Ben grew up in the “Heart of Dixie,” in the metro area of Birmingham, AL. A life-long Presbyterian, Ben’s family was the type who were always at the church whenever the church doors were open. It was awhile before he realized not everyone spent summers attending Vacation Bible School, church camps, and Montreat.
Ben attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC, graduating with degree in Religion/Philosophy in May of 2001. While at PC, Ben met Rachel Jernigan through the PC(USA) campus ministry group.
They started dating (after he finally remembered her name after forgetting it 6 times!) and were married in 2003, after Ben’s first year at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA and after Rachel’s first year of teaching kindergarten at Pine Ridge Elementary in Stone Mountain.
Before coming to FPCoG Ben served two churches as Associate Pastor (First Presbyterian in Concord, NC, and Southminster Presbyterian in Vestavia, Al, part of the Birmingham metro area). In both places his area of focus was Christian Education Education and Youth Ministries, which continue to be passions of his.
While in Concord, their family grew to include Lucy (the wonder dog!) and the best gift of their life yet: Nate (age 6). Nate loves soccer, karate, tacos, legos, the Auburn Tigers (like his dad) and the Carolina Panthers (also like his dad, he’s partial to Cam Newton).
Outside the church’s walls, Rachel and Ben spend most of their time keeping up with Nate, but also enjoy cooking, reading, podcasting (Ben), and yoga (Rachel). And Diet Coke. Lots of Diet Coke.
They are excited to be be part of a growing and vibrant Garner community and to be connected in faith and life to FPCoG, a dedicated, prayerful, and lively community of faith.