Rev. Jesse Garner was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and attended high school there. He later received his undergraduate education at Yale University and his seminary training at Harvard Divinity School. Prior to coming to First Church in 2001, Rev. Garner served churches in Massachusetts, Tennessee and Alabama.
A strong advocate of missions, Jesse has participated in numerous mission trips to Mexico and the Gulf Coast, and has been an active volunteer in Philadelphia for Habitat and The Other Carpenter. Rev. Garner currently serves on the Nominating Committee of Philadelphia Presbytery and is also a member of the board of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia.
His wife Allen, also a native Memphian, is a 2nd grade teacher at the Russell Byers Charter School in Center City. Their daughter Allen, a recent graduate of Bowdoin College, is now teaching Latin and coaching swimming at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. Their daughter Lela is currently a student at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. In his spare time, Jesse is an avid fisherman and enjoys cooking (and eating).