VALLEY FORGE, PA (12/10/15)—The Mid-American Baptist Churches on Wednesday, December 9, announced the addition of three Associate Region Ministers (ARMs), effective January 1, 2016. The Board of Region Ministries voted to try a new model to have several part time staff members assist in the work of the Region, with each working different amounts of time based on their availability. Rev. Gary Martin will serve two days a week, Rev. Carol Teare one day a week, and Rev. Ashley Whitaker two days a month.
Executive Minister Rev. Dr. Marshall Peters said, “I’m excited about this new team of Associate Region Ministers and the giftedness they will bring to our work together.” More specific contact information and ministry assignments will be shared at the beginning of 2016.
Rev. Gary Martin is glad to be back in the Mid-American Region where he was nurtured and encouraged to become a minister. His home church of Renwick, IA, helped him financially as he pursued his Master of Divinity degree at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in the late 1990’s, and he sees this new Associate position in Region ministry as a way to repay their investment in his life. Martin’s original vision of his calling was to serve bi-vocationally, and is excited that the Region board is willing to try this model of ministry.
Martin was the bi-vocational pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lindsborg, KS, from 1998-2014, and was active in the American Baptist Churches of the Central Region (ABCCR) during that time. He served on several committees and a task force, and was President of the Board of the ABCCR in 2012-13. In 2011, Martin completed coursework for a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management.
The other aspect of Martin’s vocation is restoring interiors and tops on antique and custom vehicles, as owner/operator of Goldfield Trim & Upholstery. Three vehicles trimmed by Martin have been featured on the covers of magazines such as Rod & Custom and Classic Chevy.
Rev. Carol Teare is honored to have the opportunity to serve the Region in this new capacity. Building relationships will be her key priority, and she hopes to be present for the celebrations, needs, and concerns of churches and pastors.
Teare has been on staff in a church since she was 17 years old. Her path to ordination began with music ministry, and she has served as church organist, choir director, and associate minister in Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. Teare received her seminary training at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and discovered through her ecumenical experiences that she truly is American Baptist through and through.
Teare is one of the pastors at First Baptist Church of Waterloo, IA, the church where she was raised and ordained. She was president of the Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians for four years, and has served on the Mid-ABC Ordination Commission B. She believes strongly in lifelong learning, and is currently training at Mayo Clinic to be a teacher/trainer on wellness and integrative health. She is excited about learning, and passionate about the holistic view of health in body, mind, and spirit.
Rev. Ashley Whitaker, pastor of The United Church of Mapleton, MN, is excited about her new part-time role as an Associate Regional Minister for Mid-American Baptist Churches. On a personal level, the new position will help her continue to get better connected to the Region, providing opportunities for growth as an individual Christian, pastor, and servant in Christian ministry. One of the challenges of this Region is that it’s geographically extensive. Whitaker hopes to help better provide services, ministries, and connections of the Region to our churches in Minnesota.
Born into a nominally Catholic family, Whitaker became an American Baptist through her husband, Jeff, whom she met at William Jewell College. The couple started attending Prairie Baptist Church (Kansas), where Dr. Heather Entrekin helped Ashley learn more about American Baptist identity and also helped Whitaker discern her call to ministry.
Whitaker graduated from William Jewell in 2009 and went on to study at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO, receiving her Master of Divinity degree in 2012. While in Denver, she served as an intern at Calvary Baptist Church and was ordained there as an American Baptist minister.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.