Benjamin E. E. Kane became Pastor/Head of Staff at Second Presbyterian Church in September 2023. As Pastor, Ben works with the members and staff of Second to cast a God-sized vision of what God is doing and creating at Second. His ministry focuses on crafting worship and sermons that aim to reveal the good news that the Triune God’s grace is for everyone while also leading an amazing staff of Associate Pastors, Directors, and Administrators who help implement that vision throughout the church’s ministries.
Prior to his call to Second, Ben served as the Pastor of Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church in Tarboro, NC (often called “the crossroads of Western Civilization”) for nine years and as Associate Pastor for Youth, Young Adults, and Mission at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. Ben received his undergraduate degree from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, his Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and his Doctorate of Ministry from Columbia Theological Seminary.
Ben is married to Lydia Wingo Kane, an Arkansas native, and they have two daughters, Margot and Phoebe who keep them busy with dance classes, searching for the best ice cream, and enjoying all that Arkansas has to offer. You will often find Ben with his nose in a book (biographies and memoirs are his favorites), cheering on Duke basketball, running (slowly), or searching for the closest bookstore.
Born and raised in South Alabama, Alisa grew up in the church. She discovered a sense of Christian vocation early in life, sharing her gifts and talents in ministry as an active congregation member. After earning an undergrad in Computer Science, she was a technology entrepreneur and consultant, continuing to pour energy into ministry as a volunteer. After years of non-credit seminary courses, she heard God’s call to vocational ministry. She wanted to nurture persons to live fully into the persons God created them to be. She began a community ministry, working with families touched by disability. She joined the staff of Westlake Hills Presbyterian in Austin in 2004. In 2008, she earned a Master of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She served as chaplain in Austin hospitals and pastoral intern with University Presbyterian in Austin. She later trained as a coach with Auburn Seminary. She served as solo pastor for a Colorado church and associate pastor for a Chicago-suburban church before moving to Little Rock to join the pastoral staff of Second Presbyterian. Alisa is married to Larry Secrest, a native of Fort Smith, and has three young adult sons: Will, Ellis, and Bennett.
Lindy has been Associate Pastor for Belonging and Outreach since 2013. Born and raised in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Lindy has an appreciation for good food, warm hospitality, and the music of Dolly Parton. Lindy attended Presbyterian College in South Carolina and Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA. Before joining the staff at Second Pres, Lindy worked in the Office of Religious Life at Presbyterian College and as Interim Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Little Rock.
In her role as Associate Pastor, Lindy works with our church’s outreach and social justice ministries, the belonging ministry and she enjoys helping people become more involved in both church life and community service.
Lindy is married to Dr. Robert (Bobby) Williamson, who teaches at Hendrix College, and they have two young children. She loves walking trails, rocking chairs, and visiting national parks and historic sites.
Dr. Bevan Keating is our Director of Music and oversees all aspects of Second’s dynamic Music Ministry. Dr. Keating conducts the Second Presbyterian Adult Choir, SPC Chamber Ensemble, Youth Choir and various instrumental ensembles. Our Music Ministry offers music to our congregation ranging from beloved hymns and spirituals to engaging choral masterworks such as Mozart’s Requiem Mass. Members of all our ensembles have the opportunity to tour internationally. Recent tours include the British Isles, Canada, Germany, France and Hungary.
Dr. Keating is also the founding director of Praeclara, a professional performance company supported by Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock and building on Second Presbyterian’s long tradition of contributions to the arts. Praeclara unifies Second Presbyterian’s diverse range of offerings under a single umbrella and elevates them still further, strengthening our artistic ties with the community.
Originally from Canada, he earned bachelor of education and bachelor of music degrees from the University of Western Ontario. He went on to earn a master’s degree and then a doctorate in Conducting from The Ohio State University. Dr. Keating is also the Executive Director of Wildwood Park for the Arts in west Little Rock. He and his wife Kira Keating, who is the Music Director at St. James Methodist Church, Little Rock, have two children, twins Brock and Blythe Keating, and live in west Little Rock.
Fondly known as “Miss Mary” by children and adults alike, Mary has served as Associate Director of Music since August of 2001. She directs the Children’s choirs and oversees the children’s bell program, directs the 6-12th grade youth bell choir, the Day Ringers, and the advanced adult ringing ensemble, Exultation Ringers. In the summer she leads a choir camp, (M.A.D) for children grades 1-5, instrument camps, (Orff) for children grades PreK-5, and directs the Summer Ringers handbell choir. Miss Mary also leads music in Sunday Church School for preschool age-5th grade and the music for the summer Vacation Bible School program.
