Carlton Allen, Pastor
Carlton grew up in Wrens, GA where he was raised in the local Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He made a personal profession of faith at age 14 and joined the Wrens Baptist Church a year later. Carlton attended Furman University where he received a BA degree in English and fell in love with Donna Logan. They married after college and moved to Louisville, KY where he received his M. Div. degree in 1980 from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. After seminary Carlton served as Minister to Youth at First Baptist Church of Greenwood, SC, during which time he earned his Doctor of Ministry degree. Before coming to Commerce in 2004 he was pastor of First Baptist Church in Claxton, GA. He has served on the national coordinating committee of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the McAfee School of Theology Board of Visitors.
Donna Allen is a Registered Nurse. Carlton and Donna have three children and two grandchildren. Elizabeth and her son, Colton, also live in Commerce, GA. Vickie Anderson and her husband, Adam, along with their daughter, Ellison, live in Claxton. Carl is a student at Piedmont College in Demorest, GA.
Carlton enjoys sports, particularly baseball and golf. He reads and collects Southern fiction and has published a book of short stories entitled Stories of Falling Toward Grace. He also enjoys living in a small town community, especially in the Northeast Georgia area.
Kelsey is a student at the McAfee School of Theology, studying a Global Christianity track and expects to graduate in December of this year.
Kelsey is a native of Danville, KY and the daughter of a Baptist minister. She graduated, with honors, from Eastern Kentucky University in 2012 with a degree in Interior Design and a minor in Art History. During her college days, she served for a year and a half as the Youth Minister in her home church. She entered McAfee in 2013, receiving a McAfee Merit Scholarship.
In 2012, Kelsey participated in a missions’ partnership between churches in Kentucky and Christians in Morocco. In May of 2014, she participated in a Missions Immersion experience in India. This past summer she was a Student Ministries Summer Intern at the First Baptist Church of Huntsville, AL. Her responsibilities included planning and coordinating weekly mission projects, leading weekly Bible studies, and coordinating volunteer and parent leadership teams. She also organized opportunities for students to participate in worship leadership.
Kelsey has combined her university degree with her church leadership by creating a painting as part of the worship experience during a Christmas Cantata and by writing and leading a children’s curriculum on “Worship and the A
rts.” She has a particular interest in leading local churches to become more involved in missions. Although she has no plans to be a pastor, Kelsey does have some experience preaching and, in fact, participated in the National Festival of Young Preachers in 2012.
J.D. Granade, Minister to Children
J. D. is a first year student at the McAfee School of Theology and a native of North Carolina. He majored in Drama with a minor in Religious Studies at UNC Asheville and is in the Congregational Ministry program at McAfee. His long term goal is to do children’s ministry in the local church.
J. D. did an internship at FBC Asheville while in college where he worked with children and youth and helped the church transition to a full-time staff position. He also led Bible studies, worship, recreation, and other activities at Passport Kids Camp for two summers. He met some of our young people during that time.
J. D. is an Eagle Scout and is the son and grandson of Baptist Ministers. His father is currently pastor of the First Baptist Church in North Wilkesboro, NC.
Todd Chandler, Director of Music
Todd Chandler is a native of Jackson County. He is a 1991 graduate of Jackson County Comprehensive High School and is now the choral director at his high school alma mater. He earned his undergraduate degree in Music Education in 1995 from Shorter College and is currently enrolled at Piedmont College pursuing a master’s degree in Music Education.. Todd currently resides in Commerce with his wife, Renee, and their three children.
He has conducted choirs and orchestras that have performed in prestigious concert halls and churches throughout Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, and Austria. The most recent international concerts were at the Berliner Dom and the French Cathedral in Berlin, Germany; Thomaskirche and St. Nikolaikirche in Leipzig, Germany; Marktkirche in Halle, Germany; and Schloss Belvedere, Weimar where instrumentalists from the Liszt School of Music Weimar joined forces with the American choir to record Faure’s Requiem. In 2006, he conducted Dvoÿák’s Te Deum, Opus 103, accompanied by the Prague City Orchestra at the Lichtenstein Palace and St. Nicholas Church. In 2005, he conducted a combination of college music professors, high school and middle school music educators, college music majors, First Baptist Church Choir members and community choir members in performances at Santa Maria della Pieta in Venice, Italy; San Zeno Maggiore Church, Verona, Italy; and the Mozart Hall of the Teatro Nuovo in Verona, Italy. In 2004, he directed choirs at the Vienna Rathaus and Melk Abbey in Melk, Austria.
Martha Heisley, Financial Secretary
Martha became the Church Financial Secretary in May of 2006. She and her husband, Don, live in Carnesville. Martha is a native of Cobb, Co. where she graduated from Sprayberry High School. She is an active member of the Four Seasons Garden Club in Commerce where she has served as secretary and is the current treasurer.
Tami Autry, Administrative Assistant
Tami and her husband, Rick, make their home in Madison, Co. though Tami admits they are still a Commerce Tigers at heart. They have one daughter, Taylor, at home and another, Kellyn who is married to their wonderful son-in-law, Josh Blackmon. Tami began working at First Baptist in May of 2004. She and her family are members of Union Baptist Church in Hull where she has served as Director of Women’s Enrichment Ministry since 2001. Tami s also Director of Women’s Ministry for the Sarepta Baptist Association. When she is not working she enjoys late lunches with girlfriends, relaxing Friday evenings at home with Rick, walking, reading and studying God’s word with women.
Kathy Pruett, Organist
Ms. Kathy Pruett played the organ at FBC for two years during high school. She works for Cendant Corporation, leading the travel industry sales team for the hotel division. Kathy and her husband Ernie have been members of FBC since their return to Commerce from Atlanta in 1990. She was interim organist at the First United Methodist Church in Commerce for seven years, and has now returned to FBC.
Mrs. Judy Eubanks has served as FBC pianist since 1985. She first began her service as church
musician over fifty years ago (1965), at the age of 13. The former Judy White, she is a lifelong resident of Commerce and is a graduate of Commerce High School. She is married to Johnny Eubanks and they have two sons and three grandsons. She is retired from Commerce Printing, after 33 years as graphic designer. She is a member and past-president of the Four Seasons Garden Club and is a member of the Commerce Athletic Booster Club. She loves watching her grandsons play sports and working among her flowers. After retiring, she is still doing design and printing from her home.
Roger has been with the church since December of 2006. He is also employed as a custodian with the Banks County School System. Roger is 57 years old, single, and a 1976 graduate of Commerce High School. He is Sunday School Director at Blacks Creek Baptist Church. He has been an active member with the Cold Sassy Players theater group in Commerce for the past seven years and has participated in many of the local plays. In his spare time, Roger loves to read, walk, and spend time with family. He also enjoys following all of the Commerce Tigers sports teams, and is an avid Georgia Bulldog fan.