Our Staff


Email: Matt Nelson

Matt Nelson - Senior Pastor

Matt’s ministry mantra is “Connect, Grow, Serve.” More broadly expressed, his passion is to help people connect with God and one another, grow in their faith, and serve the world.  As an incarnational minister and coach, Matt seeks to develop and grow Disciples of Jesus who change the World.
Matt’s recent appointment was to Peachtree Road United Methodist Church as Associate Minister, where he sat on the Church Executive Team, provided oversight for the church’s missions and children/youth ministry staff, coordinated weekly worship logistics, and headed up the men’s ministry. 
Matt grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and graduated from Georgia Southern University (BS, Construction Management).  After college, Matt began worshipping at a United Methodist Church and was drawn to the church’s doctrine, theology, and practice.  From there he felt a call to ordained ministry.  While attending Duke Divinity School, Matt served as a youth minister (Davis Street UMC, Burlington, NC) and later as a student pastor (City Road UMC, Henderson, NC). 
Since graduating from Duke Divinity (M.Div), Matt has served Aldersgate UMC (Associate, Augusta, 2004-2006), Asbury UMC (Pastor in Charge, Augusta, 2006-2010), Inman Park UMC (Pastor in Charge, Atlanta, 2010-2015), and Peachtree Road UMC (Associate, Atlanta, 2015-2017).  His current conference responsibilities include Atlanta Roswell District Committee of Ministry, Coach for the North Georgia “Next Faithful Steps Initiative,” Georgia Pastors School Board Treasurer, and leader for Provisional Ministers through the three year residency to ordination.
Matt and his wife, Anne, have two children, Caleb (12) and Sarah (10).  Matt’s hobbies include watching University of Georgia football, Duke basketball, playing golf (as often as possible) and being involved in the community.


Patricia Collier - Minister to Children

Patricia began attending Hickory Flat Church in 2004 and became involved in children's ministry as a volunteer. After many years of outstanding volunteer leadership, Patricia joined the staff in 2011. Caring for children and their families, equipping volunteers, and making ministry memorable are gifts that Patricia brings to children's ministry. She holds as a BA in Accounting from Mississippi State University. Patricia enjoys spending time outdoors with her four children, Hannah, Haley, Griffin, and Grace.



Email: Craig Sherer

Craig Sherer - Minister to Youth

Craig is one of eight children born into a wonderful family. His father was career military and as a child he moved around a lot, but most of his formative years were spent in the Columbus/Talbotton area of West Central Georgia. Craig grew up and was confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church. He attended Southern Tech and received a Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology in 1987. He and his wife, Brenda, have one daughter, Brittany, and two grandchildren. The Sherers have lived in Cherokee County for many years and have attended Hickory Flat UMC since 1992. It was at HFUMC that Craig accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior and matured spiritually. Craig served as a volunteer in several different roles in the church before leaving engineering in 2000 to become the Youth Pastor. Craig truly enjoys guiding people of all ages and backgrounds as they grow in their understanding of and faith in God's Word.

Craig's greatest joy in his work: ''I want to be used up by God helping all those I encounter to experience the love and freedom that comes from having an intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.''


Melanie Williams - Worship Arts

Melanie is a native Atlantan. She graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in Music Education and from Lee University with a Master of Church Music degree. Melanie taught music for elementary and middle school students in Cobb County for 14 years. In those 14 years she led many performance groups in formal concerts as well as dramas and musicals.

She is the Minister of Worship Arts at Hickory Flat United Methodist Church where she leads and directs the ‘all for ONE' Worship Team, the Adult Choir, and handbells. In her ministry, she is responsible for designing the services every week as well as any musical and artistic pieces that go into the services.

Melanie accepted Jesus as her Savior when she was six years old. Through years of great Bible teaching and growth in the Lord, she has Jesus in the center of her life now and forever.

She and her husband Kenny live in Canton. They have three children and six grandchildren.



Email: Brenda Sherer

Brenda Sherer - Director of Outreach and Missions

Brenda is married to Craig, is the mother of Brittany, and grammy to Eilam and Elizabeth. Brenda serves as the Director of Outreach and Missions which encompasses Hickory Flat Cares, the church ministry to our neighbors in Cherokee County, as well as regional, national, and international missions. Brenda has been part of the faith community at Hickory Flat and a resident of Cherokee County for many years. She has a degree in Education from the University of West Georgia, with professional experience in education, church ministry, and the nonprofit sector. Brenda previously served at Hickory Flat as the Minister to Children.

Brenda was called into missions and ministry several years ago and is blessed and honored to serve the Lord as He directs.



Email: Connie Klements

Connie Klements - Nursery Coordinator

Connie is married to Scott and they have two daughters, Margaret and Lydia. Connie and her family have worshipped and served at Hickory Flat UMC since 2003. Connie began her service as Nursery Coordinator as a volunteer. After months of outstanding volunteer service, she was invited to join our staff in 2006. Connie holds a graduate degree from Georgia State University in Community Counseling and thoroughly enjoys working with children and families.




Email: Fran Sutherland

Fran Sutherland - Preschool Director

Fran and her husband Gary are members of the Hickory Flat Church family. She and Gary have three adult children and five grandchildren.

Fran joined the Preschool and Kindergarten as a teacher in 2008 and the Director of the school in 2009. She has a huge heart for children, a strong love and faith in the Lord, and a background in leadership, ministry, education, and administration.



 Email: Shena Wilmarth

Shena Wilmarth - Finance Administrator

Shena Wilmarth was born in Pickens County and currently resides in Ball Ground, Georgia. Shena is married to Eric Wilmarth and they are the parents to Erica, Makayla and Jared. She accepted the Lord at the age of 9 and she and her family enjoy giving back in the community. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting. She has professional experience  as a governmental, church, business auditor and tax return preparer. She likes to travel, cook and attend her children's sporting activities.



Email: Elwynne Rotaru



Elwynne Rotaru - Office Administrator