Mary’s education includes a B.M.E., Bachelor of Music Education, from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas. There, she specialized in music for K-8. She has also attended multiple clinics on the Orff process, Kodaly, and studies offered through Chorister’s Guild and P.A.M. (Presbyterian Association of Musicians) music conferences. Mary is the host for the Central Arkansas Orff Chapter, and hosts events for the Arkansas chapter of the AGEHR Handbell Musicians of America. She is a faithful conferee at the Worship and Music Conference in Montreat, NC each summer. She is also honored to be serving on the faculty at the Mo-Ranch/PAM Worship and Music Conference this summer as the children’s choir clinician.
Mary enjoys reading, cooking, and painting. Mary and her husband, Ismail, enjoy playing with their sons, Dawson and Eren.
Adam Savacool studied organ with Russell Hodges at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. As a student, he was the first prize recipient in the organ division of the Biennial Student/Collegiate Auditions of the National Federation of Music Clubs. A church musician for over 30 years, Adam currently serves as the organist of Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. Recently he has accompanied the church’s Adult Choir on tours of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Canada. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteer work for the Central Arkansas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and Wildwood Park for the Arts. Adam joined the staff in August 2008.
The Reverend Marie Mainard O’Connell was born in Springdale, Arkansas and raised in Carrollton, Texas. After meeting her future husband, James O’Connell, in a high school theatre production, she graduated and returned to Arkansas as a student at Hendrix College. She later received a Master’s Degree in College Administration from the University of Central Arkansas. After serving as Program Coordinator for the Office of Student Engagement at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, Marie answered the call to ministry and attended New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She graduated with a senior project in Human Trafficking, and highest honors in preaching and academics. While in seminary, she completed an internship as a hospital chaplain.
After seminary, Marie and James returned to central Arkansas, where she has served throughout the Presbytery of Arkansas on the Future of the Church Committee and the moderator of the Committee on Representation, as well as Interim Director for Youth at Westover Hills Presbyterian Church, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Little Rock, Site Coordinator for the Little Rock Young Adult Volunteer program of the PC(USA), Transitional Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care at Second Presbyterian Church, and Pastor of Park Hill Presbyterian Church in North Little Rock. She is thrilled to return to Second Presbyterian as Interim Director of Adult Education and offering her skills wherever they are of service. In her spare time Marie enjoys reading, writing, walks outdoors, volunteering and spending time with her family: three kids, three cats, three chickens.
Elizabeth Cahoon is our new Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. She comes from Annapolis, Maryland with her husband, Joel, and their three pets. For the past five years, she has served the congregation of Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church as their Youth Director, faithfully and enthusiastically. She is eager to jump on board with the teaching team at Second Pres to serve these young and impressionable minds.
Other passions of hers within the world of Youth Ministry include advocacy for teen mental health and suicide prevention. She has worked with psychologists, doctors and school counselors to raise awareness and magnify the voice of our teens. In her ministry, the church plays a unique role in the life of teens within our community, which most importantly is that of a safe harbor. She is also passionate about creating space for teens and young adults to be involved and engaged in local and international mission work.
Outside of the church you can find her in her craft room tailoring handmade outfits for children. The Arts have always been a place of tranquility and peace in her life, even from a young age. She loves all textile arts, but also painting. As a family, she and Joel enjoy spending quality time together exploring new places, trying new restaurants and watching historical dramas on Netflix; their current show is The Crown. Both Elizabeth and Joel have very supportive families: her family is based out of Richmond, Virginia, while Joel’s is mostly in the metro DC area.
Maggie has joined the staff as the Interim Director of Children and Family Ministries and will be staff support for the WACKY program on Wednesday nights. In the summer of 2022, Maggie was the Second Presbyterian Church Youth Director.
Maggie teaches 7th and 8th Grade English at eStem Downtown Junior High School. She is in her 10th year in the classroom, and in the past few years, has really enjoyed planning ways to make sure technology is a beneficial piece of her classroom community. Outside of the classroom, Maggie enjoys walking and hiking, hanging with her sweet doodle, Bartlet, reading lots of YA novels and maintaining a streak of wins on Wordle.
Aileen became a member of Second Presbyterian in 1983 and joined our staff in January 2013. She has been active at Second Presbyterian as an ordained elder and deacon, assistant clerk of the Session, moderator of the Stewardship, Outreach and Worship ministries, moderator of the Nominating and Music Director Search Committees, and volleyball participant. Aileen previously worked as an Accounts Receivable Manager at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Accounting Manager at Nuvell Financial Services and Regions Corporation, and auditor with Ernst & Young.
Aileen is a graduate of Duke University (MBA) and Centre College of Kentucky (BS). In 2018, Aileen earned the designation as a Certified Church Administrator (CCA) through Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA and The Church Network. She is the daughter of Park and Betty Jean Moore. Her extended Little Rock family include sister Janie Rash, niece Lucy Vitela and nephew Michael Vitela.
