alabama, he earned his Master of Divinity from the Divinity School at Duke University in 1983. Larry’s wife, Julia, is the pastor at Bethany United Methodist Church in Durham, and they have two sons. As the lead pastor at Mt. Sylvan, Larry preaches regularly on Sunday mornings, and is responsible for growing and organizing the staff and lay leadership of the church. 


    Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 9:00am - Noon

  • Jim Bock

    Business Administrator

    Jim became Mt. Sylvan's Business Administrator in May 2015. A native of Durham, Jim has lived in northern Durham County for the last 29 years. His wife, Kathy, a lifelong resident of Durham County, is an RN at Duke. They have two sons, Alex and Adam, both in their early twenties. Alex is a HVAC service technician with Brown Brothers Plumbing and Heating, recently purchasing a home in Bahama. Adam, their youngest son, is on track to become an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church alongside his wife, Hope, who is also on her way to becoming a UM elder. Jim’s family are members of Mt. Bethel UMC.


    As a Business Administration professional – by education and on the job work – Jim has years of experience at several large and small companies in the area, including Northgate Associates and Nortel Networks. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as Business Administrator at Mt. Sylvan, as he begins refocusing his efforts to more directly serve God, and look forward to working as part of the finance team, church staff and committees, and with church members.


    Office hours: Monday 1:00 - 5:00pm;  Tuesday - Thursday: 8:30am - 12:30pm

  • Margaret Malone

    Office Administrator

    Margaret Malone came on board as the office administrator in November of 2019. She is a life-long United Methodist. While at East Carolina University, she was very active in the Wesley Foundation (Methodist Campus ministry). After college, she returned to her home church, Highland UMC, where she got to know the music director at that time, Jeff Whicker, very well. She has had an interesting work life. In addition to working at Staples and for a plumbing wholesaler, she has also worked for the Loudoun County government in Virginia. She has always wanted to work in a United Methodist

    Church, and is really happy to be at Mt. Sylvan. Margaret has two sons, Caleb who is 7, and Logan who just turned 6. She loves to sing, listen to Contemporary Gospel & Christian music, and try new restaurants. She also likes to read contemporary essays, and inspirational, self-help books and really enjoys traveling. She can be reached at the office (919) 471-0032 or through email at margaret@mtsylvan.org


    Office hours: Monday - Thursday: 8:00am - 4:00p ;  Friday: 8:00am - 1:00pm

  • Elizabeth "EB" Tester

    Children's Ministry Coordinator

    Elizabeth Tester has been Mt. Sylvan UMC’s Children’s Ministry Coordinator since February 2017. She has been working with children and their families since 2003. She has been married to her husband, Josh Tester since 2007 and share their lovely home with their 2 fur babies, Jasper and Howie. Elizabeth and Josh met in Ministry serving families through an organization called Summershine where they lead games, crafts and worship events for a campground in Williamsburg KOA. They have been in Ministry together ever since.


    Elizabeth’s favorite memories have revolved around church. Before working at Mt. Sylvan, she attended Pfeiffer University studying Child Psychology and Christian Education. She taught as a 5-star Preschool teacher at a school in Asheville, NC that met at a church and has taught preschool for more than 9 years. She also served as the Children’s Ministry Director for First UMC of Asheboro. Church is where Elizabeth finds refuge and joy and she looks forward to seeing what God has in store for her as she contributes to ministry here at Mt. Sylvan.


    Office hours:  Tuesday & Wednesday: 9:00am - 3:00pm- Other times may be requested

  • JEFF WHICKER

    Director of music mINISTRIES

    Jeff came on board as our Directory of Music Ministries in March 2019. He is a lifelong North Carolina resident with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music Education from UNC-G and a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. He has 40 years’ experience as a music director for seven churches and 15 years’ experience as a high school choral conductor. Jeff was the Music Director at Highland UMC in Raleigh for 16 years. He is an accompanist, soloist, conductor and arranger. He taught chorus at Riverside High School for seven years and then went into full-time church work. Jeff still accompanies many choirs, particularly at Durham School of the Arts and Jordan High School. 


    Jeff's duties include the coordination and oversight of the music ministry of Mt. Sylvan for both the traditional and contemporary services. The Director selects music that leads both singers and the congregation to worship and ultimately grow in their faith. The Director chooses music appropriate to the service theme for weekly services, directs the choir and leads the praise team in rehearsals and worship. The selected music helps to inspire volunteers to participate in various music opportunities. The Director recruits singers and instrumentalists, helps them grow as musicians, and schedules solo singers/instrumentalists to participate in worship. The Director also provides oversight to other music groups, including but not limited to, Mt. Sylvan Ringers, music for youth and children, and Performing Arts Day Camp.