Meet the Staff

Pastor – Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez

Douglass Sullivan-González is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and he completed his Bachelor of Arts with Honors at Samford University and his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Sullivan-González taught Church History and Social Ethics from 1984-1986 at the Nicaraguan Baptist Seminary in Managua, Nicaragua.  He then completed his Ph.D. in Latin American History at the University of Texas at Austin.  His research and dissertation, supported by a Fulbright-Hays dissertation award, focused on the role of priests and parishioners during the formation of the Guatemalan nation, 1839-1871. Pittsburgh Press published in 1998 the revised manuscript as Piety, Power, and Politics. Religion and Nation Formation in Guatemala, 1821-1871. Sullivan-González also translated Edelberto Torres-Rivas’s Interpretación del desarrollo social centroamericano as History and Society in Central America (1993). His co-edited manuscript, with Charles Reagan Wilson, on The South and the Caribbean was published by the University of Mississippi Press in 2001. His current manuscript, The Black Christ of Esquipulas: Religion and Identity in Guatemala, will be published by University of Nebraska Press in 2015.

He and his family moved to Oxford, Mississipppi in 1993.  He was appointed associate professor of history at the University of Mississippi and interim pastor at Blackjack Presbyterian Church in Batesville, Mississippi from 2000 to 2001. He became the pastor at Independence Presbyterian Church in 2001.   Dr. Sullivan-González was appointed Interim Director of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College in July 2002 and Dean in January 2003.  He continues to serve in this capacity.

Dr. Sullivan-Gonzalez takes an active role or interest in all aspects of Independence Presbyterian Church and St. Andrews Presbytery.   He has been very active in the “Living Waters of the World” project serving as the Network Coordinator for Nicaragua for several years. He led the Church to complete three installations of purification systems in Nicaragua.

He is the husband of Maribel Sullivan-González, a native of Nicaragua, and they have two daughters, Frances and Renée. They currently reside in Oxford, Mississippi.

Secretary – Sandra Darby

Secretary
E-mail Secretary – Sandra Darby

My faith journey began at an early age, being born into the Independence Presbyterian family on December 29, 1946, to Jack and Gwen Hartzell.  Sunday school, bible school, youth meetings, Fifth Sunday youth rallies and summer camp were some of the many activities I participated in during my childhood.  In 1961 as moderator of the youth of the Presbytery of Mississippi, USA, one of the highlights of the summer was attending the Synod of the Mid-South in Maryville, Tennessee as a youth delegate.  After graduation from South Panola High School and  Northwest Mississippi Junior College, by husband, Bill Darby, and I married in July. I began a career with the Panola County Superintendent of Education Office and the South Panola School District as bookkeeper, retiring in 1995, after 30 years.  I was also employed by Drake Farm Supply, Inc., Quality Auto Parts, Darby’s Tire and Auto and Hartzell farms in a part-time capacity.  Bill and I have two children, Mari and  William. Mari and Bubba Carrero have triplets, Ian, Chase and Cole.   William and Carol Darby have three children, Tait, Harley and Avery.  Because of the leadership of my parents, I started to  in the church. Down through the years, it has been my honor to serve our Lord in many different capacities, through my local church,  presbytery and synod. In 1995-96 I served as Moderator of Presbyterian Presbytery Women.  Later I served as Mission Opportunities Chair, and I have served two terms as secretary.  I have also been a  member of the Presbytery of St. Andrew Camp and have severed on the Conference Committee and as Trustee.  I presently serve the search committee for the PW Synod of Living Waters, as a PW Enabler, as Elder, a choir member, secretary of our local PW and as Chair of the Worship Committee.

Choir Director – June McCulley

June started playing for Sunday school and singing in the adult choir at Good Hope Baptist Church at age ten.  Her dad was choir director for many years at Good Hope and her mom sang in the choir.  At age 14, she started playing for church.  After she married, she joined Independence Presbyterian Church, where her husband and his family of music lovers were members.  At Independence she has taught Sunday school, taught and led Bible school, sung in the choir for years, active in Geneva Fellowship, was youth leader with her husband, and was active in Presbyterian Women.  She played part-time for years.  Since 2003 she has been full-time.  Since the death of Nell Randolph, organist, she has been the only musician at Independence.  When the longtime choir director, Willard Williams, retired in 2010, June became choir director and pianist. Taught piano by Miss Martha Whitten and Ms. Lois Marberry, organ by Ms. Donna Traywick and voice by Ms. Juliet Hockingheimer, her whole life has been centered in church and music.  She strongly believes that the song service is critical to a meaningful worship service.  In 1986, June lost her eldest son in a vehicle accident.  On the same day, sixteen years later, her husband died quite suddenly.  Music, strong faith and prayer brought her through these life-changing losses.  She has two surviving children, a daughter-in-law, and five grandchildren.  The entire choir is hard-working and willing.  She often tells them that “as long as they are singing to the glory of God with love in their hearts and doing their best, it is beautiful music to His ears and also everyone else.

Youth – Sharon Hudson

Moderator PW – Judy Martin