Rev. Dr. Ron Watson
Head of Staff
The new pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Ocala, Ron Watson, has a background in youth work and has been an intern, associate, solo pastor, and now senior pastor for the last 9 of his 30 years as an ordained PCUSA minister. He is a graduate of the Citadel, Union Presbyterian Seminary, and Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.
Rev. Ruth Elswood
I am filled with joy that God has called me to serve at First Presbyterian Ocala. God called me to ministry later in life, after I retired from a lifelong career in early childhood education. I worked for many years for the Florida State University System and viewed my work with children and families as a sacred calling, dedicating my working life to improving the quality of early childhood education for all children, especially those from low-income families. My call to serve in ministry is a continuation of my desire to be of service to all God’s people. Micah 6:8 guides my ministry - “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” In seminary I spent almost a year working as a resident chaplain at Tampa General Hospital in Florida, where I learned much about ministering to the spiritual needs of people experiencing crisis and illness. My first ordained call was to serve the elderly as chaplain at Palm Garden Health Care Centers. Later I served the First Presbyterian Church in Jasper, Florida as interim pastor.
On a personal note, I am married to my dear husband, Lon. Between us we have five children and eight grandchildren. They are the joy of our lives!
We are very excited to announce our new keyboardist, Kosumo Morishita. Kosumo is a native of Miyazaki, Japan, and has performed in Japan, Italy, Austria, and throughout the United States. Dr. Morishita is a prizewinner of various competitions and
scholarships. In addition to her work as a soloist, Kosumo enjoys performing as a collaborative pianist, appearing with chamber groups, instrumentalists, and vocalists. As a dedicated educator, she has taught students of all ages and levels.
After moving to the United States from Japan at age 20, Kosumo earned her Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude from Stetson University, and her Master of Music degree from California State University, Sacramento. In May 2017, Morishita completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Kosumo is married to Dr. Sophocles Athanason, a chiropractic specialist in Ocala. Kosumo is a very proud mother of her first child, a newborn in May.