Leadership Team

Dr. Gene Wilder, Pastor

For over forty years, Gene Wilder served congregations as their pastor throughout the Southeastern United States. He and his wife Pat are now happily [semi] retired in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

Throughout his ministry, Gene has been a prolific writer. His writings are regularly published in newsletters, newspapers, and magazines. In 1990, he was honored with the Golden Pen Award from “The Macon Telegraph and News,” Macon, Georgia. In 1994, one of his sermons was published in “Best Sermons 7,” Harper Collins Publishers, and in 1998 and 1999, his op-ed pieces, written for “The Fitzgerald Herald Leader,” were awarded First Place, Serious Column in a Weekly Paper, by The Georgia Press Association.

Gene and his wife Pat have two adult children and three beautiful granddaughters. Gene’s hobbies include travel, golf, music, drama and hiking.

Chelsea Butler, Administrative Assistant

Chelsea has served as RBC’s secretary since 2010. She is a 2006 graduate of Rutledge High School. In September 2012, Chelsea graduated from the Aveda Institute and owns her own salon, Do or Dye, which is located within walking distance from the church.

The pastor openly acknowledges that the church could not run without Chelsea. When in the office, she commandeers the pastor’s desk. In addition to her secretarial duties, Chelsea coordinates all church meals (deemed by many as the most important task in the church). She also has the unenviable task of wrangling the pastor and ensuring that there are no wardrobe malfunctions before he preaches (which is far more difficult than one might imagine). She would like you to know that she is the funniest person you will meet. If there is anything going on at RBC, you can bet Chels will be in the center of it.

Chelsea is the daughter of Randy and Cathy Kerby of Rutledge, the sister of Chase and Cameron Kerby, and is married to our own Eric Butler.

Jeannie Hopper, Librarian

Jeannie serves as RBC’s librarian, a role she previously held at Rutledge High School. Thanks to the leadership of pastor Kerry Bond and the donations of many benefactors such as Doc and Carol Hill, the church has an impressive library. Jeannie has taken great lengths to make it compatible with the Dewey Decimal system.

Jeannie retired in May 2011 as the Director of Counseling at Walters State Community College. She previously worked as a counselor and then librarian at Rutledge High School.

Jeannie is a Rutledge native and a 1965 graduate of Rutledge High School. Her father, Gene Morgan, was a local pastor and principal. Jeannie completed her undergraduate degree at Carson-Newman University and performed graduate work at the University of Tennessee.

In addition to her duties as church librarian, she sings in the choir and serves on the Education Committee and Church Council. She is also a member of the church’s traveling ensemble, the Back Row Quartet. She also volunteers at the prison. Jeannie provides a caring, spiritual perspective in all affairs and is also an active voice for women, never hesitant to put the men of the church in their place. Just providing fair warning.

Jeannie has been married to Steve since June 6, 1969. She has three children and four grandchildren.

You can contact Jeannie at mjh78@hotmail.com

Bob Shurden, Pastor Emeritus

Bob was installed as pastor emeritus in 2009 after serving as interim pastor after the departure of Kerry Bond (1987-2007). He did a remarkable job and was so beloved by the church that they wished to continue the relationship in a formal capacity. He was the gentle, encouraging hand that the church needed during that time in the church’s history. He is known to the youth of the church at B-Shurd.

Bob is emeritus professor of New Testament and Greek at Carson-Newman University where he taught from 1979-2000. He also taught at Mississippi College (1972-1979) and John Brown University (1970-1972). He is a graduate of Mississippi College and Greeneville (Mississippi) High School (1953).

Bob has been married to Irene since December 21, 1958.

You can contact him e-mail: rishurden@charter.net or add him on Facebook.