Hello. I’m Pastor Chris Rapko. My wife Cassie, who is also a pastor at St. Paul UMC in Grant Park, and I got married in 2012 after we got done with seminary.She’s pretty amazing. We just had a daughter in November named JordanElizabeth. She’s probably the most photographed baby ever. We call her MiniRap. It’s pretty obvious where she gets her looks. Bless her. We have a dog, Soozie, short for Susanna, the mother of John Wesley. She’s 6 years old, and she’s a mix of border collie and what is clearly pitbull, or something. I have one younger brother, Brian. We weren’t always close growing up, but now he’s one of my best friends.
I’m originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I lived there for 18 years, and then I followed God’s call to ministry by going to Harding University, in Searcy, Arkansas. Never heard of it, you say? You’re not alone. It’s a Church of Christ university, which is my previous faith tradition. Think Baptist, you’re not far off. I majored in Bible and Religion and felt called toward seminary at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. I concentrated on Scripture and Interpretation while I was there, especially in Hebrew and Greek exegesis (interpretation) classes. I read both languages. I graduated in 2011 with a Master of Divinity degree, which sounds pretty fancy, but just means I completed seminary.
Candler is where I met my wife, and it’s also when I started DJing. Like most DJs, I started out doing house parties. Unlike most DJs, these were house parties in seminary with seminary students. We had a lot of fun. While I was still doing seminary, I got a DJing residency in Buckhead at a hole in the wall club. After that, I got the opportunity to DJ for Q100, an Atlanta pop radio station. Up until recently, I mixed music on the radio and in nightclubs every weekend for 10 years.
My wife and I love to travel. Over the course of about a year we went to Italy, Israel, and Ireland. Cassie has the green thumb in our family, but I’m learning. I play piano and I produce music sometimes. I have dreams of updating hymns to be modern – especially in terms of instrumentation. I have a passion for interpreting scripture in terms compatible with popular culture, so I try to use pretty diverse examples and illustrations in my sermons. Anyway, that’s about it for me except that I heard God’s call back to ministry in the local church and my first appointment with Hapeville First UMC just started July 1. I’m so excited to start this journey with you all! Let’s go!
Brett Reichert (Our Accompanist)
Originally from Thomasville, Georgia, Brett moved to East Point in 2015 but has called Hapeville home since 2018. He has played piano in various capacities since middle school. In college he accompanied voice students, small ensembles, and served as pianist at a small church outside Macon while a student at Mercer University. He was also a keyboardist in “Up With People” on a world tour during college. Brett later earned his MS from FSU and works on staff at the University of West Georgia today. He looks forward to being part of the Hapeville First UMC worship team! If you have requests, please let him know.
Rosie Smith (Our Director of Vocal Music)
Rosie Smith is a K-12 Music Education graduate of William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. During her time at Jewell, Rosie sang with the William Jewell College Concert Choir and Choral Scholars under the direction of Dr. Anthony Maglione. She was granted the opportunity to conduct the Concert Choir during their tri-annual England/Scotland performance tour as well as study choral conducting at the Choral Institute at Oxford, co-directed by Dr. James Jordan and James Whitbourn, in the summer of 2018. After graduating, Rosie enjoyed teaching middle and high school vocal music for two years in Paola, Kansas. She will begin working towards her Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting at Georgia State University under the direction of Dr. Deanna Joseph in the Fall of 2021.