signal crest united methodist church

Meet the PastorS

Doug Fairbanks

Senior Pastor

Doug retired from First-Centenary United Methodist Church in July 2018 after serving there as Senior Pastor for six years. This concluded 48 years in pastoral ministry in The United Methodist Church. Before serving First-Centenary he served as the Knoxville District Superintendent for six years. Prior to that, he and his wife served five years at Signal Crest UMC!

Doug is married to Carolyn Brown Fairbanks, whom he met at Hiwassee College. Also, they are both proud graduates of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Carolyn taught in public schools for thirty-five years, now retired, and is enjoying this time in her life very much. Carolyn was born and raised in Abingdon, Virginia. Doug was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His 93-year-old mother still resides in her home in Hixson, Tennessee.

Doug received his bachelor’s degree from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee, his Master of Divinity degree from The Interdenominational Theological Center at Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, and his Doctor of Ministry from The Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend, Indiana (emphasis of study was in preaching/worship and his final project dealt with pastoral appointments across racial lines). He has received a Certificate of Church Administration from Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, he has done continuing education work at many venues, including Duke Divinity School at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and Vanderbilt Divinity School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Doug has been a member of several civic and community organizations over the years, most recently, Chattanooga Rotary Downtown. He is also a member of The Hixson High School Hall of Fame. He feels extremely privileged to have served our country and is a veteran of The United States Army and Vietnam.

The small farm on which Carolyn grew up in Abingdon, Virginia, is where their retirement home is located, and they have thoroughly enjoyed their time there. And, finally, Doug is a GOLFER.


Bill Thornton

Associate Pastor, Director of Congregational Care

Bill has been in a pastoral role at Signal Crest since June of 2015 as he was licensed as a local pastor at that time.  However, Bill has been a long time member of Signal Crest. Bill and his wife Tracey have one adult daughter, Emily.  

During the day, you can find Bill working for Comcast.  In his spare time, he attends seminary classes at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta.

Bill is also very involved in Walden's Ridge Emergency Services where he serves as the Board Chairman an EMT/Firefighter.   

Bill's favorite scripture is: 2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.