Our Staff

Jordan Byrd - Senior minister

Jordan graduated with a BA in religion from Texas Christian University.  He then moved to Lexington, Kentucky to attend Lexington Theological Seminary. He graduated with his Master's of Divinity and received the New Testament Scholar award. Jordan started his ministry by leading youth, and was a youth minister for nearly 10 years before he moved to First Christian Church in Palestine as the senior minister.

Jocile Grammer - Choir director/organist

For as long as I can remember, music has been a part of my life. When the family gathered, we gathered around the piano to sing. At age thirteen, I was allowed to join the adult choir at the Baptist church where my parents were members. I sang and substituted for the pianist and organist until I started playing the piano for the church around the age of sixteen. Around 1968, I switched from the piano to the organ. In 1969, my family moved to East Texas where my plans were to begin singing in the choir again. I didn’t realize that God had other plans. My family joined the Baptist church where I learned that the pianist had graduated and moved off. The church was in need of a piano player. Yes, I took the job. In 1971, I married and moved my membership to the Methodist church where my new family went. Here again, I planned to start singing in the choir. But, God had other plans. The church needed a piano player, and I filled the need. In 1982, my family moved to Palestine and we attended the Methodist church in Elkhart. Here, I returned to singing in the choir. In 1999, I received a call from the Pastor of the First Christian Church of Palestine. The church needed an organist and my name had been given to him. I took the job. In 2010, the opportunity to be choir director was presented to me. God honored me by allowing me to be organist and choir director. In January, 2012, we began a Bell Choir. God has not only blessed me by giving me a talent to use and enjoy, but has given me the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of Christians.

Loretta Tolar -Pianist 

Ever since I began taking piano lessons in second grade, music has played an important part in my life. As a teenager, I became the pianist for the church my family attended. Since that time, I have been involved in some way in the music of the church that I was attending at the time. After I became a member at First Christian Church, Claire McCreary recruited me to the choir. (Thank you, Claire!) I then began filling in as the organist from time to time until I became the pianist for the choir. God has richly blessed me by allowing me to serve Him with such wonderful people here at First Christian Church.

Vicki Reynolds - Secretary 

She produces and distributes all church publications, (Bulletin, Newsletter, Directory, etc.) maintains the church calendar, answers phones, and  assists the Pastor and the Church Board when needed.   

Anissa Commander- Custodian

Anissa has lived and worked in Anderson County since 1999, after marrying her high school sweetheart Dustan. They have two children, Tyler and Kiera, who are actively involved in Westwood ISD and local sporting events. Anissa is a full-time Parole Officer with the State of Texas, having 24 years of experience with TDCJ. She earned her Bachelor's Degree from UT Tyler in 2003.

First Christian Voices
Gary Williams

Gary Williams

Attending worship service on Sunday morning gets my week started out great and with a purpose. I take great joy in service to the members of my church being a deacon. It is an honor to partake of the Lord's Supper.The format of the worship service is similar to the way it was when I was a boy growing up in this church. My parents were faithful members here and I can touch their memories each Sunday. Sometime certain hymns bring back wonderful memories of my parents, Red & Jeane Williams. I also enjoy and take comfort from fellowship with my church family and friends. We are so fortunate to have Rev. Jordan Byrd. He brings insight and clarity to the scriptures in a unique way. I always gain knowledge from his messages and also practicable ways to apply God's Word into everyday life experiences.