Meet Some Village Baptist Worship Leaders

Dr. Bruce Salmon

Dr. Bruce Salmon, Pastor

Bruce Salmon was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. He grew up in Broadway Baptist Church, making his profession of faith in Christ and being baptized at age 11. He went to Baylor University where he majored in English. While in college he served as Minister to Youth at Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, and was licensed to the ministry by his home church, Broadway in Fort Worth.

After graduating from Baylor with a Bachelor of Arts in 1973, Bruce enrolled in The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. While in seminary Bruce was a pastoral intern at Crescent Hill Baptist Church, which ordained him to the Gospel Ministry. He earned the Master of Divinity in 1976, and was called to the Montgomery Hills Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland as Associate Pastor. Bruce returned to Southern Seminary to earn the Doctor of Ministry, graduating in 1985. Earlier that year he was called to Village Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland as Pastor. In 1991 Bruce received the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Bowie State University, in conjunction with the Washington Pastoral Counseling Service.

Bruce is author of the book Storytelling in Preaching, and various journal articles, including “Preaching without a Net,” originally published in Preaching magazine and now available online. Bruce is a member of the Commission on Evangelism of the Baptist World Alliance.

Bruce is married to Linda and they are the parents of two grown children. Their daughter Amy lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and their son Marc lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife Stacey and their daughter Ford.

Bruce is an avid golfer, movie buff, sports enthusiast, and traveler. He enjoys Broadway musicals, museums, classical music, currents events, and spending time with his family.

Rev. McNeill*

Rev. Starlette Thomas*, Associate Pastor

A native of Pensacola, Florida, Starlette Thomas* serves as the Associate Pastor at Village Baptist Church.  She became a baptized believer and confessed Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord at the age of twelve at Bibleway Holiness Church in Foley, Alabama, her mother’s birthplace.  While in college, she served as the president of Campus Crusade for Christ, now known as Cru.  During seminary, she served the children and youth of Second Temple Baptist Church and Elim Christian Fellowship both in Buffalo, New York.  She was licensed and ordained by Bishop T. Anthony Bronner, the senior pastor at Elim.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Buffalo State College and a Master of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School.  She is also a certified abstinence instructor and life skills trainer.  Committed to serving the Lord with her mind, she was a fellow at the Chautauqua Institute’s New Clergy Program and Joe R. Engle’s Preaching Institute at Princeton Theological Seminary.  She also completed both Duke Divinity School’s Foundations of Christian Leadership program and the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation’s Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership program. 

Before accepting the call to serve at Village Baptist Church, Starlette served as the Coordinator for the Center for Ministerial Leadership at the D.C. Baptist Convention. As the associate pastor, she is committed to the sacred task of disciple-making, spiritual formation and pastoral care, specifically focusing on the spiritual needs of children, youth and young adults.

Starlette has interests in multicultural worship and ministry, post- racial theology, ecclesiology and Christian spirituality.  She has been invited to speak before the World Council of Churches North America on the Church’s role in the ministry of racial reconciliation and is a contributing author in the book Faith Forward: A Dialogue on Children, Youth and a New Kind of Christianity (Woodlake Publishers, August 2013).  She writes on the race-less gospel of Jesus Christ on her blog,  Formerly known as The Daily Race, her writings have been featured on the Associated Baptist Press and Ethics Daily websites.  She writes a monthly column for Baptist News Global.


Dr. Jeanine Warden-Jarrett, Choir Director and Organist

Ariel J. Warden-Jarrett, M.D. joined the Village music staff in 2004 and later served as a substitute organist for many years.  She returned to the position of organist in 2013. In 2016 she became the choir director for Village as well.  She is a trained and talented pianist, vocalist, organist and arranger.  She also operates a small private music studio.   She has a passion for music and giving her best to the Master.  She has one recording project, "Directions to the Throne. "  "Jeanine" is married and is blessed with two sons.  In her "spare time," she serves the community as a board certified family physician in Bowie, MD.

L Smith

Ms. Linda Smith, Pianist

Linda was raised in the Baptist church in her hometown of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Her father was the choir director and was also a tenor soloist for the church (with Linda occasionally acting as his accompanist). She, along with her mother and brother, sang in the church choir, and her older sister was the church organist for a number of years.

Linda began taking piano lessons at age 6 and studied with her hometown teacher until she was 15. During her junior year in high school, she was fortunate enough to be able to go to Sweden for a year as a Rotary Club exchange student. One of the members of the Karlstad Rotary Club was a professional pianist, and provided piano lessons to Linda free of charge for the year that she lived there. From her hometown teacher, Linda learned the basics of playing the piano; under her Swedish teacher, she developed an ability to put feeling into the music.

While in college at the University of Pittsburgh, Linda sang with the Women’s Chorale, later becoming their accompanist. During her last semester at Pitt, she also functioned as the accompanist for the Men’s Glee Club, after their pianist graduated mid-year. She sang in the choir at a local church, then became the accompanist for another church near the university.

Linda and her husband, Joel, have sung in choirs from the beginning of their marriage. When they moved to Bowie in 1985, they attended a number of churches, trying to find one that felt right. Once they found Village Baptist, they knew they were in the right place. They joined the choir in the fall of 1985, and Linda soon began substituting for then-pianist Jo Reiter. In 1992, Jo retired as pianist and Linda became the full-time pianist. By vocation, Linda is a registered nurse, but her real love is music!

Linda and Joel have three daughters and 6 grandchildren. They are avid campers and love to travel, and are planning to tour the US in their RV after they retire.

C Thompson

Ms. Carlynn Thompson, Early Service Music Leader

Carlynn grew up in Palestine, Texas, learning music in her home church, where she sang with the choir and as a soloist.  Her marriage brought her to Maryland, where she earned a degree in Library Science, leading to an information technology job with the Department of Defense.  At Village, she sang in the Adult Choir for many years.  She became an enthusiastic supporter of the contemporary worship service that was started at Village, and she found her computer skills valuable in programming the synthesizer and preparing the music slides that are used  in that service.

Carlynn and her husband Dave have two daughters, one granddaughter, and one grandson.  They enjoy travel but try not to miss too many Sundays at Village.

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