Mt. Sylvan Church Staff

and Ministry Leaders

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Libba Mcclusky

    Youth ministry Coordinator

    Libba McClusky came on staff as Mt. Sylvan’s Youth Coordinator in May of 2020.  She has a BA in Global Studies from UNC-CH and an M.Div. in International Church Planting from SEBTS.  Libba has traveled widely and done a variety of ministry jobs, from working with international students on American college campuses to running a refugee center in Greece.  She likes to say that no matter where she is, or what she is doing, she really only has one job: helping people understand God’s kindness and compassion. 


    She loves mentoring and is passionate about Biblical literacy.  Libba hopes to equip the youth of Mt. Sylvan with the tools they need to seek out answers to their faith questions, while instilling in them a deep, foundational knowledge that they are loved, just as they are.


    Libba lives in Durham with her husband, Caleb.  They met and dated while they were both working in Kuwait, and then returned to the US to get married in 2019.  They love traveling, hiking, and cooking – especially when they’re hosting their friends. 


    Libba will establish office hours after the church re-opens, but she is unavailable on Wednesdays.  In the meantime, you can reach her remotely by email at


    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 of 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 the 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. He selects music that leads both singers and the congregation to worship and ultimately grow in their faith. He 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. 

    Jeff recruits singers and instrumentalists, helps them grow as musicians, and schedules solo singers/instrumentalists to participate in worship. He 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. 

    Office hours:  Tuesday -Thursday: 9:00am - 11:00am- Other times may be requested

  • 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.

  • Matt stutts

    Information Technology Systems and support

    Matt Stutts officially joined the Mt. Sylvan Staff in October 2020 after spending several months as a volunteer for the church handling Information Technology needs, including the recent migration to the new VoIP phone system, church website, and assisting with the recording of the online services.

    He has been in the IT field since 1990, in sales, and technical support, as well as managing the IT Service Desk at a CRO in Chapel Hill, NC, and then contracting through his LLC, overseeing computer and software migration projects up and down the East Coast, and Midwest.

    He has a passion for leading people into God's presence through Praise and Worship for more than 30 years, and feels this is his primary calling, with IT being his "tent making".  

    He and his husband, John Marsh, have been a part of the Mt. Sylvan family since 2008, participating in the Praise Band, and other musical activities.  

    He has two adult children, Jonathan (Tori), and Rachel (Tyler), and three grandchildren.