2020 Officer Candidates
I was born and raised in Forsyth, Montana, a town of about 2500 people. Born of Norwegian descent, I grew up with the “knowledge” that Norwegians were proud, stubborn, and hard-working. The strength of your character was a measure of your work and the only limits were those that you imposed on yourself. Nancy and I began dating as high school freshmen (yes, she also was born and raised in Forsyth). We were in the same church and the same class and graduated together in the Class of 1960 along with 34 others.
Following graduation, Nancy and I were off in different directions, but we did end up marrying in August of 1963. After school and jobs in Montana, we moved to Springfield, Missouri, where I accepted a job with Burroughs Wellcome. While there, we adopted our son Erik in 1969. We were active in a Presbyterian Church, I took over responsibility for the junior high group and was elected and served as a Deacon. In my mind, I was a “good Christian” and always had been. So why is this of any matter?
I would like to take you through the journey - mainly three steps - that the Lord has taken in giving me the Free Gift of His grace that allowed me to come to faith.
First, back in 1979, we were living and working in Cary when I had realized that I was getting much too heavy as a result of no exercise. I decided to start running to melt some of the excess away, so I usually hit the streets of our Cary neighborhood between 10:30 and 11:00pm.
Second, at that time we were attending church intermittently and were going to a Presbyterian Church in downtown Raleigh. Nancy had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior years earlier, and I thought that was just fine since that made her a better Christian which was great for both of us! On a particular Sunday, the sermon was based on Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.” I don’t remember any of that sermon except this one particular verse. For a period of months following this sermon, while running in the dark streets of Cary late at night, this verse would haunt me.
I finally did respond to the knock and opened the door. I did not fully recognize until months later what actually had happened - it was then that I realized and accepted that I was able to respond to that knock only through God’s free grace that gave me the spiritual life that made it possible to be able to hear and respond to His call.
Third, what I hope you understand from all this is that I came to that late night on a neighborhood street in Cary as a person supremely confident in my abilities, with a strong work ethic, a positive thinker, eternally optimistic, and an “I can do it if I try hard enough” attitude toward anything and everything. I was just fine, thank you very much! Just let me know what else I can do and I will get on it!
The Lord was not knocking because he wanted to let me know that he had noticed my work and accomplishments. He came to the door to give me a gift, a free gift, His free Grace leading to Faith.
In 1988, we were blessed to find Peace Church - I have been thankful to be allowed to serve here in various capacities including previous terms as an Elder. I sense that the Lord is calling me to continue to serve at Peace Church and will humbly seek His will as He leads me.
Veronica and I have been attending Peace Church for two years now. We discovered this church through a google search and have become involved with a community group and ministries of Peace. We moved to Cary in March of 2018 from Windsor Ontario. My employment with BASF agriculture brought me to the area. Veronica is a Christian teacher and just completed her Masters in Education at Liberty University. Veronica and I have been married for 31 years. We have 4 children: Adrianna (27) - web designer for Loblaws in Toronto; Ruben (25) - mechanical engineer in Windsor is married to Kristen an ER nurse at Henry Ford Hospital; Ailene (23) - Chicago Institute of Arts Masters program—Fine Arts/Art History; Leah (20) - Ryerson University Toronto—Business communications/Creative Industries
I came to know Jesus growing up in a Christian home and I am very thankful for this. I appreciate my parent’s commitment to my training when they baptized me as an infant. Jesus became part of my own faith commitment in the summer of 1985 which was my last year of high school. At that time, I made decisions to make a public profession of faith in front of our Christian Reformed Church and made the decision to attend a Christian college— Dordt College. Jesus is my Savior and I am attempting to get to know Him better daily. For example, currently, I am studying the sermon on the mount in Matthew. Besides the Bible, I am currently using two books from Dallas Willard and DA Carson to lead me through this. It is such a beautiful passage of scripture. What is interesting is that I am wrestling with what it means to rely on false securities like reputation and wealth as seen in Matt. 6. I am still sorting this out. In any case Jesus is helping me better understand the love of God and who he is.... and expectations for my daily life. Also, I really enjoy my daily bible reading and prayer with Veronica. Currently we are working through the Psalms with Phillip Keller— we are also reading Table Talk together.
