FBC is blessed with a wonderful staff. Whether in pastoral ministry or administrative support, full-time or part time, these are the faces you’ll see around the church during the week.
Senior Pastor: Dr. David L. Wheeler has recently completed ten years as senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Portland. Pastor David loves the diversity, the energy and the challenges of the City. He has pastored churches large and small on both the East and the West coasts. He combines a call to faith in Christ with a passion for justice. Here in Portland he has been engaged in the work of Jobs with Justice and has been co-director of Downtown Compassion, an annual free medical / dental / visual clinic — with referrals and follow-up — that is hosted by First Baptist Church and supported by an ecumenical coalition of churches.
Pastor David is a graduate of Georgetown College (B.A.), Yale University Divinity School (M.Div.) and the Graduate Theological Union (Th.D.). In addition to pastoral ministry, he has held faculty positions at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Fuller Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary / Southern California. He has also held visiting professorships at seminaries in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia and Russia. His sermons, essays and academic articles have been published in a number of theological journals and magazines. For example, see “The Constituents of the Beloved Community,” American Baptist Quarterly, Summer 2016 and “Christian Faith and Earth Day,” Baptist Peacemaker, Spring 2017.
Pastor David is a runner and backpacker, and is a founding member of the American Baptist Creation Justice task force. He is married to Carol, who has had a career in mental health administration, serves on the board of the American Baptist Seminary of the West, and is co-chair of the local arrangements committee for the 2017 American Baptist Mission Summit here In Portland. Their daughter Clare is married to James Chin and is a Ph.D. student at the University of New Orleans. Their son Micah is an artist and musician, also residing in New Orleans.
Associate Pastor for Cambodian Ministry: Rev. Peter Im has served our Cambodian Ministry since 1986. In addition, he serves as Vice President of Cambodian Ministries for Christ. In 1974, he became a Christian in Cambodia before the country turned to communism. He received training as a pastor in a refugee camp in Thailand and at Multnomah Seminary in Portland. His passion is to lead Cambodians to Christ, the only way to God. He and his wife Shirley are the parents of three children. He enjoys running and gardening in his spare time.
Associate Pastor: Rev. Chris Shade graduated in 2011 from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley with a Master of Divinity. He has served in youth and family ministry at Shell Ridge Community Church in the SF Bay Area before coming to First Baptist in 2015. Before he was a pastor, Chris was a New York University-trained actor and director participating in productions of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Catch-22” and “Hamlet,” among others. He brings his skills from the acting world into ministry with the goal of creating engaging narratives to draw listeners closer to God and deepen their faith. In 2008 Chris married Renee Barillot who has recently graduated from the Presidio Graduate School with a Master of Business Administration. They live with their adorable mutt, Baxter, and their even more adorable son, Brian.
Minister of Music: Travis Hatton holds a Masters of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Bachelors of Music degree (Magna cum Laude) in Music Theory and Composition from the University of the Pacific. Mr. Hatton as appeared as a guest conductor with orchestras in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as with orchestras in Alaska, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas, California, Massachusetts, and Indiana. Before coming to FBC, Mr. Hatton served as Director of Music and Art at Tabor Heights United Methodist Church in Portland. He considers it a great pleasure and a blessing to be able to serve in ministry through music, which he believes to be one of the most important and beautiful blessings God has given to mankind. In addition to his position at FBC, Mr. Hatton is currently the Conductor of Portland’s Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra, Director of Orchestras at Valley Catholic School (in Beaverton) and Conductor of the Vancouver Children’s Opera. He lives in Vancouver with wife, Lynelle, and two children, Kyle and Kara.
Praise Accompanist: Toni Pfau serves as accompanist with the Voices in Praise at our casual (9:00) worship services. Outside of church, she works as a pianist for the Oregon Repertory Singers and musician for the Crestwood care center. She is also an independent music instructor for children, teaching piano, keyboard, voice, and guitar. Seasonally, you can also find her playing piano at Nordstrom and at the Portland Airport. Toni attended George Fox University, majoring in music performance.
Administrative and Lay Staff
Facilities and Events Manager: Keith Ponce grew up in Portland, and worked in the furniture industry for 34 years.
Business Administrator: Cathy Francis lives in Beaverton with her husband Rick. She has two grown children. Cathy loves to read just about anything, and has occasionally been caught reading the dictionary for fun. She also loves to work in her vegetable garden, knit, crochet, spin and tat (Remember tatting? Your grandmother probably did that!). She also loves to put things in order, which works out well for her job. Cathy spends some of her free time cruising the internet, finding all sorts of interesting things and trying to keep ahead of her kids in “coolness” factor. They don’t care, but that’s only because she’s winning.
Drop-in Ministry Director: Jack Brophy heads up the organization and administration of our feeding ministry, including co-ordination with the Oregon Food Bank and other social-service organizations.
Food Services Director: Mary Olson is the “kitchen Czarina,” responsible for monthly Sunday dinners, Wednesday evening meals, and other church meals. She also co-ordinates the volunteers in the kitchen and keeps the church running on a full stomach.
Graphic Communications Specialist: Jason Chastain lives in Portland with his wife, Kathleen. He has a degree in Graphic Design and is the webmaster for this site. Jason is also the Assistant Business Administrator.
Administrative Assistant: Rebecca Christensen is a native Oregonian and lives in Portland with her loving husband. Rebecca is a gamer at heart, both table-top and console. Always having a great laugh with friends and family.