Welcome new GMR elders and diaconate leaders!

by on March 23, 2021

We are excited to share the following nominated candidates have completed their training for the role of elder, deacon or deaconess. Read on see their familiar faces and read about their heart for ministry at GMR.  A Congregational Meeting for members to vote was held on Sunday, April 25. We look forward to their installation services soon!

  • David White (Elder)
  • Matt Ballance (Deacon)
  • David Parker (Deacon)
  • Julie Ledford (Deaconess)
  • Sheryl Mathis (Deaconess),

We would like to thank the following leaders for their time of service on either the Session or Diaconate but due to various reasons they are no longer able to actively serve in their leadership role.

  • Heidi Williams (Deaconess)
  • Tony Rickman (Deacon)
  • Mary Linville (Deaconess)
  • John Morris (Elder)
  • Matt Fuller (Elder)
  • Brian Lawler (Elder)
  • Britt Peterson (Elder)

After many years of service as elders, Walt Childs and Tom Ross have moved into the emeritus status and are no longer actively serving as elders. We appreciate their service and contributions to our Session.

Meet our Newest leadership candidates:

David WhiteDavid White (Elder)

Please tell us about your family.
Peggy and I have been married for 38 years. We have a grown son who is married and currently teaching at a school in Shenzhen China. We live in Arden with two beagles and a turtle.

Please tell us about your career status or occupation.
I retired in March 2020 having worked in higher education administration for most of my career. I spent the last 28 years serving as the Executive Director of Research & Planning at A-B Tech.

How long have you been a Christian?
I have been a Christian since 1967.

Please share about your ministry experience inside or outside of GMR.
While in college, I helped lead Campus Life/Youth for Christ groups in several small towns and served for a year as a youth pastor. Other experiences include serving as an office manager/counselor for a Christian counseling service, leading and participating in small group bible studies, and teaching children’s Sunday school classes. I have served as a volunteer and board member for Eblen Charities for the past 25 years and am actively involved with Instruments of Joy - a Nashville-based ministry that distributes musical instruments to those in need around the world. I have participated in a number of classes at Grace and have served at the information desk on Sunday mornings.


Matt Ballance (Deacon)

Please tell us about your family.
I am 37 years old and live in Hendersonville. I am fortunate enough to be married to Jessica, and I have two boys: Fletcher (6) and Levi (2).

Please tell us about your career status or occupation.
I work for Asheville Fire Department, where I have served for the last 13 years, and I currently am an Engineer on Ladder 1 in downtown. I have also served for the last 8 years as Secretary/Treasurer for the Asheville Fire Fighters Association.

How long have you been a Christian?
I grew up in a PCUSA church outside of Raleigh, NC and have been a Christian since my youth. With that being said, it has been in the last decade that I have truly started to give Christ and my faith the attention that it deserves.

Please share about your ministry experience inside or outside of GMR.
I have served inside of GMR as a Flock Advocate for the last 2 years. I have also been involved with GMR's Missional Communities, GMR's Mens Ministry, and have helped out at various times in Children's Ministry.


David Parker (Deacon)

Please tell us about your family.
Rebecca and I have been married for 40 years. We have three daughters, a son and five grandchildren. Three of our children live around Raleigh and the other lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

Please tell us about your career status or occupation.
I retired 4 years ago after a 31 year career in pharmaceutical sales. I work for the Hospice Home Store and still continue to do some “handyman” work.

How long have you been a Christian?
Rebecca and I became Christians right before we got married.

Please share about your ministry experience inside or outside of GMR.
I led Sunday School for our high schoolers at our first church in Jacksonville. Later I was a YoungLife leader at North Buncombe High school. Then I served as committee chair. At Grace we serve as greeters, flock advocates and I count the offering.


Julie Ledford (Deaconess)

Please tell us about your family.
My husband Jerry and I met as music majors at Mars Hill College. We have been married 42 years and have three adult children (Scott, Wesley and Megan) and three grandchildren (Shannon, Clark and Scarlett).

Please tell us about your career status or occupation.
I am a retired elementary music teacher- the best and hardest job in the world! I play French horn with the Brevard and Hendersonville Symphonies. In retirement, Jerry and I enjoy reading, cooking, hiking and travelling.

How long have you been a Christian?
My Christian journey has been coming on so gradually, I can't fix a date, time or place. Looking back I realize Jesus was calling me my whole life. I especially felt God's presence and guidance as I was raising my children. I continue to grow in wisdom and love through the wonderful community of faith that is Grace Mills River.

Please share about your ministry experience inside or outside of GMR.
God has blessed me so much, I want to serve Him by serving others. I was raised in the Methodist church and was a Sunday School/Bible School teacher, children's choir director, and a member of Moms in Touch. At Grace I have been involved in the women's and children's ministry, small groups and Knickers for New Life.


Sheryl Mathis (Deaconess)

Please tell us about your family.
Ed and I have been married for 42 wonderful years. We have 3 adult children who are living at home and are still working on becoming independent. Through the years we have had several "bonus" children-foster children, international students, college students etc. The latest is an 18 year old who has been with us full time since COVID hit.

Please tell us about your career status or occupation.
We are semi-retired and spend our time these days running 3 vacation rentals on Airbnb.

How long have you been a Christian?
I was raised in a Catholic home, church and school. I became a Christian as an young teen when I was exposed to other believers at the neighborhood Methodist church. I was completely smitten with Jesus when I encountered the gospel. I embraced it wholeheartedly but without completely understanding it. I'm still learning about Jesus and growing in my faith 45ish years later.

Please share about your ministry experience inside or outside of GMR.
We have been members of the PCA for about 40 years. For about a decade (mid 80s to mid 90s) we were missionaries with Mission to the World. We served in a cooperative agreement with Wycliffe Bible Translators in central Africa and then with Trans World Radio in southern Europe. Our journey with GMR started in 2009 and we joined the following year. During our time here I have worked in the Children's Ministry, served as a greeter and in the Grace Cafe. We have been active in several small groups. I love our GMR home and look forward to what the Lord has for our church family in the future.