Dr. Herschell & Laura Baker
Pastors Herschell and Laura have served in various roles in ministry leadership for 29 years. They have been blessed to minister with children and youth in addition to currently serving as senior pastors. Laura has also served as worship pastor at several churches in which they have served.
Both are also proud graduates of Pentecostal Theological Seminary (Cleveland, TN). It is there that Laura earned her M.A. in Counseling. She has since received her Ordination and was also endorsed as a vocational chaplain through the Church of God Chaplains Commission. While at PTS, Herschell earned an M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship and the Doctor of Ministry degree. In addition, He has served as an Instructor and Adjunct Faculty for Lee University (Cleveland, TN) and Pentecostal Theological Seminary (Cleveland, TN) respectively.
Their family is very important to them. Their son, Jeremiah, and his wife Chelsea just blessed them with a granddaughter, Kacie. Their daughter, Ashley, is wrapping up her MFA degree at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
They’re honored to be Senior Pastors at Woodward Avenue Church of God. This is their second time living and ministering in McMinn County and it feels like home to them.
Woodward Avenue Church of God has been a witness in this community since the 1940’s. We remain a church where everyone is welcome and where the Holy Spirit is free to move as He wills.
Angel & Ana De Hoyos
Angel De Hoyos was born and raised in San Antonio, TX as a first generation Mexican-American. God called him to the ministry at the age of 17 and since then he has devoted himself to serving God, the church, and preaching God’s Word. He has served as Youth Counsel, District Youth Leader, Youth Pastor, Administrative Pastor, Assistant to the Pastor within the Hispanic Regions in the Church of God.
Pastor Angel De Hoyos and his wife Ana moved to Tennessee to pursue his Masters of Divinity and will be graduating from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in May 2020 with a Masters of Divinity.
Ana has actively served the church in various roles as Youth Leader, Prayer Director, Building a Healthy Temple Coordinator, Adult Sunday School Teacher, and has served for the last 7 years alongside her husband in North Georgia and Tennessee. Ana has a passion for organizational development and administration and worked in corporate America for over 6 years. She currently serves as the Operations and Resource Manager for the Church of God Chaplains Commision. Ana has an undergraduate degree in Management with a concentration in International Business from the University of Texas in San Antonio, and a MBA from Lee University.
Pastor Angel De Hoyos preaches God’s Word in Spanish to our Latino congregation every Sunday and alongside his wife they review curriculum for Wednesday discipleship classes, design outreach events, and provide pastoral care to Spanish speaking members of Woodward.
Donnie’s passion is leading others into God’s presence through music and share the the full gospel of Christ. He enjoys cooking, the outdoors and his “framily” (friends who are like family).
Donnie is currently the Director of Provider Enrollment at Team Health in Knoxville, TN. And has previously held positions as the Operations Support Specialist and the Administrator, National Provider Enrollment since he joined Team Health in January 2015. He also worked in Ministry Operations at the Church of God National Headquarters in Cleveland, TN from June 2004 until August 2014. He received his Bachelors degree in Non-Profit, Public and Organization Management from Patten University and holds a Masters of Arts degree from Lee University.
Dr. Chris Thomas has been serving as the part time Associate Pastor of Woodward Church since 1981. His primary responsibilities at Woodward include: regular teaching duties, currently in Sunday School and on Wednesday nights, assisting the Senior Pastor with leading in worship as needed and some administrative responsibilities.
Dr. Thomas serves as the Clarence J. Abbott Professor of Biblical Studies at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, TN and the Director of the Centre for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies at Bangor University in Wales.
Dr. Chris Thomas
Jason and Becky Hill serve as the pastors of The Avenue Young Adult Ministry. Jason graduated from Chattanooga State Community College with a Supervisory Development Program Certificate. He has 21 years of professional experience in the banking industry and 10 years as an Implementation Coordinator in the healthcare industry. As a lifelong member of the Church of God, Jason has served in various areas of ministries in the church - youth leader, camp counselor, choir, and praise team.
Dr. Becky Hill grew up in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and moved to the United States to continue her education. She is currently a Lecturer in Old Testament Studies and serves the Director of Student Academics at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary.
Jason and Becky have one daughter, Maddi.
Jason & Dr. Becky Hill
Holden and Lauren have been in full-time ministry since 2014 with stops in Arizona, Virginia, and Arkansas. Holden completed his bachelor’s degree in Church Ministry from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in December of 2013 and finished his M.A. in Theological Studies in the spring of 2018. Lauren and Holden have 4 kids Brooklyn, Andrew, Elijah, and Owen. Brooklyn is 3 and the boys who are identical triplets are 1.
They love doing ministry together and building relationships within their community!
Holden & Lauren Lane
Ashlee Gardner serves as the Children’s Pastor at Woodward Church. She is a full-time special education pre-k teacher in McMinn County Schools and has been serving students in the community for eleven years and counting! God has been so faithful. She began her journey serving as Sunday School Teacher at a sister church. Then, the Lord moved her and her daughter, Bentley, to Woodward in January of 2015. Ashlee and her daughter worshipped their way through some tough times while plugging into the choir at Woodward until the Lord opened up the door to Children’s Ministry… and she absolutely LOVES IT! Her heart’s desire is for every child to not only receive Jesus into their hearts, but hunger and thirst to know Him more!