Personally, I have a high interest in business as mission (BAM) especially related to agriculture, and since 2008 that has led to my involvement in Partners Worldwide and the projects in Kenya (GRAFCO) and the relationships locally that have developed over the 7+ trips to Kenya. Through this project I have met many local pastors and appreciated the growth of the church in Kenya.
We have been blessed by Peace and I am excited about the opportunity to join you in the work that God has set before us through Peace Church.
My name is Joe Frazier. My wife is Kelly and we have four adult children: Darby, recently married, Logan, recently graduated from Appalachian State, Thomas, and Guy, both of whom are finishing their Sophomore year at App. State. We’ve been members of Peace for four years.
While I can’t remember a time I didn’t believe God was real, I knew little of him until middle school when I started riding my bike to church. God gradually drew me to Himself through the church and friends. I don’t really have an “aha’ moment for fully coming to trust God. There are
milestones where God gradually grew my faith, such as helping to initiate a prayer group in high school to various roles at church. I had a group of guys from my dorm in college (the dorm was all-male at the time) that met nightly at 10 pm (oh youth) to hear about the day and pray for another. I considered seminary at the time, but was led to graduate school instead. I was involved in campus ministry via the Episcopal Chaplaincy at UMass (I was in the Episcopal church at the time). Later, Kelly was instrumental in helping me mature in my faith. She especially helped me grow in my, still too weak, prayer life and personal discipline. She also encouraged me to dig deeper into reformed theology (she came from a Presbyterian background). I fought long and hard against believing in predestination until I finally let go of having to understand how God is sovereign and men are responsible; I came to simply accept that it is Biblical and, hence, true. God has also used marriage and my family to bring to light many of my sins (especially my impatience) and to grow in repentance.
I continued to learn and grow in my faith through various ministry opportunities such as Kelly and my ministry to Palmetto Place, a temporary home for abused and neglected children where we had a time of teaching and singing with them. I continued to grow through my time being an elder at Pilgrim Presbyterian Church.
When Kelly and I first came to Peace, we were warmly welcomed, made to feel at home, and were embraced as we are, especially in our community group. We continue to appreciate the life we have at Peace.
I was born in California and moved to New Jersey when I was three. My mom and dad divorced when I was five, so my mom and I, along with my six-month-old brother, moved in with my mom’s parents in Texas. The only thing that my grandparents insisted on was that when they went to church, we went to church with them, and Mom agreed.
Since Mom had to work, Grandmother took care of my brother and me during the day. Grandmother overflowed with love and joy. We would sing songs we sang at church; listen to sermons broadcast on the radio; listen to songs on Christian stations: my life was filled with talk about Jesus. Grandmother taught adult Sunday school for decades, so she knew how to share Christ, and she did.
In the evenings and on weekends, Grandfather would share the responsibility of taking care of me. He was now the only (and first) adult man in my life that could share his heart with me. He was what I needed in my life, a model of what a Christian man should be, how to live, how to take care of my grandmother and the rest of his family and how to love his church. I remember him on Sundays in church. He would be one of the speakers from the pulpit. I didn’t understand just what his role was in the service, but I knew it was part of what made him my Grandfather.
One Sunday in church when I was seven years old, communion was being served. I knew that I couldn’t take communion unless I was a Christian (my grandmother had taught me). I remembered the many times she also told me what I needed to do to become a Christian: I needed to admit that I was a sinner to God, believe that Jesus died in my place for the forgiveness of my sins and rose from the grave, and promise to turn away from my sins and ask Jesus to come into my heart. Grandmother looked forward to the day that I could claim that promise, and on that day I claimed that promise!
My life was to soon become much more difficult, and I needed to be as close to Jesus as I possibly could be.
When I was nine years old, my grandfather died at the age of 57. There was no warning about his heart problems. Grandmother and Mom were heartbroken, and I was, too. The one man in my life that I could talk with, hug, and do things together was gone. I didn’t have any other man to look up to as I did my Grandfather.
When I turned ten, Mom and my dad decided that I should start visiting my dad during the summer. By the time I was twelve, it would be most of the summer. My dad was not a Christian. He hated God. I was young, vulnerable, exposed to things I should never see or hear about, and always glad when I returned home to Mom and Grandmother.
