Leadership Team

Our church has a history of strong pastoral leadership, a thoughtful and intelligent approach to the scripture and a loving, caring concern for all who attend. This history is combined with a desire to link the clergy and laity in the structure and organization of our church. Our desire is a continuous spiritual growth combined with involvement and engagement with the community and the world.

Our Minister leads the staff and administrative functions accountable to the congregation and supported by the Congregational Council, Diaconate and the Ministry Teams.
 
 
MARTHA KEARSE, Senior Pastor
 
Before coming to us, Martha became a minister in the life of St. John’s Baptist Church, Charlotte, VA in 2001 as the Minister to Children and Family Life and was installed as Associate Minister in February, 2012.
Growing up in central Virginia, Martha graduated high school in Lynchburg. She then earned her BA in English and Education at the College of William and Mary. In 1985, she moved to Charlotte to teach high school English until 1997. Martha received her Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies from the M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University in 2007 and was ordained by St. John’s Baptist Church that same year. She received her Doctorate in Ministry at Gardner-Webb University in 2017. Martha and her husband Monty have four children: Mattie, 22 and a recent graduate of UNC-Wilmington; Conner, 20 and a junior at UNC-Greensboro; Anna, 17 and a senior at Myers Park High School.

In pursuit of sanity, Martha likes hiking in the mountains, reading books, watching movies, taking walks with friends, binge-watching Netflix, dogs, happy music in most categories (except jazz), riding a bike in the country and chocolate. She likes jeans over dresses, flats over heels, blue over red, Jesus over Paul, and chocolate over just about any other food you could mention.

 
 
NICOLE  ZULAUF, Administrative Assistant
 
Nicole is the mother of three handsome boys and lives in Forest. Nicole was born and raised in North Dakota. She achieved an advertising/marketing degree at Minot State University.   She briefly lived in upstate NY before she and her family moved to Lynchburg in 2012. She keeps busy with her boys’ soccer, football, and theater.   In her downtime, she enjoys reading and the outdoors.  
 

 

DEBBIE BURTON, Music Director

Deborah Burton has served as Director of Music at Peakland Baptist Church since 2003 and holds a B.A. in music from Bluefield College and a Master of Music from Converse College School of Music. She is the June McGraw McBroom Chair of Fine Arts and instructor of music at Virginia Episcopal School. For seven years prior to moving to Lynchburg, Ms. Burton was an Assistant Professor of Music at Bluefield College.

ALLAN HEER, Organist

Allan graduated from Bucknell University in 1962, He has been playing organ and piano for churches all of his semi adult life. In addition to playing for Peakland Baptist Church, Allan is also happy to be the organist for the Traditional Services at Holy Cross Catholic Church on Clay Street. Allan’s talent is in demand as an accompanist around Lynchburg, and he often plays for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. Allan is married to Angela, a member of the choir, has 2 grown daughters and 6 granddaughters.
 
 
SUSAN ALLEN, Financial Assistant
Susan is a native of Lynchburg and the mother of four beautiful daughters
ranging in ages 13 – 20. She earned her degree in Environmental Science
from Lynchburg College, then later pursued accounting courses and worked for a local accounting firm for 18 years. Currently mid-way through a Master of Divinity through Lexington Theological Seminary, she is finding balance between
accounting work and working as a relief chaplain for Centra.
She enjoys writing, gardening, music, and naps.
Susan’s office hours are on Mondays, 10-2 p.m.