New pastor at Fort Oglethorpe First Presbyterian Church
Nearly two years ago, Fort Oglethorpe First Presbyterian Church lost its pastor to the United States Navy. Doyle Allen, who had served as the church’s pastor for seven years, wanted to fulfill his dream of becoming a Navy chaplain before he reached the age of 40, when it would no longer be an option.
Thus began the search for a new pastor. The church received applications, video footage of sermons and interviewed some candidates in person. After much searching and soul-searching, they finally found the right person — Rev. Ryan Biese.
Biese’s first plan for his life was not pastor but history teacher. One evening he was preparing a lesson for students for a practice class he had to do. “I was up late working on the lesson,” says Biese, “and I realized I just wasn’t interested in ‘the student will be able to.’”
What did captivate Biese was an Old Testament course he was taking. “I loved the books of Judges and Ruth where God was preparing his people for the coming of the Messiah.”
So Biese’s future took a turn. With a bachelor’s degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania he headed to Mississippi where he earned a Master’s of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson.
Biese settled in Mississippi for a while. He spent four years interning at a church in Jackson then pastored First Presbyterian Church in Winona for five years. He met Ann, the girl of his dreams, and got married, and he started teaching as an adjunct instructor in Bible and Worldview at Belhaven University.
When Biese and his wife decided it was time for the next step in their lives, the Chattanooga area appealed to them. “It’s closer to family for us,” says Biese, “and we honeymooned in Chattanooga.”
Biese still loves history, especially American history and English history from the Oliver Cromwell era. His wife was a music major at Belhaven and plays the flute and the clarinet.
“Our kids are only 4 and 1,” he says, “so they’re still a little young to have serious interests. Our daughter loves mermaids, princesses and Paw Patrol.”
“My vision for the church,” says Biese, “is to grow in holiness and in the image of God. God gave us no picture of Christ or Heaven. Instead, he meant for the church to be the image that portrays Christ, a small picture of what Heaven will be like — people loving one another, sharing with one another and serving one another. My goal is for the church to more and more resemble Heaven and less and less resemble society here on earth.
“We want to reach out to the community and the world with the truth and call the sinner to embrace God’s redemption.”
Tiger Creek Elementary School dedicated its new Ben Carson reading room, funded by the Holland Family Foundation, on Oct. 22. From left: Catoosa Schools superintendent’s administrative assistant Peggy Snyder, Tiger Creek media specialist Holly Caputi, Lynn Holland, Catoosa Chamber of Commerce President Martha Eaker, Brice Holland, Candy Carson, Catoosa School Board member Gloria Hunt, Catoosa Commissioner Ray Johnson, Tiger Creek Principal David Beard.
Rev. Ryan Biese (pronounced Bee-zee) is the new pastor at Fort Oglethorpe Presbyterian Church.