Terry Taylor, Managing Editor
Terry Taylor became Managing Editor of Growing in Grace in January 2013. In his more than 40 year career, Terry has extensive experience writing children’s choir curriculum for LifeWay Christian Resources, composing an array of children’s music for Chorister’s Guild, and serving as Minister of Music to churches in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, and Oklahoma. In addition to his role at Growing in Grace, he serves as the Bi-Vocational Minister of Music at Tusculum Hills Baptist Church in Nashville, TN, and as Co-Conductor of the Children’s Freedom Choir, a group represented by more than 200 youth of 15 distinct ethnicities from 5 continents.
The son of a pastor, Terry grew up in south central Kentucky. He earned an Associate of Science from Cumberland University, Lebanon, TN; his Bachelor of Church Music from Belmont University in Nashville, TN; and his Master of Church Music with a conducting major from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.
James Barnard, Music Editor
James Barnard joined our team in October 2016 and brings a wide skill set to Growing in Grace. He is a pianist, vocalist, conductor, and music editor. For eight years, James was Church Choral Editor for Shawnee Press, a division of Hal Leonard Corporation, managing and producing choral and keyboard publications. He also regularly led reading sessions for Shawnee Press at conferences and workshops around the country. James has served as music minister for churches in Georgia, Tennessee, and Wisconsin and currently serves Community Baptist Church, Spring Hill, Tennessee. He has extensive experience in private teaching of piano and voice, as well as leading children’s and adult choirs.
A native of Loganville, GA, James received a Bachelor of Arts in voice and a Master of Music in church music from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.
Paula Farrar, Younger and Older Children Design Editor
Design Editor for Younger and Older Children since August 2013, Paula Farrar has more than 35 years experience in publishing children’s music. Prior to coming to Growing in Grace, Paula was a literary and music editor for preschool and children’s music curriculum products during her 25-year tenure at the Baptist Sunday School Board, now LifeWay Christian Resources.
A skilled accompanist and vocalist, Paula holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Samford University in Birmingham, AL. Having led children’s choirs for Southern Baptist and United Methodist churches for more than three decades, she currently serves as Children’s Choir Director for children in grades 1-6 at Bellevue Baptist Church in Nashville, TN.
Carol Dickerson, Preschool and Younger Children Design Editor
Carol Dickerson is the Preschool and Younger Children Design Editor at Growing in Grace, a position she began in Fall 2014. Prior to joining the Growing in Grace team, Carol served as the Junior Kindergarten through Second Grade Music Teacher at St. Paul Christian Academy in Nashville, TN, and as the Music Director at the Woodmont Baptist Weekday Preschool, where she developed and taught a music curriculum for infants through age five during her eleven year tenure.
Carol holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Music from Union University in Jackson, TN. She serves as pianist, Children’s Choir Coordinator, and Preschool Choir Leader at Woodmont Baptist Church in Nashville, where she and her husband, Richard, have served since 1997.
Dora Ann Purdy, Curriculum Consultant
With more than 40 years of preschool and children’s music experience, Dora Ann Purdy recently retired as Growing in Grace’s first Music Editor. Prior to her tenure with Growing in Grace, Dora Ann was Music and Recording Editor for Lifeway Christian Resources and taught general music at St. Paul Christian Academy, Nashville, TN. She is a popular leader and clinician for children’s choirs, music camps, festivals, and conferences.
A native of Hope, AR, Dora Ann holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and a Master of Music Education from the University of North Texas in Denton, TX. Currently, Dora Ann serves as Church Pianist, Children’s Choir Coordinator, and Director of Third and Fourth Grade Choir at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville, TN.
Tom McAfee, President and Chairman of Celebrating Grace
J. Thomas McAfee, III, is responsible for the initiation and development of the Celebrating Grace Hymnal released in March 2010. Currently, He serves as Chairman and President of Celebrating Grace, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing innovative and distinctive worship and church music resources. Under Tom’s leadership, Celebrating Grace has grown from its initial vision to publish over 1,400 hymn accompaniments and anthems, and to create Growing in Grace, a comprehensive children’s music curriculum, now in its fifth year of production.
A business graduate of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, Tom earned his Master of Business Administration from Mercer University’s Stetson School of Business and Economics in Atlanta, Georgia. He also earned a Financial Planning Certificate from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.
With a well‐nurtured entrepreneurial spirit, a wide range of organizations, institutions, and special initiatives benefit from Tom’s philanthropic leadership. He currently serves as the Chairman and President of Hallmark Systems, Inc., which operates adolescent Residential Treatment Centers, and as the Executive Director and Trustee of the McAfee Foundation. He also serves as a Trustee for Mercer University, Stratford Academy, and The Alliance for Christian Media in Atlanta. In past, Tom has served in a variety of capacities for many charitable and community-oriented organizations.
