Who We Are >> Our Staff >> Dr. Rusty Douglas
Dr. Rusty Douglas has served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Greenwood since September 1998. He was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Appalachian State University. Dr. Douglas received his Doctor of Ministry Degree from Columbia Theological Seminary and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister of Word and Sacrament in August of 1980.
He has served congregations in Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Just prior to coming to Greenwood, he served as Minister of Evangelism and Discipleship at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, the largest Presbyterian church in the United States.
Dr. Douglas has been active in the community, serving two terms as president of the local chapter of Fuller Center for Housing, and as president of the Greenwood Rotary Club. He is an avid golfer and has been grateful to play golf on some wonderful golf courses like St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Dornach, Augusta National, and his favorite course, Shoal Creek. He enjoys watching reruns of the Andy Griffith Show and following the University of North Carolina basketball team. In 2011 he served as Moderator of St. Andrew Presbytery.
Dr. Douglas has been married to Betty for 40 years. She comes from a family of Presbyterian ministers. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Agnes Scott College where she majored in German. She and Rusty have two children, by the grace of adoption, Katharine and Philip. Betty recently retired from teaching math to junior high students at Pillow Academy.
Katharine graduated in December 2011 from Delta State University’s School of Nursing, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. She loves the E.R. Katharine married Craig Taylor in October 2013 and they live in Cleveland, Mississippi. In the summer of 2010, First Presbyterian Church sent Katharine on a two month medical mission trip to Nakuru, Kenya where she worked in a clinic which was part of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. Katharine and Craig have two little girls born sixteen months apart, Ginny and Brett.
Philip was a STAR Student and Eagle Scout, and a National Merit Finalist in high school. Philip graduated in 2014 from Mississippi State University with a major in aerospace engineering. Philip has completed his masters degree in aerospace engineering and has taken a position with a firm which has him working on Eglin Air Force Base in Florida with F-16 fighter jets. He was married to Marcie Walker, a civil engineer, on New Year's Eve 2016 in Montreat, NC.
Work at First Presbyterian
During Dr. Douglas’ tenure at First Presbyterian Church, over 400 persons (including confirmands) have joined the congregation, pledges have grown from $310,000 to $885,000 annually, and 10-year total income equals $12.2 million.
The church has expanded its work with Fuller Center for Housing, and has been instrumental in developing and funding the Community Kitchen, an ecumenical ministry feeding an average of 125 persons a day. A $1 million renovation of the Education Building has been completed. Another $1 million project has been completed which involved purchasing property, adding handicapped accessibility, and renovating the Church Parlor on the sanctuary side of the street. Forty-nine persons participated in a week long mission project in Belize in 2003.
In 2008 and 2013, Rusty and Betty led educational sightseeing groups from First Presbyterian Church to Great Britain, centering these trips in Cambridge, England, York, England, and St. Andrews, Scotland. Betty and he spent five weeks of his sabbatical in the summer of 2017 living in Anstruther, Scotland near St. Andrews studying the decline of the Church of Scotland over the last sixty years and comparing with the decline of the PCUSA over that same period. Rusty and Betty led a group from the church on a trip to Israel in February 2019.