Methodists getting new pastors
Both of Marion’s United Methodist churches will see departure of their ministers and arrival of new ones July 1.
Husband-wife duo Amanda and Ross Baker have been at the helms of Valley and Eastmoor churches since July 1, 2015. Amanda has been a half-time minister at Valley and Ross a full-time minister at Eastmoor.
Now, Amanda Baker is going to be full-time minister at Baldwin City First United Methodist Church.
Ross Baker’s time will be split between Eudora United Methodist Church and Centenary United Methodist Church in Lawrence.
“I’ll be serving in both churches every Sunday,” Ross Baker said. “They are 20 minutes of driving apart.”
The family will live in Baldwin City.
Both say they will miss the school system that their children, James, 9, Charles, 6, and William, 4, have attended.
They also say they will miss the Marion community, which has been welcoming and good to them.
“It’s been wonderful to be able to walk to the grocery store, the pharmacy and the park,” Amanda Baker said. “I’m sure Baldwin City will have things we’ll love, but it’s hard to leave the ones here.”
Another thing she’ll miss is the strong collaboration and cooperation within Marion’s ministerial alliance.
“What a blessing our ministerial alliance is in our community,” she said. “It’s been a very powerful experience to be able to work alongside the other ministers. It is unique in the level of cooperation and support.”
She said she’s been impressed as well with the level of support and care for Marion children shown by ministerial alliance members.
“We will certainly miss this place,” Ross said. “Marion will always be a part of where we lived for a period of time. We know our boys will certainly hold on to those memories and friends.”
Baldwin City is home to Baker University, across the street from the church.
“That carries the opportunity to be a church home away from home to students at Baker University,” she said. “That’s going to be a big part of those first few months is just figuring it all out.”
The pulpit at Valley will be home to a face already familiar to the congregations of both churches.
Martin Holler, a resident at the county lake, retired from ministry at Mount Vernon United Methodist Church 10 years ago and then served a year and a half as interim pastor at Central Avenue United Methodist Church. Both churches are in Wichita.
He agreed to accept the position at Valley when the conference office asked.
He said his goal is to “continue to strengthen the ministry Amanda has started and continue Rainbow Riders.”
Rainbow Riders is a weekly after-school program for kids’ kindergarten through fifth grade. Kids get a lesson, snack, story, and playtime.
Darren Frazier will become pastor at Eastmoor, coming from First United Methodist Church in McPherson, where he has been associate pastor since 2016 and youth pastor since 2008.
He is attending St. Paul School of Theology. Before going into ministry, Frazier spent 25 years in law enforcement with the McPherson County sheriff’s office, then several years as McPherson director of 911 dispatch operations and county emergency manager.