Jenny Thagard - Executive Director
Jenny became the Executive Director of Living River on September 1, 2018. Jenny has a strong background in Education, in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and several years of experience with summer camp at Living River. She was most recently the Director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church, Tuscaloosa and a Certified Christian Educator within the PC(USA). Jenny retired after 26 years in public education serving as a teacher of gifted students, Assistant Principal, and Principal in Tuscaloosa City, Shelby County, and Tuscaloosa County School Systems. She also worked in teacher education and administration at The University of Alabama. In her tenure she worked with all ages preschool through college.
Greg Byrd- Weekend Retreat Host
Rev. Rachel VanKirk Mathews- Assistant Director of Development
Rachel grew up in Athens, AL. Following in the family tradition, she majored in Electrical Engineering at The University of Alabama while her college sweetheart, Wesley, studied engineering at Auburn University. Rachel and Wesley moved to Georgia where she earned her Masters in Divinity in 2018 from Columbia Theological Seminary. After graduating from seminary, Rachel worked as a farming apprentice on a vegetable farm. Rachel's first call was to serve as an Associate Pastor in Lexington, KY for three years . She and her husband had their first child, Benjamin, in March of 2020 and are expecting their second baby this June. They recently moved to Birmingham where Rachel began work as the Assistant Director for Development at Living River. Their family enjoys being outside as much as possible and exploring the places they live.