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.




Minister to Children

Hickory Flat Church is currently in transition between Children's Ministers. We have a great interim leader and an amazing ministry team.
Please visit our Children's Ministry web page for details about all the ways that we love, serve, and share Jesus with children!

Nick Yother - Minister to Youth

Nick is a born and raised Georgia boy who has been in youth ministry for 12 years.  He is the youngest of two children and is thankful for his family's support to pursue his calling. Nick has always been a fan of sports and his favorite teams include the Atlanta Braves, Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Falcons, and Atlanta Hawks. One of the reasons Nick has always loved sports is because he has always loved being a part of a team and watching everyone use their gifts for the greater good of the team. This is the same passion that drives Nick's ministry as he wants to help people understand that a successful team beats with one heart.  With Christ as the heartbeat, we were all created to be on this team and use our gifts to further His kingdom. Nick's favorite bible verse is Romans 8:31, "If God is for us, then who can be against us."

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.

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.


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.

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.



Elwynne Rotaru - Office Administrator

Elwynne brings a wealth of experience from her employment at McKinsey & Company, as Executive Director of The Atlanta Ballet, and for twenty years as Co-Founder and Manager of Ballet Rotaru, an internationally renowned professional ballet company and school.  She recently served at Birmingham UMC in Milton for six years.
She has a B.A. degree from Adelphi University in New York and attended the University of California at Berkeley in the M.A. program in Comparative Literature.  An Atlanta native, she was raised in Atlanta and Germany.  Since 1996 she has resided in Alpharetta with her husband, Pavel Rotaru, former Principal Dancer with the National Ballets of Romania and Croatia, and their son, Philip.
Elwynne’s major passion has always been writing, focusing in recent years on screenplays.  Cooking is also a most special interest of hers.