Martha was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Her family has been Methodist for several generations; her great-uncle Rev. Henry Vail a Minister in the North Texas Conference for many years. Martha graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1980 with a degree in Molecular Biology. She married Chris in 1981 and they began their family with the births of Amanda in 1985 and Rachel in 1987. Though she had two young children, a husband and a mortgage, Martha finally heard God’s call into ministry and entered Perkins School of Theology in 1989. She received a Masters of Theological Studies in 1996 and a PhD in Hebrew Bible in 2000.

Martha’s first appointment was as a Student Pastor to the Windom Charge in Fannin County where she pastored four small churches from 1991 to 1993 and had a third child, Christopher. She moved to Greenland Hills United Methodist Church in 1993 as the Youth Pastor, built the children’s program as the Minister to Children and then worked as an Intern Pastor. Martha spent 5 months in Horatio, Arkansas in 1996 as an Interim Pastor and then returned to the North Texas area. After finishing her dissertation in 2000 and receiving the PhD in Hebrew Bible, she began as a part-time Pastor at Oak Grove United Methodist Church. A small rural church in the path of growth, Oak Grove doubled its worship attendance in two years, built a new sanctuary, and decided to move to a full-time pastor. Martha was appointed as that pastor and the church continued to grow for the next 4 years.

In June of 2006, Martha was appointed as Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Bowie, and moved there with her husband Chris and son Christopher, the only child left at home. During her tenure at Bowie, Martha concentrated on building the youth program and bringing new and younger people into the church. She also became heavily involved in the community as a member of Rotary, a volunteer at the Bowie Mission, a cheering fan at football games, and Cubmaster of the Cub Scout Pack among other things.

After a brief appointment at Spring Valley UMC as the Associate Pastor, Martha came to Leonard in July 2010.

Now in her third year at FUMC Leonard, Martha is enjoying the community and the congregation. She is leading the congregation to a renewed focus on reaching out to the community and to those who have no church home. Her passion is to introduce people to Jesus Christ whether through preaching, teaching, mission work or social media.

Much of Martha’s post-seminary education has been in the areas of Family Systems as applied to the church including Religion and Dispute Resolution at SMU-in-Legacy. She was one of the first in the North Texas Conference to go through the New Church Start Institute.

While a baby boomer by birth, Martha has embraced the digital age with enthusiasm. She has developed websites at three of the small churches she has pastored that have attracted younger people to the church. She has taught online courses for and is developing an online bible study for youth at Leonard. Currently fluent in blogging, facebooking, texting, and tweeting Martha looks forward to whatever the next way of communicating will be!