When I was twelve, Mom remarried a nice gentleman who was a Christian, kind, and gracious, but he never could relate to me or my brother as a father.
When I was fifteen, I met some kids that attended a local Baptist church. They didn’t act like other high schoolers. They really did live out their faith wherever they were, whatever they said, whatever they did, and I was hooked. I asked Mom’s permission to attend this church, and to my surprise she agreed immediately. I began attending both church and Sunday school. There were a number of men in that church that took interest in me, and made the effort to meet with Mom and my stepfather to talk about me.
After joining the army at age seventeen and serving for four years, I returned home and began working for IBM. It was at the beginning of my IBM career that I met a wonderful girl in Rochester, Minnesota named Christine Praetorius. She was a Christian, quiet, shy, and just made my heart melt. She was a “preacher’s kid” as well. I liked what I saw and heard from her family and knew that God put her in my life at this specific point for a reason. We were married about twenty months later and returned to Texas to start a new life.
Over the years, we moved approximately every five years (starting in Texas, to California, to Texas, to Minnesota, to Texas, and finally to North Carolina). At each location we would find a church that we liked. I taught either middle school or high school Sunday school in three of the churches we joined. I felt called to teach because of the care I received from others in my church during my high school years. I wanted to make a difference in these young lives for Christ, that they would know Christ as their savior and know that he would always be with them through hard times in their lives, hard times that they didn’t even know they would eventually experience.
When we moved to Cary in 1985, we joined a church that we thought would serve our family well. Over time, we began to be concerned for the spiritual well-being of our three children. We wanted them to receive God’s word without societal spins to make the bible relevant to today’s culture. We decided to move to a church that was clear about what God’s Word says about us and our relationship with Him. We found what we were looking for when we found Peace Church. We thought that our kids would find changing churches difficult to do, but they just fit right in and loved it. Thank you, Lord!
My desire and my prayer are that God will give me the opportunity to work with families, particularly husbands, that are finding life difficult-to-unbearable for many different reasons. They may feel alone and cannot see where God is directing their lives. They may feel alone because they have no one to sit beside them and listen to them, to help point them to the possibilities that God gives to each of us. God put individuals with God-honoring skills in my life, and I’ve been very grateful to God for that help when I needed it. It’s now my turn to use and refine God-honoring skills that God is giving me to help others see God’s will for their life with a clearer view.
My name is Tim McDonald and I am a candidate for the office of Elder. My wife, Darla, and I have been married for 22 years and we have four children: Luke (18), Eva (16), Jonah (14), and Isaac (9). My family and I are originally from Annapolis, Maryland, and moved to Clayton, North Carolina in 2006. We eventually moved to Cary and began attending Peace Church in 2009. Soon after becoming a member of Peace Church I was elected to serve as a Deacon. During my six years on the Diaconate I served as the head of the Building & Grounds Committee and on the Peace Preschool board.
I do not remember a time in my life when I did not attend church, but I did not become a Christian until I was 17 years old. As a child and young teenager I thought I was a Christian since I attended church. But that changed when I met Darla and her family. We met in the youth group at the Methodist Church that both of our families attended. And through God’s providence, we became best friends. I began to spend more time with her and her family. Darla’s family was so different than mine. They didn’t just live for the Lord on Sunday, but every day. And their faith was genuine. Through Darla and her family I began to understand what a Christian was and I gave my life to the Lord. I do not remember the exact date or time but I do remember being in my room and asking the Lord to forgive me of my sins and asking Christ into my heart.
Darla and I married the year after we graduated from high school and we eventually began to disagree with some of the doctrines of the Methodist Church. Led by the Spirit, we decided to leave the Methodist Church. A friend of Darla recommended that we try a church near our home which happened to be a PCA church. Darla and I began attending and became members of Severn Run Evangelical Presbyterian Church (PCA) in 2000. I grew so much in my walk with the Lord while at Severn Run and in 2003 I completed officer training and was ordained a Deacon in the PCA church. I served on the Diaconate for three years before moving to North Carolina serving as the Chairman of the Deacons my last year at Severn Run.
