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Servant Leadership Council Member Bios

View the bios of our current SLC members

Marcia Barber - Chair

A native of Tennessee, I am a preacher's daughter, baptized by my father at age 11. A career advancement opportunity for my husband, Mike, brought our family to Richmond in 1991. We visited Gayton Baptist Church in 2012, realized we found our church home, and became actively involved in bible studies, mission opportunities, and church ministries.


After 28+ years in the insurance industry, I retired in 2017. Mike and I have been married 53+ years and have three adult sons, three special “daughters” and five amazing grandchildren. I enjoy cooking, reading, bike riding, and daily walks.

Kandra Brummett - Vice Chair

I have been a member at Gayton for about eight years. I currently serve as a Deacon and on the ministry team at Sunrise Villa Assisted Living. You can usually find me worshipping in the Celebration service.  

I am a native Richmonder and a graduate of Longwood College. I work at John Tyler Community College as Graduation Coordinator. My favorite pastime is relaxing with a book and a cup of tea. 

Marybeth Essex

I have been a member of Gayton since 2006. My husband, Jay, and I have been married for 28 years, and we have two children. Megan just graduated from JMU, and Sam just finished his first year at Christopher Newport. Both children have grown up at Gayton and are also members.

I am a graduate of JMU with a degree in English and Education. During my teaching career, I have taught a variety of ages from preschool (at AGAPE) through high school. Since 2014, I have been employed as the Director of a daily preschool program at another local church.

At Gayton, I have served as chair of the AGAPE/SPACE/Quest Board, as a Deacon, on the Nexus Guest Services Team, with the youth, during VBS, on the youth renovation team, the youth pastor search team, and mission trips to Panama. Jay and I facilitate a couples' small group and value the lifelong relationships developed by "connecting small."

Anne Hill

I have been a member of Gayton since the late 90’s, and have served on the Stewardship Task Group, Missions & Evangelism Council, and the Discipleship Council, as well as singing in the choir and occasionally teaching a Sunday school class. My husband Palmer and I have been married for 27 years and our son Zach grew up in the church, was baptized here and is also a member of Gayton. 


After graduating from JMU and working for a few years, I attended University of Richmond for an MBA and Law degree. I worked for a law firm for a time and then moved to insurance companies, where I’ve handled malpractice claims against lawyers for over 30 years. I am now working part time and planning to retire in 2025.


Over the years, I’ve been blessed to have many opportunities to reach out to church members/attendees as well as to the local community, to serve and spread the good news that Jesus loves each of us and has a plan to transform our lives. These have included jail ministry in Richmond city jails through their chaplain, craft and cooking ministry, working with challenged teens at Jackson Field Homes, and most recently meeting with ladies in recovery through the True Recovery program here in Richmond. I look forward to continuing to serve.


Scott Johnson

After graduating college and law school at the University of Richmond, my wife Sharon and I built our home in Montpelier. We joined Gayton in the mid 1990s and have raised two daughters, Amanda and Sarah who are also members of Gayton. I have served in a number of capacities at Gayton including coordinating youth mission construction trips, being ordained as a deacon, serving on the initial SLC, serving a trustee to now chairing the SLC. In recent years I have coordinated the couples mission trip to the Eastern Shore of Virginia where we serve veterans and their families. The people on the shore are great as are their needs. I have built lasting friendship with those we have served. It is amazing how renovating a bathroom, building a handicap ramp or even a fresh coat of paint can bring so much happiness and reward. I enjoy the outdoors as an avid black powder hunter or catching a few bass out of our pond. 2019 has been a big year for our family with my youngest daughter graduating nursing school from the University of Michigan to my oldest daughter marrying her college sweet heart, Christian, from William and Mary.

Eric Perkins

My wife, Chrissie, and I have been members at Gayton Baptist Church for over 20 years. Our two daughters, Alexandra (19) and Madison (14), have grown up at Gayton and were baptized here. Over the years I have enjoyed various Sunday school classes, men’s bible study groups, volunteering with youth and Feed My Starving Children events, and supporting other church ministry efforts such as the Gayton Cares Food Pantry and Jazz Nativity.


I grew up in Bluefield, WV, and went to college and law school at the University of Virginia. I have lived in the Short Pump area since 1996, and I practice small business and nonprofit law through my firm, Perkins Law, PLLC. I am a charter member and officer of the Rotary Club of Short Pump. I am an avid tennis player and actively involved in the tennis community in various capacities, including high school tennis coach at Deep Run High School and chair of the national Sportsmanship Committee for the United States Tennis Association.

Thomas Sprouse

My wife (Suzanne) and I joined Gayton Baptist Church in 2005. We have 3 boys, Fisher 15, Tucker 12, and Ford 9. I grew up at Cool Spring Baptist Church, where I accepted Jesus Christ at age 8. I enjoy attending many different churches to hear The Word. I have been blessed to serve on the Tool Box Ministries, Pastor Search Committee and STG. I think, ultimately, we need to reach those who don’t know Jesus - and remind them that Mathew 7:7 says Seek and You Will Find- not might Find! The church should offer resources and guidance on this spiritual journey. I am humbled and honored to be considered for the SLC. I will do my best to honor Him who we serve!

Melissa Strong - Secretary

I grew up in the Baptist Church and accepted Christ as Savior in childhood. I have been a member of Gayton since 2008 and was an administrative staff member from 2009-2016. Previous work experience includes inventory management, forecasting and international customer service management in the chemical industry. I most enjoy spending time with my husband, Wes, our two daughters, Amanda and Emily.