Ashlee gained her bachelor degree in early childhood education encompassing both regular and special education through 3rd grade. She holds a Masters Degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in special education. She also has a special education licensure endorsement for special education K-12th grade and has taken a few classes through the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, TN.
EPIC Kids Pastor
Sara graduated from Cleveland State with a degree in Early Childhood Education, and is currently pursuing a BA in Ministry Leadership with Counseling emphasis at Lee University. Sara has worked in Early Childhood for 24 years including 20 years with Head Start. She’s currently working as Kids Connection Site Manager at Athens City Middle School.
As the Preschool Coordinator, she supervises Preschool and Nursery classrooms, recruits, and schedules the Nursery and Preschool workers, organizes and distributes curriculum, purchases supplies for the nursery and preschool, ensures rooms are kept clean and organized, and administrates the Kid Check system.
Maria graduated from Cleveland State with degrees in Business Administration and Elementary Education, currently pursuing her Bachelors in Elementary Education at Tennessee Wesleyan University. Maria has a great love for people and especially for children.
As Lead Nursery Staff she administers curriculum and worship time to ensure children are developing the love of Christ at a young age. “My goal is to use repetition of lessons to increase these baby’s memory that Jesus loves them.”
“God called me to the nursery ministry, I feel for the reason of loving every child the same and wanting to help all of them to develop into strong followers of Christ. Each child has their own ministry they are taking home. Children are truly a gift from God.”
Lead Nursery Staff Member
Kathy Gentry serves as our Women’s Ministries leader. Kathy has a BA in Elementary Education and taught 4th and 5th grades. Kathy has served in the church in many capacities over the years. Some of the ministries she has been involved with include Sunday School, Choir, Greeters, Nursery, Preschool, Children, Youth, College and Career, and Missions.
Kathy loves her family! She has been married to Bill for 28 wonderful years. She has 2 children, Matthew and Sarah, and a daughter-in-law, Kylie. She also has a perfect grandson, Matthew! Her favorite thing to do now is spend time with her grandson.
Kathy enjoys working with Women’s Ministries. She is very thankful for the Women’s Board who work together to plan and coordinate meetings and activities. On behalf of Woodward Women’s Ministries, Kathy would like to welcome you and looks forward to meeting you.
Women’s Ministry Director
Serving the Lord at Woodward in many ministries from teenage years to the present, varying from Children’s Pastor, Youth Pastor, District Youth Director, Benevolence Coordinator, Women’s Ministry, Operation Christmas Child Coordinator, Events Coordinator. Since 2008, she has served as Church Coordinator and Keenager (Senior Adult) Pastor.
Graduating in 1984 from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with BSBA Degrees in Marketing and Management. While perusing her degrees, she enjoyed playing 4 years of collegiate basketball.
Her eyes light up when she speaks of her nieces Jennifer, McKenzie, and Morgan, nephew Andy, and Nephew-in-laws Jonathan and Rothchild, as they are the “light of her life” and they affectingly know her as “The Master Spoiler”! She also is thankful for the many “spiritual children” she is blessed to call her own.
The Lord gives us privileges and opportunities to serve him and others for a time and season. Every day matters and we can’t assume we have tomorrow. Only what we do to build God’s kingdom through our families, church, and community will be what is left when our time and season is over.
Church Administrator/Keenager Pastor
Assistant Church Clerk
Preston earned his Associate degree from Cleveland State Community College in 1983, Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Science from Lee College in 1986, Master of Arts in Education from Tusculum College in 1989, and his Educational Specialist degree with emphasis in Educational Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University in 2007. He has taught school at Polk County High School (1987), Athens Junior High School (1988-1991), Copper Basin High School (1992-1997), and McMinn County High School (1997-2007). He has taught math, social studies, science, personal computing, chemistry, geometry, and algebra.
Preston served as Assistant Principal at McMinn County High School form 2007-2017. He was appointed as Principal of McMinn County AIM School for Alternative Education in 2017 and has served in that capacity as AIM School Director and Homebound Service Director. He was assistant soccer coach (Boys and Girls) at MCHS from 1999-2006 and bowling coach from 2004-2020. Preston has been in education for 32 years and is finishing his third year in administration as Principal at AIM School of Alternative Education in McMinn County.
Preston married Gail Moser at Woodward Avenue Church of God on September 6, 1975 by Pastor Wayne Fritts. Gail works as a nurse at STARR Regional Medical Center in Athens. They have one son J. P. Moser who is married to Keila.
Preston joined Woodward Avenue Church of God in 1975 transferring his membership from Sixth Avenue Church of God in Lenoir City. He has served at Woodward Avenue in the following positions: Church Clerk 1975 – 1982, Sunday School Teacher 1996 – 1998, Youth Pastor 1976 – 1999, Sunday School Superintendent 1996 – Present, Pastor’s Council Member 1976 – Present, Assistant Church Clerk 2003 – Present, Choir member, Soloist, and Praise Team Member 1975 – Present.
Preston’s life verse is Psalm 90:12. Teach me to number my days that I may apply my heart to wisdom. (A Psalm of Moses)
Kweku Graham serves as the Associate Worship Pastor of Woodward Church. He is in charge of worship on Sunday and Wednesday nights and helps out around the church with various ministerial duties.
Kweku is originally from Athens, TN. He is currently pursuing his Bachelors of Arts degree in Music Education from Tennessee Wesleyan University.
Associate Worship Pastor