Throughout my years as a Deacon, I have always said that an Elder had the tougher of the two leadership roles and that I wasn’t sure if I would ever be called to be an Elder, yet the Lord directs our steps, and so here I am before you as an Elder candidate. I truly love to mentor and shepherd people especially when I can share the gospel with them. I find great enjoyment in personal relationships and speaking with others about their desires or struggles.
Being a Deacon has definitely taught me how to meet the physical needs of others, but I have found that I desire to also teach and counsel people as well. I am sure the Lord has been preparing me for the role of Elder and I pray he gives me wisdom greater than Solomon so that I serve Him and Peace Church well in this new role if I am elected.
My name is Bill Stern. I am married to Teresa for 43 years now and we have one daughter, Beth, who is also an adult member of Peace Church. We live in downtown Apex in an old home that dates to the early 1900s. I retired from IBM 2 years ago now after nearly 41 years of service. As a family, we enjoy collecting antiques, gardening, beekeeping, and I enjoy maintaining our cars and home. Teresa is an avid gardener, raising all sorts of flowers, in addition to planting a large vegetable garden with many different types of heirloom tomatoes.
I was born into a loving home; however, my family did not attend church regularly. Our family moved around quite a bit when my brother Steve and I were young. Occasionally, my brother and I went to Sunday School. At one church we visited they gave me a Bible, which I knew was special and to treat with respect. However, it went unread for the most part. I think I did always believe there was a God. While I tried to be good growing up and felt that I knew right and wrong, I had no real awareness of sin and the need to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. This was soon to change.
When I was a junior in High School, I met Teresa who later would become my wife. She invited me to church, and I started to attend with her. After graduating High School, I attended N. C. State University where I met some Christians who were with the Navigators. They witnessed to me and told me that I was a sinner, who needed to accept Jesus as being God's son, and to ask him into my life as Savior. The church we attended had John 14:6 on the wall, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” After much prayer by Teresa and others, I asked Jesus into my life as Lord and Savior and accepted Him for who the Bible, God's inerrant Word, says he is: God's only begotten Son.
After we were married, we continued to attend the small church where we were married. I was called as a Trustee (Deacon) and later as a Deacon (Elder). While we were blessed by our time there, we felt led to find a new church fellowship. We were led to visit Peace Church and became members in 1986.
After joining Peace, our daughter Beth was born, and thank the Lord she came to saving faith and worships at Peace with us. Over the years, we have been involved at Peace in several ways. We have been members of a small group bible study. I was a member of the Deaconate and was the liaison to the building committee when we constructed the
first buildings at our current location. I have been involved in some of our service activities after major storms and other summer construction projects. A number of years ago, I was asked about helping to teach adult Sunday School. This was a big stretch for me as I do not consider myself a teacher. However, I agreed to try. Our class has been a real blessing to me in many ways.
Knowing Jesus has made a tremendous difference in my life, giving life meaning. While not having to worry about my eternal home is a great relief, that is only a part of what Jesus has meant to me. While I am motivated to grow as a Christian and live in accordance with His Word, I continually fall short. However, I know that God knows my struggles and forgives me when I repent because I know Jesus as Savior. I hold on to the Faith, knowing that Jesus is there through good and bad times. Being able to pray to God is a great privilege. Jesus is someone who listens to my prayers and knows my needs before I do. Over the years, the way God has answered prayers and provided for us so abundantly has been a great blessing and source of encouragement for us. I am very thankful that God has blessed me with a strong, Christian, wife who supports me in so many ways.
I am very humbled by the prospect of being called and serving as an elder. It is a position of great responsibility. If called, with God’s help, I will endeavor to serve in a manner worthy of the office.
My name is Chris Wright and I am a candidate for the office of Elder. My wife’s name is Julie and we have been married for almost 36 years. We have an adult son, Zachary, who lives in Mebane, NC, and is about to be married this September. Julie and I relocated to Apex from Granite Falls, NC in May of 2019. Julie is an Oncology nurse with Duke University and I am a self-employed General Contractor.
