Rev. Ashley Drake Mertz

Pastor & Head of Staff


MEET PASTOR ASHLEY: Originally from Kentucky, Pastor Ashley earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Trinity University in San Antonio, with minors in Communications Management and Religion.  Her divinity education was at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, where she earned a Masters in Divinity and a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Pastor Ashley was ordained in the PC(USA) in March 2014 at Evergreen Presbyterian Church, Dothan, Alabama where she served as Associate Pastor for Children, Youth, and Young Adults. Before seminary she served as a Young Adult Volunteer in Ghana, West Africa. She served as the 2018-2019 Moderator of the Presbytery of South Alabama and currently serves on the Committee on Ministry in Grace Presbytery. 

Pastor Ashley began her call to Grace First Presbyterian Church on April 1, 2019. She and her husband Lance enjoy travel, building relationships with people, and their dog Blue.

Rev. David Slyter

Associate Pastor of Youth & Family Ministries


MEET PASTOR DAVID: Originally from Kansas City, MO, Pastor David received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Washburn University in Topeka, KS, and his Masters in Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 2004. 


Pastor David was ordained in the PC(USA) in November 2004 at Wimberley Presbyterian Church in Wimberley, TX where he served as the Associate Pastor of Youth and Family Ministry. Before seminary he served as youth director at First Presbyterian Church of Tyler and Bellaire Presbyterian Church in Houston. Pastor David has served on the Grace Presbytery Youth Ministry Committee and on the staff of several presbytery and synod youth conferences.


Pastor David began his call at Grace First Presbyterian Church in October of 2009. He enjoys hunting, working in his yard, and spending time with friends and family.

Marialice Parish, M.M. 

Director of Music & Organist


MEET MARIALICE: Marialice Parish is Director of Music and Organist, a post she has held since 1992. Ms. Parish was reared in Marshall, Texas, and holds degrees in organ performance from Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport, Louisiana, and from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. She has done extensive post graduate work in organ performance and choral work at the University of North Texas, Denton. She has served churches of many denominations and enjoys teaching organ to interested students. Ms. Parish is also on staff at Texas Christian University as Wedding Organist for Robert Carr Chapel.

Alycia Nelson

Financial Administrator


MEET ALYCIA: Alycia joined the Grace First staff in November of 2014. She has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Economics from Utah State University and has experience as a tax accountant and bookkeeper. Alycia has been married to husband, Nicholas Nelson, since 2000. She stays busy keeping up with her three school aged children; Blake, Sydney, and Trey. 


In her spare time, Alycia enjoys running, genealogy, and cooking. 

Lacey VanPay

Administrative Assistant


MEET LACEY: Lacey joined the Grace First staff in April of 2017. She and her husband Seth stay very busy with their children; Taylor, Corbin, and Emilia and are also helping to raise their two nieces; Avalon and Piper and nephew; Talon. Lacey and her family enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and other activities the family of eight can participate in.