Christ United Methodist Church - Plano, Texas
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Loving God, Serving Others ... Transforming Lives

  Clergy Biographies

Reverend Don Underwood is in his 30th year as Senior Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church (CUMC). During his tenure, CUMC has experienced rapid growth, doubling worship and Sunday school attendance. The church places great emphasis on lay ministry and missions, and Rev. Underwood has been intentional in developing an organizational style that focuses on ministry rather than management.

Rev. Underwood received his Bachelor's Degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and his Masters of Theology from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Texas.

Rev. Underwood and his wife Bobby have two children, Adam and Joshua. Don enjoys quarter horses, golf, hunting and is an instrument rated private pilot. Each week, Rev. Underwood sends an inspirational message via email. Click here to sign up and begin receiving these emails.


Reverend Denise Peckham, Associate Pastor, comes to CUMC from Button Memorial UMC in Little Elm, Texas, where she has served as Senior Pastor since June 2007. Prior to her time at Button Memorial, she spent seven years at Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton, Texas, first as Children’s Minister, and then as Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Spiritual Formation. Denise holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, and a Masters of Divinity from SMU Perkins School of Theology. Denise and husband John have two children, Nicholas and Thomas. She enjoys reading, travelling, and gardening. 



Reverend Josh Fitzpatrick is the newest Associate Pastor to CUMC, leading Table of Grace, the modern worship service.  Josh and his wife, Megan, moved to Texas from California in 2010. Josh received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy/Theology from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, and his Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. He just recently finished his Doctor of Ministry in Missional Church Leadership at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology. Josh has held many different ministry roles over the past ten years, most recently serving at the Director of Youth and Student Ministries for four years at First United Methodist Church Duncanville. Megan is a resident physician in radiology at Baylor University Medical Center. Megan and Josh have a young daughter named Emily Christine.


Reverend Clay Horton is leading the ministry at CUMC's Princeton Campus as Associate Pastor. He, his wife, Errinne, and their children are new homeowners in Princeton and are busy becoming active members of the community. 

Clay is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a BA in Communication and received his Masters of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at SMU. Clay previously worked at FUMC Allen where he led a young adult ministry and helped with the launch of a new satellite church. He was also responsible for one of the mission ministries within the church.   Before Perkins, Clay served as a youth director in College Station.  Clay likes outdoor activities such as hiking mountains, traveling, photography, and spending time with his family. 


Reverend Walter Purkey oversees the Serving Others Ministries, as well as, the Pastoral Care and Counseling Ministries. He has been an Associate Pastor at CUMC since the spring of 2000.

Rev. Purkey graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from SMU and has Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees from the Perkins School of Theology at SMU. His concentration for his Doctor of Ministry was in Marriage and Family Counseling. Rev. Purkey is a Texas Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist offering individual, couples and family therapy. 

Reverend Purkey is married to Betty Purkey and has a grown son, Tom. He enjoys wood working, especially wood turning, reading, and travel.


Reverend Bart Smith is an Associate Pastor of CUMC. He is in the "Retired Status" after serving as a United Methodist Pastor for 50 years but works part-time on the staff at CUMC. His primary duties are to assist in worship and conduct weddings and funerals. He is responsible for giving nurture to the homebound and cancer patients in the congregation. He is also the staff liaison for the Nursing Home Committee and the Boy Scout Troop #261. He helps lead the Grief Recovery Seminars CUMC offers in the spring and fall to those who have lost loved ones.

Bart and his wife Ann have a daughter, son-in-law, and a beautiful grandson. He enjoys golf, traveling and reading. 



Reverend Dr. Alyce M. McKenzie is CUMC's first Preacher-in-Residence. As Preacher-in-Residence, you will see her in the pulpit at various points throughout the year while she serves as a mentor to the CUMC preaching staff. Dr. McKenzie also serves as Professor of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology where she holds the George W. and Nell Ayers LeVan Endowed Chair of Preaching and Worship.
Ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church in 1981, Dr. McKenzie is a member of the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She grew up in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, and experienced a call to ministry in high school. She majored in religion at Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia and then headed to Duke Divinity School to study for the ministry.
From 1980-88 she served as an associate pastor at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in York, Pennsylvania. While there she met and married Murry McKenzie. They have 3 children, Melissa, Rebecca and Matt. She received her Ph.D in Homiletics in 1994 from Princeton Theological Seminary and served as Visiting Lecturer in Homiletics there from 1994-1999. Since 2000, Dr. McKenzie has taught preaching at Perkins School of Theology.