Tom Hess: Head Pastor
Though he was raised in Alaska, Tom and his wife of 25 years, Kim, call Brazil home! “We’ve lived here for 17 years. We have raised our three children here, and I don’t want to live anywhere else! This is home, and I like it here.” He enjoys gardening, hunting, fishing, woodworking, reading, and coaching youth sports.
As a pastor, Tom loves learning and sharing the Truth of God’s Word in a simple, down-to-earth way. “I am completely energized when I or another person have that ‘light bulb moment’ – you know, where we say, ‘Oh, I get it! I never understood that before!’” He is even more excited when those life changing truths lead to life transformation. “We are here to help people grow one step closer to Jesus. That’s the bottom line. That’s what matters!”
And when asked about Berea, he responds, “I love the people! Berea is filled with caring, hard-working people. They are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. They will ‘move mountains’, so to speak, if it means making a difference in the lives of others, or helping the church move ahead in accomplishing our mission. The people of Berea are awesome!”
Prudence Bickhaus Martin: Worship Minister
A native of Quincy, IL, Prudence became enamored with music at a very young age and quickly understood that for her, music and God were nearly inseparable. Shortly after receiving her Bachelors in Worship Ministry from Lincoln Christian University, she made the transition from one corn field to the next and began calling Brazil – and Berea – her new home.
As the worship minister, she spends her time planning and preparing for services and connecting with the people of the church. Her hope is that the creative elements of the services will help people to engage with scripture and respond to God in new and thought-provoking ways. She is a teacher at heart and is incredibly passionate about helping the congregation of Berea explore and learn what it truly means to worship.
When she’s not in the office, she enjoy spending time watching Netflix with her husband Shobi, baking, reading, and searching for the perfect cup of coffee.
Cari Withers: Children’s Ministry Director
Cari grew up locally in Cory, Indiana on a hog farm with her really amazing parents and sister. Though she has followed her husband and his military career to Idaho and even to Germany, they are back in Clay County and enjoying the home they recently built. Cari & Dustin have been married nearly 20 years. They have two girls, Morgan and Amelia who they have been homeschooling since their days in Europe.
With a degree in Business Management as well as Elementary Education from St. Mary of the Woods, Cari is focused on making sure the children’s ministry meets the needs of Berea’s families and children. Her goal in this ministry is not only to bring children one step closer to Jesus, but to help them develop a personal relationship with Him so that they might know God on a personal level.
In Cari’s free time, she enjoys running, spending time with her family, eating pizza, drinking coffee by the fireplace and being outside.
Cathy Pirtle: Secretary
Though her responsibilities as Secretary/Communications are far from the romance and comedy of her favorite movie, The Princess Bride, Cathy feels blessed to be a part of a church family like Berea. “I love that Berea is a friendly church. The people are thoughtful to the needs of others and generous with their time and talents.”
As a Hoosier native, Cathy has been an integral part of the growth and transformation of Berea since 1996. As the “communication hub” at BCC, Cathy does more than simply answer phones. She wears many hats, adding value through information sharing, scheduling, staff assistance, as well as lending a compassionate ear from time to time.
When she is not in the office, you may find her reading, playing games with family and friends, or riding in the semi with her husband Rodney. With four children, eight grandbabies, and a loving husband, “every day is a blessing!”