An ardent supporter of higher education, he established the Raymond C. Townsend Endowed Scholarship, in memory of his maternal grandfather, for students enrolled in the joint Master of Divinity/Master of Business Administration program at the McAfee School of Theology and the Stetson School of Business and Economics at Mercer. Along with his mother, Carolyn Townsend McAfee, and his wife, he provided the financial support to establish the James T. McAfee, Jr. Endowed Vision and Leadership Scholarship and the Townsend School of Music of Mercer University.
He is married to Julie Crangle McAfee and has two daughters, Zoe and Malin.
Mark Edwards, Vice President of Celebrating Grace
Mark Edwards served as Minister of Music at First Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee, for thirty years. He “retired” in October 2007, and became the Vice President of Celebrating Grace, Inc. Mark shepherded the production of the Celebrating Grace Hymnal (released in March 2010). Mark has been a frequent choral clinician, conference leader, literary writer, and musical arranger. He is the co-author of Notes from Susie: Choosing Gratitude in Life’s Low Places, a devotional book that chronicles the journey he and his late wife experienced throughout her battle with terminal cancer.
Kim Hester, Worship Resources Coordinator
A part of the team since 2008, Kimberly Hester is the Worship Resource Coordinator and Licensing Administrator for Celebrating Grace. Kim is a vital facilitator in the many functions of Growing in Grace. A South Carolina native, Kim has worked as a ministry assistant to churches in both South Carolina and Tennessee since receiving her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with an additional emphasis in applied piano from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Presently, she serves as the Church Pianist for First Baptist Church of Nashville, Tennessee.
Kim and her husband, Jimmy, are the parents of two grown sons and the grandparents of two. When not working or playing piano, Kim can be found scrapbooking or enjoying her grandchildren’s sports games.
David Bolin, Electronic Design Editor and Worship Matrix Developer
C. David Bolin, Electronic Design Editor for Celebrating Grace, has for the past eleven years been the Minister of Music at First Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. A graduate of Baylor University, David received his Master of Church Music from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has served churches in both Hawaii and Texas.
David is the developer of the Worship Matrix, the online service planning counterpart to the Celebrating Grace Hymnal. He is also responsible for the Celebrating Grace website, its conception and maintenance.
David’s music has been published by Abingdon, Word, LifeWay, and Beckenhorst Press, and he has also written numerous articles for church music journals and other publications. He co-authored with Terry York the book, “The Voice of Our Congregation”. Hymns by Bolin and York often appear in Christian Reflection, the journal of Baylor University’s Center for Christian Ethics, and sixteen of their hymns are published in the collection “God in Time”.
David and his wife, Julie, have two adult children, Rachel and Daniel Bolin.
Mary Ruth Welch, Marketing Associate
Mary Ruth Welch, our Marketing Associate, joined the Celebrating Grace team in 2014. Prior to joining Celebrating Grace, Mary Ruth was an Associate for JEJ Artists, interned with the Mercer/Macon Youth Symphony Orchestra, completed her student teaching experience with the First Presbyterian Day School band program, and served as a clarinet, woodwind chamber group, and drum major instructor with various band programs from the Bibb County School System in Macon, Georgia. She also served as the Interim Children and Youth Director at her home church, Lizella United Methodist Church in Lizella, Georgia.
Mary Ruth Welch holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Mercer University in her hometown of Macon, GA, and a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.
Tiffany Hitchcock, Customer Care Director and Event Coordinator
Tiffany Hitchcock is the Customer Care Director and Event Coordinator for Celebrating Grace. In addition to her passion for children’s music and worship, Tiffany brings to the position experience drawn from her time teaching in elementary and middle school choir programs in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and four years working with the Baptist Convention of New Mexico as a Children’s Music Clinician.
Tiffany graduated summa cum laude from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. In the course of her work with children’s choir programs, Tiffany also obtained her Level 2 Kodály certification.
Presently, Tiffany serves as the Children’s Choir Coordinator at New Providence Baptist Church in Smarr, Georgia. In her spare time, Tiffany enjoys sewing, crocheting, and cooking, and appreciates American folk arts and music.
Anna Beth Shepard, Customer Care Associate
Robert Williams, Distribution and Warehouse Manager
Robert Williams has been a vital part of the Celebrating Grace family from the inception of the Hymnal. Heading all distribution and logistics, Robert is the heart of the Celebrating Grace warehouse. Originally from Selma, Alabama, Robert and his wife, Jean, have five children, reside in Georgia, and are active leaders in McDonough Christian Church.