Reverend Reed Benson

Reverend Reed BensonPastor Reed Benson grew up as the son of a Southern Baptist minister. The church has always been an important and influential part of his life. His childhood and early adult life years were spent in Cobb County, Georgia, where his father, Thomas Reed Benson Sr. served as pastor in several churches.

Reed is happily married to Patricia Morton Benson, and together have two children; Thomas and Megan. Thomas is married and has one child. Both children live in Georgia. Benson has studied at both Mercer University and at New Orleans Seminary.

Benson served on staff at First Baptist Church Stockbridge, Dogwood Hills Baptist Church, Burnt Hickory Baptist Church, and Calvary Baptist Church, all located in central Georgia. He was called to East Sylva Baptist as Senior Pastor in January 2013. Since moving to Sylva, Benson has became involved in the local community and serves as chaplain for five western counties of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
Pastor Reed Benson

sylva baptist church western north carolina


Karen Echelman

Church Services Franklin, NCKaren Moses Echelman is our church Administrative Assistant and Director of our Children and Youth.  Karen has been working at East Sylva since December 2010, but has been a member for over 50 years.   She has been serving as teacher for the Youth Sunday School class for over 10 years and helped coordinate and plan VBS in that same span.  Her passion is working with our children and youth and she does the Children’s Sermon each Sunday morning and also does a Sunday night Youth Bible Study.  Each summer she holds special “play” days for different age groups when they do crafts, play games, etc.

Echelman is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in Office Administration with a minor in Management.  Echelman worked for over 34 years in the medical office management field in Sylva prior to coming to East Sylva.  She has been married to her husband Richard for over 20 years. Echelman has one son Andy Edwards (wife Ryan) and one daughter Krista Mathis (husband Kevin).
Karen Echelman