Ministerial Staff

Dr. David Vess

Senior Pastor
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I was born in Black Mountain, NC and have lived across the state. As my father was transferred with his work I grew up around Salisbury and Greensboro, before returning to Black Mountain for the 8th grade through High School. In my freshman year of college at Montreat Junior College, I sensed God’s call to full-time Christian service. Following graduation from Montreat, I completed my undergraduate education at Wheaton College, Wheaton Illinois. I earned a BA in Biblical Studies. After working for a couple of years as a Cottage Parent at the Juvenile Evaluation Center, I enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, where I earned the Master of Divinity in 1987, Dr. Randall Lolley’s last class. In 2000, I earned my Doctor of Ministry from the Theological School of Drew University, in Madison, New Jersey.

Since seminary, I have served churches across NC, from the coast to the mountains and the piedmont. I was called as Associate Pastor at Corinth Baptist Church in Elizabeth City, NC in 1987. I served there until 1990 when I was called as Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church, Farmville, NC. After serving there I was called by First Baptist Church, Spruce Pine, NC and served there as Senior Pastor from 1998 to 2010. I was called by Swift Creek Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC in 2011. In addition to my pastoral work, I served in Prison Ministry, Rape Crisis Counselor/Speaker, Seminary Extension teacher, numerous committees in the local Associations. My two favorite overseas mission trips were first, to Swaziland, South Africa where we helped establish two churches on our preaching mission and second, Honduras where we built the next to last house for a family recovering from hurricane Mitch.

In 1984, my first year of seminary, I married the lovely Angie Smith and we have one son, David, Jr., who is completing post Master’s work at the Boston Conservatory in Massachutetts. In addition to reading I enjoy golf, most college sports especially basketball and football and music.

Robin Atkins

Director of Children and Youth Activities

Robin started attending worship service at Swift Creek when she became engaged to Robert Atkins in 1979. She and Robert were married March 12, 1982.  They were blessed with 2 sons, Clint and Matthew. Robin started volunteering and serving on the Youth Committee in 1998 when her sons were in Youth. She chaperoned, organized and lead many of the Youth Mission Trips prior to becoming Director of Children and Youth October 2011 and feels blessed to serve here at Swift Creek.

Heather Hills

Minister of Music

An avid musician, Heather Hills has been studying music since the age of eight, when she began taking piano lessons. Her studies led her to work with a variety of teachers, including Jae Cho, Kyu Rhee, Claire Longendyke, and Benjamin Rollings. Heather found homeschooling to be a blessing as it enabled her to make ample time for her musical studies. She added harp at 13, studying under Andre Tarantiles, and went on to earn several awards on both instruments. These include performing on piano at Carnegie Hall after earning the most prestigious placement in the American Fine Arts Festival auditions and winning the concerto competition for the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County with a Vivaldi harp concerto. She attended Indiana University to earn her bachelor of music in harp performance, graduating in December 2014 with highest distinction. While there she studied with such distinguished harpists as Susann McDonald, Elzbieta Szmyt, and Maria Luisa Rayan and performed in several solo recitals and many large ensemble concerts with the university’s top ensembles.
Following graduation she moved to Raleigh, where she was blessed to find her parents’ new home church in need of a pianist. Raised in a Christian home, Heather has always brought her music before the Lord in church and is thrilled to be able to serve regularly at Swift Creek Baptist. She is now setting up shop in Raleigh as a professional freelancer on both harp and piano and performs at private events, in recital as a soloist, as an accompanist, and with the occasional local orchestra. With teaching and arranging thrown into the mix, Heather is managing to stay very busy making music!
Although she currently resides with her parents and two cats in a suburb of Raleigh, Heather was raised on a quiet country road in a rural area of New Jersey. The proximity of biking paths along the beautiful Delaware River and the wonders of a backyard pool fostered keen enjoyment of outdoor activities such as biking, swimming, and hiking. Homeschooled from second grade, she developed a love of history, literature, travel, and music that persists to this day. When she is not practicing, enjoying the out-of-doors, or dancing (her latest pastime), she can often be found plying a needle and thread, as she still considers sewing to be the most relaxing of her many hobbies.

Deborah Hutchins

Church Secretary
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Deborah is a graduate of Wake Christian Academy and studied Business and Economics at Wake Tech and UNC- Greensboro. In 1998 she married her high school sweet heart. She enjoys camping, hiking, church activities and going to the beach. After being a stay-at-home mom for more than a decade, she joined the staff at Swift Creek Baptist Church in June of 2015.