Reverend F. Todd Parrish has been named Director of Church Relations and Major Gifts Officer, and his wife Merinda has been named Major Gifts Liaison at Welch College, according to David Williford, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Parrish is currently Senior Pastor of First Free Will Baptist Church, Washington, North Carolina, and Mrs. Parrish is a national board certified English teacher at Bear Grass Charter School in Bear Grass, NC. The Parrishes will complete their current responsibilities in December of this year and will assume their duties at Welch in January.
“Todd and Merinda will bring their infectious excitement about the ministry of Welch to their new roles here,” said Williford. “Their church has sent 12 students to Welch College in the past 4 years, including both their daughters. The Parrishes have been active in fundraising, friend-raising, and alumni work for Welch for years. Now they will step into a role where they will do that professionally. I’m excited about what they’ll add to our presence in the denomination and with donors.”
A North Carolina native, Parrish has served in his current pastorate since 2012. He currently serves as Assistant Moderator of the North Carolina State Association of Free Will Baptists and Vice President of the Welch College Alumni Association. Parrish was ordained under the ministry of Dr. Malcolm C. Fry. A 1989 Welch graduate, he obtained his M.A. in Mental Health Counseling from Webster University in 2010 and is currently completing the M.A. in Theology and Ministry from Welch. Parrish started as a youth and music minister and for the past two decades has pastored Free Will Baptist churches.
Merinda, a native of Alabama, grew up in a pastor’s home. A 1991 Welch graduate, she and Todd met while they were students at Welch and married in 1990. She has taught in Christian and public schools for the past 21 years. She holds an M.A. in Secondary Education/Literacy-Reading Specialist from the University of Alabama.
“Merinda and I are looking forward to this new challenge,” Parrish said. “We believe in the mission of Welch College and are convinced that God has used our college to set the course for the Free Will Baptist denomination by being its main source of pastors, missionaries, and key lay leaders.”
“As we begin a new chapter on a new campus, we are excited about how God will help us chart new waters while staying firmly committed to our theological tradition and heritage as Free Will Baptists,” Parrish continued. “I’m eager to meet with pastors regarding what Welch College can do for their congregations, and how they can help the college build a stronger financial base and increase enrollment, and I’m excited about the opportunity to cultivate more friends for Welch who will partner with us financially.”
The Parrish’s older daughter, Emily Vickery, and her husband Zach, reside in England, where Zach is a graduate student at Cambridge University. Their younger daughter, Ellen Stox, and her husband Kevin, reside in Bristol, TN, where Ellen serves as a social worker with Free Will Baptist Family Ministries, and Kevin teaches and coaches at the Tennessee Avenue Christian Academy.