Prior to relocating to Apex in 2019, Julie and I were members at Peace from Spring 2015 until Spring 2017. After two years of maintaining two households and constantly traveling 3 hours each way between Granite Falls and Apex, we removed our home from the market and returned to Granite Falls. A year and a half later, we were able to sell our home and permanently move Apex. We re-joined Peace in 2019 and have been very blessed to be a part of the Peace Family.
Before coming to Peace, Julie and I were Charter Members of Grace Covenant, PCA in Hickory, NC for more than 16 years. While at Grace, I served one year as a Deacon and about 14 years as a Ruling Elder. I also served on numerous committees which included Building, Missions, Senior Pastor Search, and others. Julie and I were both Children’s Sunday School teachers for a time and I also taught Adult Sunday School periodically.
My Christian experience began when I was 6 years old. I lost my mother in an automobile accident on the day after my 6th birthday. As a result, my older sister, younger brother and I went to live with my maternal grandparents for the next several years. My grandparents were very active in the local Baptist Church. My siblings and I attended church with our grandparents regularly. Even after my father remarried and we had moved back in with him we continued to attend church with my grandparents. It was during my early teens that I made a public confession of faith and was baptized. I would later come to realize that that confession was mostly a result of fear and peer pressure. Fear, that if I wasn’t baptized I was doomed to eternal damnation and the peer pressure that I was somehow an outcast heathen because I had not yet joined the church. Then, as I approached my mid-teens, I realized that I could not meet the expectations of a sinless life or even the ability to desire such a state that I had come to believe was required. I left the church altogether, both physically and spiritually. It was not until my mid to late thirties that I would regularly attend church again.
In the mid to late 1990s, my wife and son began attending BSF where a very special group of ladies began to pray for me to come to know Christ. This intervention was not very welcomed by me, as I thought they were some kind of a cult and had no business interfering in my life. One of the ladies in this group, along with her husband and my wife conspired to ‘trick’ me into attending a Rosie Greer (of the LA Rams) function. I was all in! Thinking it was a football event. However, just a few minutes into the program I realized that I had been duped. This was rather a ‘come to Jesus’ event and I became instantly infuriated. But God had many different plans for the next few moments of my life than those I contemplated. As I looked around the room of hundreds of attendees, I spotted Jane and Richard Jordan. Jane and Richard, the parents of a high school girlfriend, whom I had not seen in many years, held a very special place in my heart. Jane was the only mother figure I had ever known and Richard was a man that I respected without reservation. All of my anger and rage disappeared in an instant. Richard and Jane were attending this program with the Reverend Ray Kruntorad, a PCA Plant Minister. It was that moment that my life changed forever and unbeknownst to me, my walk with the Lord began. I had been reunited with my “heart mother’, much to the disdain of my wife, who would later come to love and adore Jane as much as I did.
Days later Richard, one of the few men I could never refuse, invited me to attend Grace Covenant, PCA Plant Church, and I never turned back. At Grace, under the preaching, teaching, consoling, mentoring, and friendship of Pastor Ray, I came to a ‘saving faith’ of Christ as my Lord and Savior. The Lord brought me to the knowledge that all those years before, I was absolutely correct, I could not fulfill the sinless expectations I thought were required of a true Christian life. It was only through the work, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and my faith in him (also a gift and not of myself) could I ever become acceptable in the eyes of The Lord and worthy of eternal salvation.
Over the past twenty years or so in the PCA, I have come to a very deep and passionate love for the doctrines and government of the PCA. I am committed to supporting and upholding them to the best of my ability. I am also very aware of my total depravity and shortcomings. It is only by Christ working through me that I may become an effectual servant of the Lord at Peace, PCA.
I do not have a sensational testimony of conversion from a life of obvious decadence to one of faith in Jesus. I believe it is a blessing to not have lived the years of a lifestyle that would produce such a testimony -- the consequences are typically very painful. I believe that's partly why God gave us the commands He did. Not just because He wanted us to follow some set of rules for His sake, but so that we would be spared much pain and suffering. When we follow His ways, we are the ones who benefit. On the other hand, I really do have a sensational testimony. My outward appearance may not have been as severe as some others but having any sinner's heart turned towards Jesus is about as sensational as something can get. I am extremely thankful to have been raised by believing parents. Growing up attending church every Sunday -- I mean every Sunday, short of a truly debilitating illness -- I knew what the Bible said about Jesus, that He died on the cross, taking on the punishment I deserved because of my sins. That knowledge had enough of an impact on me to keep me moderately moral, but I did not know Him in a personal way.
