The Reverend Joseph Hester has served in parish ministry since 1990 and was ordained July 14, 1991. He earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in History and also in Germanic Languages from Duke University and the Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School. He has also studied as a F. Cushman Scholar at the University of Bonn (1988-1989) and graduate studies in Information Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. Pastor Joe has served previously in the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina as moderator for the Committee for Mission and Outreach and also Sessional Records and as a member of Presbytery Council. In New Hope Presbytery, he has served as moderator for the Ministries of Mission Committee. Theological and historical areas of academic interest include bioethics, Holocaust studies, and medieval and Reformation church studies with an interest in Reformed, Orthodox and Celtic spirituality.
Originally from the coast of North Carolina and a large extended family, Joe is now in the sixth year of his pastorate at First Presbyterian Church enjoys living in Smithfield and Johnston County. Joe enjoys traveling and to date has traveled from locales as diverse as the Bering Sea to Jerusalem and hopes to add to that list. He also enjoys the photography, fine arts, and swimming and is a well-known as a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien writings.