Alumni

Aaron Coyle-Carr ’12

Aaron Coyle-Carr has begun a two-year term as a pastoral resident at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. At Samford he double majored in religion and classics and was part of the University Fellows program. He holds the M.Div. from Candler School of Theology where he won the John Owen Smith Award for Excellence in Preaching. Aaron is also involved in the CBF Fellows program, a Cooperative Baptist initiative that helps young clergy make healthy transitions from seminary into parish life. His wife Leanna Coyle-Carr ’12 was also a religion major; she is a M.Div/M.A. student at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

Jenny Eaton Dyer ’99

Jenny Eaton Dyer is Executive Director of Hope Through Healing Hands, a Nashville-based global health organization committed to improving the quality of life for communities around the world using health as a currency for peace. She earned a master of theological studies degree at Vanderbilt Divinity School (2001), and a Ph.D. in history and critical theories of religion at Vanderbilt University (2007). She also teaches Global Health Politics and Policy as a Lecturer in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt School of Medicine. She and her husband, John, have two sons, Rhys and Oliver.

Justin Gambrell ’07

Justin Gambrell is associate pastor at Pine Terrace Baptist Church in Milton, Florida. He went into the ministry directly after graduation from Samford and earned an M.Div. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary while serving churches in Alabama and Florida.  He and his wife Jenny have three children, Jackson, Colson, and Madison.

Tyler Mayfield ’02

Tyler Mayfield is A.B. Rhodes Associate Professor of Old Testament and Faculty Director of the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is the author of Literary Structure and Setting in Ezekiel (Mohr Siebeck, 2010) and is currently preparing Unto Us a Child Is Born: Isaiah, Advent, and Our Jewish Neighbors for Eerdmans. He is a regular contributor to WorkingPreacher.org. He earned a Masters of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School and the Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University. His wife, Lauren Jones Mayfield ’03, was also a religion major.  She is associate pastor at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.  She has previously served as pastor of Lynnhurst United Church of Christ in Louisville and director of worship at Riverside Church in New York City. They have three children.

Katrina Paxson ’07

Katrina Rodger Paxson is pastor of Beulah United Methodist Church in Valley, Alabama.  She earned her M.Div. from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and has served as associate pastor for discipleship at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. She and her husband, Justin, have two children.

Wes Spears-Newsome ’13

Wes Spears-Newsome is currently Associate Pastor for Community and Youth Ministry at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina. He earned his M.Div. degree from Duke Divinity School with concentrations in both Baptist theology and history as well as Christian Education. He has written for Baptist News Global and published sermons with the Academy of Preachers. He and his wife, Meg, live in Cary, North Carolina.

Chris Thomas ’06

Chris Thomas is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Williams in Jacksonville, Alabama. He earned the M.Div. at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University (2009). Prior to coming to First Baptist, he served churches in Anniston, Alabama and Crawford, Texas. He is past-president of Interfaith Ministries of Calhoun County, a religion contributor to The Anniston Star, and is a Key Voice Blogger for Day1.org. He and wife Sallie live in Jacksonville, Alabama with their son, Kohl.