During my high school years my best friend, Doug, and I started attending a church that had a fun youth group, primarily to play volleyball on Wednesday nights. We would often walk to church and back since it wasn't very far away, but one night we got a ride home from one of the leaders. After I got out of the car and went home, unbeknownst to me, Doug stayed out and chatted with the youth leader for a while. Later that night Doug came tapping on my window and I met him outside. He told me that after talking a while with the guys, he had prayed to receive Christ as his savior. I was shocked. I had never really thought about Doug not being a Christian. After all, we went to church together and I assumed he believed the same things I did and he wasn't a “bad” person or anything.
The experience that night exposed my ignorance about what it meant to be a Christian. I started thinking about it more and more. I began actually hearing what the preacher and youth leaders were saying about Jesus. God gradually changed me from having just knowledge about Jesus to actually believing and trusting in Him. It didn't happen at once at any specific point in time that I can recall, but I do remember that I began having a desire to read my Bible and pray. I actually ended up reading all the way through the Bible for the first time, highlighting passages with a colored marker. I wasn't just marking particularly interesting passages -- I was literally highlighting every verse I read. The inside of my Bible ended up looking like a rainbow.
So, that was then and this is now. It's easier to talk about things that happened when you were a kid than what's going on right now. The here and now is pretty personal. But I would like to say that God is and has been incredibly faithful to me over all my years. He has given me a wonderful wife, 3 wonderful children, and 5 adorable grandchildren. He Has provided financially and in every other way over all the years. During times of great struggle He has provided the comfort and strength of His presence through His Holy Spirit and through friends at church who know and love Him as I do.
I've been blessed to serve as Deacon and Elder at Peace Church for a number of years. This year I'm up for re-election for an additional 3 years. I enjoy serving God through my service at Peace and am grateful for this additional opportunity to do so.
I have been married to Carey Randall for 17 years and we have 3 children; Nathan (14), Luke (10), and Hannah (7). We have attended Peace since 2010. I recently reached my 10 year anniversary as a software developer for SAS. In my spare time I enjoy hiking with family, basketball, art, and music. I last served as a Deacon from 2013-2016.
I grew up in a Lutheran church. My grandfather was a Lutheran Pastor and was a huge influence on my life. I grew up attending his church with my family in Michigan. My grandmother was the organist and my parents were Sunday School teachers. This is where I received my knowledge of God and what Jesus has done for me. While I was in high school our family moved to Raleigh. It was a huge culture shock, but I quickly learned how to love eastern-style NC BBQ. I attended church every Sunday but otherwise was not very involved. When I went off to college at NC State, I rarely attended church. Shortly after college I met Carey and started attending church again. She was raised Lutheran and had also attended a PCA church in Birmingham during her college internship. The more serious our relationship became, the more important it became to find a church where we both felt we belonged. When we got engaged we looked into several churches. We became very active in a Methodist church that was close to home.
After several years it became apparent that I knew about God in my mind, but did not have Jesus in my heart. This was a dark period in my life and I felt very empty. I could not fill the void I had on my own. However, God was faithful and did not let me go. He used this time to strengthen my relationship with him, my wife, and my children. God taught me how to trust in him and I felt filled with the Spirit. In 2010 God led us to Peace and has blessed us in countless ways.
Since joining Peace, God has strengthened both my spiritual life and prayer life. I have become a better leader at home for my wife and kids. Reading the Bible and praying together as a family has become more important. Over the years I have realized the importance of including prayer in every aspect of life.
In 2013, I was nominated and felt called for the office of Deacon. I served 3 years and gained valuable experience during this time. During my 3rd year, I served as the mercy chair and learned a lot about how to care for people. After a short break, I again have a call on my heart to use these gifts for the Diaconate. I know I am not fit to serve God in my own strength. However, I know that having Jesus abide in my heart gives me that strength. When I have called out to God for the strength He has always come through.