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Servants of Mt. Olive

The Rev. Ryan T. Ray

Lead Pastor & Teen Ministry

Pastor Ryan began serving Mt. Olive in April 2017. A North Carolina native, Pastor Ryan has served four North Carolina congregations in the past 20 years, serving most of those years in the Hickory Metro area. He sensed a call to ministry while in college and has done a variety of ministry from singing bass in an A Cappella gospel group to leading a tour of reformation sites in Germany. Through it all, he's had a blast!

He is married to Kim and they enjoy working, walking, and sometimes singing together. He is the father of Liam and Nolan, both teenagers. He loves good books, hot drinks, traveling, and anything that gets him outside in God's creation.

The Rev. Judy Drysdale

Visitation Pastor

Pastor Judy has joined Mt. Olive staff as the Visitation Pastor. She has been a pastor in the ELCA for 30 years and is married to Pastor David Drysdale, Zion Lutheran Church, Hickory. Pastor Judy's son, Joshua Lewis Copeland is attending seminary to become an ELCA pastor as well.

She has served in several North Carolina churches; as Dean of the Northern Conference; has been active on several synod committees; and has served as a hospice and nursing home chaplain. She and Pastor David currently live in Mountain View with their cat, Indy, and love being in the Hickory area.

Deacon Lynne Bolick Reed

Minister of Worship & Music

Passion in Life: Spreading the Good News of Christ through music and mentoring young church musicians.

Education: Lenoir-Rhyne University, BA in Music with concentration in Sacred Music; UNC-Charlotte, Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management; UNC-Greensboro, Masters in Library & Information Studies.

Deacon Lynne grew up in Hickory, but has lived in Goldsboro, NC; Denver, CO; and Germantown, MD. She has served churches as a musician since she began playing piano for Sunday School openings when she was 12 years old. In her first career as a public librarian, she promoted her great love for books, reading, and learning. She and her husband have 4 children and 7 grandchildren. She is married to Dave, who (along with her children) is the best thing that has happened to her!

Deacon Liz Brendle Fox

Children's Ministry Coordinator

Passion in Life: To lead the church in creating a vibrant faith formation program that points to Christ and promotes an understanding that our children are the church right now.

Education: Western Carolina University, BS in History; Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Master of Arts in Religion, Concentration in Christian Education.

Deacon Liz has lived and served in ministry roles in Hickory, NC; Lincolnton, NC; Columbia, SC; and Grenora, ND. She currently lives in Lincolnton with her husband, the Rev. Dave Fox, a Lutheran pastor, her son Oliver, and their little dog Pookie. She loves Harry Potter books and movies, "The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree," and holiday movies. Her dream job after retirement is to be a coffee barista.

Jenna Waters


Jenna is a Sacred Music student at Lenoir-Rhyne University and has served as Mt. Olive organist since May 5, 2016. When she began her work at Mt. Olive, she was only 17 years old! She had studied piano with her grandmother since she was a young child, but had only had some organ lessons on and off for about 18 months when she was hired. Her talent and passion for playing the organ is obvious to all who hear her play. She has a very promising future in sacred music and Mt. Olive is so happy to help mentor her growth.

Jenna loves animals and helps her mom provide "pony parties" for children's birthdays and loves riding her own horse. She has a precious dog named Kobi. She is also an advanced black belt in karate and loves her truck! Come and hear her play "her" organ each week at worship!

Karen Abernathy

Parish Administrator

Karen was born and raised in Rutherford College, NC.  She enjoys being the youngest of three children and the only girl.  She is married to Justin Abernathy from Hildebran, NC, and they have been married for almost two decades.  They have two teen girls, Ella and Jenna.  Both are active ball players and excellent academic students. Karen is very  passionate about basketball and coaches for the Burke Jammers Lady Basketball Club.