Meet Our Staff

Rev. James Thomas


Rev. James Thomas (Pastor Jim) has been pastor of the Ridley Park Presbyterian Church since September, 2018 following a month serving as co-pastor with Rev. Michael Smith before Pastor Smith’s retirement. Pastor Jim received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA and his Masters of Divinity degree from the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. Previous to his arrival at RPPC, he served as Youth Director at the First Presbyterian Church of Duluth, MN for four years, and as an Associate Pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church of Downingtown for 14 years before returning to his home town to pastor the Lewistown Presbyterian Church in Lewistown, PA for ten years. His wife of seven years, Devon Thomas, is an Academic Advisor at Drexel University. Both Jim and Devon are grateful to be part of the dynamic life, worship and ministry of the Ridley Park Presbyterian Church.

Beth Bryan

Director of Children's Ministries

Beth Bryan's strong leadership skills, educational background, and professional experience compliment her passion to serve the Lord by positively impacting the lives of youth in the church and in the community. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Masters of Teaching from the University of Virginia, and is a teacher and athletic coach in the Ridley School District. A native to the Ridley community, Beth has interacted with children of all ages and backgrounds becoming involved in leadership positions within the church Youth Group, Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School, and supporting the Young Life Organization. Beth brings to the leadership team of RPPC high energy, a love for Jesus Christ, and the ability to work with others to foster life-giving changes in Youth Ministry. Beth and her husband Chris, also a Youth Group Leader at RPPC, have four beautiful young children.  

Evan Jackson


Starting in high school, Evan has played organ and/or directed choirs in churches for over fifty years, including thirty-seven at Hope Presbyterian. 

His junior high music director was first to give him tickets to the Academy of Music Friday afternoon concerts. The magnificent sound of the Philadelphia Orchestra was instantly captivating.  That began a life-long love of the large orchestral symphonies, piano concertos, organ and choral masterpieces. 

He left public school teaching after a few years, and turned to the business side of music leaving unfinished his graduate work as a theory and composition major studying with the late Dr. Harry Wilkinson.  Over three decades in the keyboard business afforded him the opportunity to hear and meet some of the world’s finest classical and jazz musicians, being backstage often at notable venues.  Of special interest and meaning were the years he worked with the late Dr. Keith Chapman, then Organist of the Wanamaker Grand Court, and The Philadelphia Orchestra.   He was a sales director for a pipe organ builder, several electronic manufacturers, and involved in pipe/digital hybrids. 

He describes himself as an avid organ player, with the utmost appreciation and esteem for the great artists he has heard, preferring the titles ‘pianist’ and ‘organist’ be reserved for them.  He continues to attend seminars, workshops, and concerts at the Kimmel Center, Cathedral of Sts. Peter & Paul, and elsewhere.

Currently, he is employed by a major financial services firm.  Evan is a past president of the Aston Business Association.  And the ‘car buff’ side of him enjoys time with the County Corvette Association. 

Erin Waldie

Lead Vocalist & Youth Choir Director

From infancy to adulthood, Erin Waldie cultivated her musical love and service to the Lord through RPPC. Her God-given melodious "voice of an angel" blesses us weekly in preparing our hearts for worship through music ministry. A graduate of Cabrini College, her vast experience in the arts and theatre productions throughout the Tri-State area has widened her knowledge base and developed her leadership skills in teaching music to others. She has a passion for working with children and sharing God's love and message through song and praise. 

Karyn Knox

Choir Director, Secretary

Born and raised in a musical home, normal car games for Karyn as a child were: “name that instrument”, “name the composer”, “what’s that time signature?”  Fall pumpkins had names like Beethoven and Stravinsky. Karyn was taught at an early age to sit very still through long concerts without making any noise.  This intense training and upbringing, along with her lack of athletic skills destined Karyn to explore the world of music. God guided Karyn to Philadelphia College of Bible (now Cairn University) where she graduated with degrees in Bible and Piano Performance. Very  involved in musical theatre, she has directed music for many shows over the past 15 years. Karyn has been serving in church ministry since she graduated from college in 1983. Some of her ministries include adult choir, youth bands, kids’ choirs, dramatic presentations, touring groups and musical ensembles. Through her life and ministry, Karyn seeks to convey this message “Let everything that lives reserve its’ truest praise for God and God alone.” Karyn and her husband, Dave live in New Jersey. (Dave provides her coffee every Sunday morning.)  They have two beautiful grown children and three crazy granddaughters.