The Reverend Doctor Matthew R. Rasure is the 26th minister of the First Baptist Church of Medford. He is married to the Reverend Rachael Pettengill-Rasure, who is pastor at the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Milton, MA. Together they are the parents of John ("Jack") and Magdalena ("Maggie").
Matt is a jack-of-all-trades, passionate about community involvement, environmental consciousness, deep learning, and helping people and institutions to live fully into their vocations.
In addition to his duties as minister and Executive Director of the First Baptist Church of Medford, he serves as President of the Board for the Center for Career Development and Ministry, an ecumenical non-profit dedicated to helping clergy in the Mainline traditions to thrive throughout their entire careers, from ordination to retirement. He also serves as the Treasurer of the Conference of Baptist Ministers in Massachusetts.
In his spare time, Matt loves to cook with his wife, and they are both avid fans of early and Baroque music, particularly the harpsichord.
With undergraduate training as a mathematician, Rev. Matt is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Harvard University (A.M. & Ph.D.). His graduate work was in the Harvard department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Rev. Matt's first book on priesthood in the Old Testament is under revision and slated for publication with Fortress Academic. He is researching his second book exploring the intersections of rationality, violence, mental illness, and priesthood in ancient Israel. You can reach him via email@example.com or friend him on FACEBOOK.
The Rev. Dr. Florence King is an American Baptist Minister, a graduate of Andover-Newton Theological Seminary, and a consistent presence in many of the Baptist church's in Massachusetts where she as preached, trained, and served as itinerant pastor. She has received numerous awards and citations for her dedicate church and charitable work. She's a past president of the West Medford Senior Club and past President of the NAACP. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for Action for Boston Community Development, ABCD. In 2012, she received her Life Membership from the Mystic Valley Branch of the NAACP.
Pastor Gregory Sakal is a native of New Jersey. He holds a BA degree in Music History, and a Masters of Library Science Degree, both from Rutgers University in New Brunswick. After a career in and around academic libraries and information systems that took him to Wisconsin and later California, Greg moved to Cambridge in 1992 to attend Episcopal Divinity School. He obtained his Masters of Divinity degree in 1995.
In September 2009, Greg accepted an invitation from Hill Memorial Baptist Church in Allston as “Bridge” pastor and then as settled pastor in March 2010. Pastor Greg retired from The Hill in May 2019, and is now serving as an Affiliate pastor here at FB Medford. On a denominational level, Greg served on the board of the Boston Southwest Association from 2015 through his retirement in 2019.
The Rev. Dr. A. Rand Peabody and his wife, Sally, have been Chestnut Street neighbors of First Baptist Church since the 1990's. Though members act Old South Church in Boston (UCC), they have been attending services at First Baptist quite regularly during the past few years, enjoying the warm personal fellowship of the congregation, the worship leadership of the the Rev. Matthew Rasure, and the excellent series of concerts that the church has been hosting, and hopefully will soon be able to offer again.
Rand had a long career in pastoral ministry, beginning with an ecumenical ministry-at-large focused on the youth culture of a town in New Jersey, continuing with a Pastorate in Flushing, Queens, and followed by a new-church start in Connecticut. After completing graduate work in pastoral counseling, Rand embarked on a career as a specialized Interim Pastor, serving with fifteen different United-Church-of-Christ congregations in Maine and Massachusetts. He focused on the spiritual, systemic, and structural dynamics of churches passing through times of pastoral transition.
Dr. Holly Zagaria serves as a singer (Mezzo-Soprano), pianist, organist, music director, adjudicator, clinician, educator, and vocal pedagogue, and performs regularly in all capacities.
Holly is grateful to have been a student of former FBC Director of Music, Miss Eleanor Babikian, who introduced Holly to madrigal singing at Wakefield High School in the 1980s. Early Music is Holly's first love in singing, and the influence of "Miss B" has played no small role in her musical life. Miss Babikian played a recital for Holly in her senior year, and anyone interested in hearing Miss Babikian play again can watch the VHS tape! Holly could not be more delighted to be serving as a music minister at the First Baptist Church! She received a full scholarship for her undergraduate degree in Music Performance (Voice) from the University of New Hampshire, and earned her M.M. (Master of Music) and D.M.A. (Doctorate of Musical Arts) from Boston University. She teaches Voice, Fundamentals of Theory, Ear Training, and Opera Ensemble at Salem State University, and has taught Introduction to Music in previous semesters. Dr. Zagaria joined the Voice Faculty at Gordon College in September, 2019 and has also served on the faculties of Suffolk University, Emerson College, University of Massachusetts/Boston and New England Conservatory/DCE.
Ms. Picerno studied at New England Conservatory in Boston receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance. She has been involved in performing sacred music in churches throughout Rhode Island and Massachesetts from a young age, working with many renowned directors and organists. She was a member of the Rhode Island Civic Chorale, and as also appeared in opera performances with Artist’s Internationale in Rhode Island and in musical theatre productions at Giordano’s Dinner Theatre in Massachesetts.
Ms. Picerno has attended the McClosky Institute for Voice and continues to study vocal technique. She has been singing and coaching the choir in vocal technique at First Baptist Church for over 20 years as well as teaching piano and voice privately. Ms. Picerno also holds a Masters of Education in Early Childhood from Lesley University and teaches at The Centre School in Milton, where she has implemented a music curriculum for toddler and preschool age children.
She has studied voice with Susan Clickner and Bonnie Pomfret. She has sung under the direction of and in collaboration with Lorna Cooke DeVaron, Donald Polumbo, Ronald Morris, and Alexander Peloquin.
Dr. Crandall graduated with a degree in organ literature and performance from Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester in the class of the late Russell Saunders. She has taught music in Kingsway College, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, Greater Boston Academy, Stoneham, MA and as a Musical Specialist in the public school districts of Lawrence,MA, and Worcester, MA. She has been music director at the First Baptist Church, Medford, MA, since 2006.
Dr. Crandall studied Choral Conducting at Royal School of Church Music, Croydon, England.; Music Analysis and French solfege’ at the American Conservatory, Fontainebleau, France (w/ Nadia Boulanger and Annette Dieudonné) and Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA; Theory/Analysis Lessons with Dr. Arthur Komar, Boston , MA; Choral Directing/Voice Building at Lehrgang für Chorleitung und Chorische Stimmbildung, (Choral Directing/Voice Building) St. Moritz, Switzerland; Education Through Movement: Foundation at High/Scope Educational Research Foundation; and Vocal production at McClosky Institute of Voice, Boston, MA; She holds Kodály Level I, II & III certificates from Kodály Institute, New England Conservatory of Music. Instructional Software, Internet and Digital Media was studied at The Midi Schoolhouse.
Kodály Institute, New England Conservatory of Music, Kodály Level I, II & III
The Midi Schoolhouse – Instructional Software, Internet and Digital Media
High/Scope Educational Research Foundation – Education Through Movement: Foundation
McClosky Institute of Voice, Boston, MA
She studied piano and organ under Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse, Frank Araujo, Barclay Wood, George Faxon, Emory Fanning, and Russell Saunders.