Malinda has been a member of Second Presbyterian for over 40 years. She began her work in this newly-created position in November, 2007. She is a board member of the Arkansas Charitable Gift Council and a member of the PCUSA Larger Presbyterian Church Stewardship Group. She enjoys working with church members to plan a gift to continue the ministries of the Church after their lifetimes. In her years at Second Church, she is an ordained deacon, has served on two search committees, held leadership roles on the youth network team, has been a confirmation mentor for four confirmands, and worked on stewardship teams. She is a member of Presbyterian Women and Bible study groups at the church.
Malinda is married to Larry, an architect, and they are the proud parents to two adult sons. Malinda earned a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Arkansas, College of Business Administration. Prior to joining the church staff, she worked at Wright, Lindsey & Jennings, Attorneys at Law as a paralegal in securities law. She enjoys swimming, yoga and biking for fitness and playing bridge, cooking, and traveling for fun. She is also a dog lover.
Tracy has attended Second for many years. She has been involved through the years in the FAME program, Spy Kids, VBS, and was a Sunday School teacher. Tracy is a member of PCUSA Administrative Personnel Association. She joined our church staff in 2012. Prior to that she was the Administrative Assistant at Grace Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. Tracy has two children, Gracie May who is attending the U of A in Fayetteville and Cassie and husband Hunter Fatheree and grandson Rivers and Easton who live in Texas. Tracy is also grandmother to Bella Grace May. She is support staff resource for the Belonging, Outreach, and Adult Education Ministries, Personnel, Session and Diaconate and membership records.
Sharon joined the staff in 2005, and is administrative support for Pastoral Care, Fellowship, Youth, Young Adults, and Families with Young Children Ministries. She’s taught Sunday School on children and youth levels, including confirmation. Sharon served as a youth advisor, has been on mission trips, and served as a confirmation mentor. As an ordained deacon, Sharon served on Youth Ministry and the Belonging Ministry. Sharon’s family includes her son and daughter, Justin Tippit and Marigayden Tippit Buie and son-in-law, Adam Buie. Sharon enjoys playing with her dog Bo, is a sports fan, enjoys gardening, exercise, and spending time with family.
Karin joined our staff as Child Care Coordinator in April of 2012. In November of 2014 she became an Administrative Associate. Karin is support staff for Contributions, Property Ministry and Environmental Stewardship. Before that, Karin was in banking for 12 years. She is married to Guy Howze and they have 6 children and several grandchildren. Karin brings a friendly, outgoing personality and top-notch organizational skills to the position of Administrative Associate and Childcare Coordinator and looks forward to working with all of the members and parents of Second Presbyterian Church.
Carrie joined the SPC staff in September, 2019. Carrie, her husband, Michael, and their three children have been members of Second Presbyterian Church since June 2000.
As an ordained elder, Carrie has served on the Session, Children’s Ministry and Belonging Ministry. She has taught Sunday school at every level, including Confirmation. Carrie’s background is in Teaching English as Second Language education where she has worked as both an instructor and administrator.
Carrie’s husband, Michael, is a Senior Sales Representative for IBM. Maggie, the oldest of the Johnson “kids,” is a student at Columbia Theological Seminary. Nora is a graduate from The University of Arkansas and currently lives and works in the North Dallas area. Cade attends The University of Georgia in Athens. Carrie enjoys all kinds of music; she has played in the Second Presbyterian Flute Ensemble and has rung bells in several ensembles at Second. She enjoys cooking, traveling and spending as much time with her grown up children as she can.
David has served on staff since August 1, 1994. In June 2011, he was named as Facilities Manager with oversight of buildings, grounds and church vehicles. David and his wife, Kristen, have two adult children, Grant (Casey) and Elizabeth (Justin). The joy of his life is spending time with his three grandchildren. David enjoys camping and kayaking with his family and hunting during the fall.
Guy Howze joined our staff in the Spring of 1997. He is married to Karin Howze and they have 6 children and several grandchildren. Guy enjoys serving the members and staff of Second Presbyterian. On his free time, Guy is an avid deer hunter and loves being outdoors.
Brenda became a member of Second Presbyterian Church in February 1976 and joined the staff in December 2019. She has catered special events, dinner parties and business functions in Little Rock and beyond for almost 20 years. In addition, she served on the Junior League Riverfest Committee responsible for food vendors and services from 1993-2015. Brenda’s father is Gerald Johnson and she has two daughters, a granddaughter and a grandson.
Paige has been a member of Second Church since 1994. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of two daughters, Mary Carol and Meredith. Mary Carol Angel married Adam Angel in April 2022. They live in St. Louis where she is a CPA and he is in his residency. Meredith recently graduated from UA Little Rock and will be teaching in Little Rock public schools. Paige is originally from Ruston, Louisiana, and graduated from Louisiana Tech University. Before becoming the Preschool Director in August, 2002, she was a teacher there for seven years. She is an Elder, is involved with handbells, teaches Sunday School and serves on the Children’s Ministry.