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.
Lee Sosebee Ritchie is a native of Athens and grew up attending Milledge Avenue Baptist Church. She made a profession of faith at age 12, felt a call to ministry at age 14, and has been trying to follow God’s guidance to fulfill that call ever since.
Upon graduation from high school, she attended the State University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia and obtained a degree in Early Childhood Education.
In 2000 Lee and Jason Ritchie were married. Lee taught elementary school for 3 years while volunteering at First Baptist Church in Athens with the children and youth ministries.
While in seminary, she became Minister to Children and Youth at First Baptist Church in Commerce in June 2006. Lee graduated from McAfee School of Theology in May 2008 with a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Christian Education. She, Jason, and their son, Warren live in Commerce.
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 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 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.
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.
Ms. Judy Eubanks has served as pianist since 1985. She first began her service as church musician over thirty-five years ago, 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 also works as Office Manager at Commerce Printing and Office Supply.
Roger has been with the church since December of 2006. He is also employed as a custodian by the Commerce City School System. Roger is a native of Commerce and a graduate of Commerce High School. He is single and is a member and the Director of Sunday School for Black’s Creek Baptist Church. In his spare time, Roger enjoys reading and following all of the Commerce sports teams.