Meet Our Staff

Step in to the office and you will get a glimpse at why Garner United Methodist is such a dynamic and amazing church. The staff are dedicated to helping members, constituents and the community with any need great or small.

Whether you are looking to reserve a room, check on the status of a fellow member or need a referral to a community resource, the great folks in our offices will always go above and beyond to ensure you get the help you need.

Reverend Joseph Casteel

The Reverend Joseph W. Casteel was born and raised in Cumberland, Maryland. The son of a minister, Joe was active in the church from the time he was a very young child. After graduating from Allegany High School, in pursuit of becoming an optometrist, he enrolled as a pre-med student at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia. In the second year of study, Joe realized his uncomfortable certainty with the scientific discipline required for an optometry degree. Taking some time to reevaluate, he took a job with The Prudential Insurance Company. His fast-paced success in sales moved him into management within several years. Within four years, he decided to open his own business as an independent agent.

A few years after he opened and operated his own business, he began to struggle more intensely with a call to ministry.

From his early teens, Joe sensed a call but resisted it. “I just wanted to be a faithful disciple and not be tied to the church vocationally.” After a long wrestling match with God one day at the top of Dan’s Mountain in Western Maryland, “I lost that match and came down the mountain convinced of my future path,” he reports.

Completing a Bachelor of Science in Sociology degree from Methodist University in Fayetteville, he completed his Master of Divinity Degree from Duke University. His post-graduate work has been in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Joe completed the American Association of Pastoral Counselors Training Program in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership. In February 2020, he became a certified Transitional/Intentional Interim Ministry Specialist in The United Methodist Church.

Joe is an ordained Elder in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and has served churches in Grantsville, Maryland, Wilmington, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Roxboro, Robbins, Siler City, Hampstead, Elizabeth City, and Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. He has been an active leader in the District and Conference Ministries and Missions.

He is married to the Reverend Doctor Kimberly Carlson, Lead Pastor of Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. Joe and Kim, enjoy spending time with their 4 children and grandchildren. He loves to travel, enjoys woodworking and loves excellent food. Other than God and family, his two great loves are seafood and Duke Men’s Basketball.

Ray Newlin – Director of Music

Ray grew up on a farm in Saxapahaw, NC, where he developed a love for the outdoors, nature, and music. He was involved in music as a high school student and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in music education at UNC-Greensboro. After teaching choral music in public school for several years, Ray moved into school leadership. Ray and Liz married and settled in Fuquay-Varina, where Ray remained assistant principal at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School until he retired from the school system. Ray has been involved in church music for many years, most recently as Music Director at All Saints’ UMC in Raleigh. Liz and Ray live in Fuquay-Varina where they enjoy their daughter, Megan, her husband Brett, and three grandchildren who also live in the area. Both are excited to be a part of Garner UMC.

Jane McNeil – Accompanist

Jane has served as pianist in several capacities in various churches throughout the years. She served as full-time pianist at Woodhaven Baptist Church in Apex, NC for 17 years then at Temple Baptist Church for 10 years, prior to serving at Garner United Methodist Church beginning in June of 2019. She has accompanied for other churches as needed on a substitute basis. Jane has three adult children and twin grandsons. She works full-time in the finance field and enjoys many other opportunities to share her musical talents. Jane is a volunteer with The Arc of the Triangle and accompanies the M’n’M Singers. She loves spending time with her family and enjoys any opportunity to listen to music, especially live performances.

Carol Kulwicki – Office Manager

Carol is a member of GUMC. She joined the church staff in March, 2018.  Prior to being on staff Carol was office manager for over 29 years at a non-profit in Raleigh.  She enjoys being involved in mission projects and currently is a co-chair of the GO Team at GUMC.  She attends the JOG service with her family, Brant, Heather, and 3 awesome grandsons Quinn, Holden, Fletcher Spesshardt. My photo was taken by my wonderful daughter-in-law Heather.

Rick Winders – Program Director

Rick Winders joined the GUMC staff in September of 2019.  For 15 years he served as a law enforcement officer before receiving his Call to Ministry in 2015.  Rick began his work with church youth as a volunteer at First United Methodist Church of Wilson and went on to serve as the part-time youth director at Zebulon United Methodist Church.  Recently, he served as the full-time children’s and youth director at Friendship Church in Farmville.  Rick resides in Wilson with his wife, Jana, and 2 children, Madison and Benjamin.  In his spare time, he enjoys cooking for his family and playing his Pearl drums.  Every year he looks forward to his family’s annual adventures on Ocracoke Island, their favorite place on earth!

Bill McClure – Organist

Bill McClure has been a member of GUMC since 1974. He became interim Organist in November of 1999 and staff Organist in May 2000. He graduated from Campbell College (now Campbell University) in 1972 with a BA degree in music. He is married to Jean, whose helps him in many ways. Their adult daughter, Kimberly is also a member of GUMC.

Ed Williams – Praise and Worship Leader

Ed is the lead vocalist of our Journey of Grace Band. His heart for God is apparent in his leadership of our contemporary service Journey of Grace (JOG). This service begins at 10:40AM in our Christian Life Center.

Barry Nickalson – Minister of Discipleship and Member Care

Barry is a member of GUMC, and joined the church staff in January, 2016. He is a retired law enforcement officer, and a graduate of UNC-Wilmington. The desire of his heart is to see others come to know Jesus personally as their Lord and Savior. His work provides the opportunity to interact with others with gospel intentionality and focus. Barry is married to Lisa, and they have three adult children; Sara Littlejohn, Casey Clay, and Danny. They are also beaming grandparents!

Keith Brown – Office Volunteer

Keith is a member of GUMC, and volunteers weekly in the church office. Keith graciously shares his unique gifts, as Christ shines through him, with everyone he encounters. He helps with bulletin assembly, document management, greeting members and guests, and exudes a kind and joyous spirit to all. Keith places great emphasis on the quality of his work, and is a valuable member of our team.

Richard Wall – Facilities Manager

Richard joined the staff of Garner UMC in July of 2017. He has over 20 years of experience in facility management in the manufacturing environment. Richard is very excited to bring this experience to Garner UMC. He is married to Jean and they have a son, Michael and a dog named Clarence.

Tom La Matto – Sexton

Tom has attended GUMC since 2010 and has served on staff since 2014. His background is in the restoration and refurbishing industry, which he brings to his work here at the church as well. Tom keeps the facility clean and functional, all while sharing Christ with all those he encounters. Tom is the leader of our outreach program to area homeless, HOPE Ministry. Tom is married to his wife Debbie. They have one adult child, Joe and a granddaughter, Tatianna. They also have two loving dogs, Chase and Sadie.