Deacon Bios

2021 Deacons

Chuck Smith has attended West Cannon for ten years. Having been married to Bev for 51 years, she passed away in 2016. Years of Sunday school teaching paid off. Chuck began to realize that he was a sinner and in need of salvation. During a revival meeting as a teenager, he decided to follow Christ. However, the significance of choosing Christ as his Savior did not really sink in, and there was no evidence of change in his life. About a year later, Chuck attended a youth rally in Philadelphia where he went forward and rededicated his life. From that time on, Chuck began to live a life more consistent with His teachings. He rededicated his life to Christ, was baptized, and joined Immanuel Baptist Church of Maple Shade, New Jersey, where he was a member until retirement. He retired in 2000 from The Evangelical Alliance Mission.


Ethan Blackport began attending West Cannon 24 years ago. He has been married to Sally for five years. At the age of 13, after hearing a lesson on the kings and rulers in his JR High Sunday school class, he was challenged to acknowledge that he had not given complete control of his life over to Jesus Christ and that He was not his true king. That day, Ethan prayed and asked Him to come and rule his life; he confessed his need for a Savior and was baptized the following Easter Sunday. Ethan has been a member at West Cannon for 12 years, using his gifts and talents to work with Children’s Ministry, teaching Children’s Church for several years. As he grows and experiences more, he continues to see God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and constant grace in his life. His mercies are new each morning. Ethan counts it an honor and privilege to serve as a deacon.


Tyler Loree has attended West Cannon for 30 years, and he has been married to Courtney for seven years. Tyler was fortunate to grow up in the church (WCBC) and attend church every week with his family. He was introduced to God at an early age and came to know Christ through the use of the flannel-graph stories from Mrs. Cizauskas at the age of six. Then at the age of 12 was baptized by Pastor Doug, proclaiming his faith publicly and further dedicating his life and commitment to Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. From there, his faith grew and was tested as he entered into new phases of life, but he is grateful that God remained faithful and has allowed him to grow in Him and be a part of advancing His kingdom.


Dennis Smith and Roxanne have been married for 46 years and have attended West Cannon for over 25 years. Dennis became a Christian during his senior year of high school. After attending a funeral service for a relative at Calvary Baptist Church in Midland, his mother decided their family should visit that church. After having done so, the pastor visited their home and explained the plan of salvation to his family. At that time, he asked Jesus into his heart, and he became a child of God. Dennis was subsequently baptized shortly after that.


Matthew Thompson has attended West Cannon for three years. He was an enemy of God and a God hater until his early 20s. It was during that time that God opened his eyes to the truth. Matthew repented of his sin and trusted in Jesus Christ to be his Savior. Upon that, God has radically transformed his life and the path he was taking. Matthew’s purpose is to continuously worship the Lord and serve Him in whatever capacity the Lord asks of him.


David Tharp and Judy have been married for 47 years, and they have attended West Cannon for 12 years. Dave was raised in a Christian home and attended a local Baptist Church. Due to their influences, he realized his need for a Savior at the age of ten. His father led him to the Lord, and he was baptized soon after.


David Dykema and Danna have been married for 29 years, attending West Cannon for the last four years. He came to know Christ as his personal Savior around the age of ten. He rededicated his life in college. David continues in his Christian sanctification process today.


Mark Vermeer has attended West Cannon for 26 years, and he has been married to Julie for 35 years. He was blessed to be born into a Christian family and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior at a young age. He was baptized as a believer by Pastor Doug in the old grass-covered church, now the Family Room.


Dave Hemingway and Sharon have been married for 45 years, and they have attended West Cannon for 19 years. David writes: “Are you like me? ‘I went forward’ several times as a child. At my home church where I was baptized right away. I “went forward” again at Lake Ann and again at my cousin’s church. Then, much later, at Berean Baptist, I was baptized again. This time I fully understood that I was a sinner (Romans 3:23), condemned to die (Romans 6:23), but God sent His son to die in my place (John 3:16). I confessed that Jesus is Lord and God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9), and He is now seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for me (Romans 8:34). I find it comforting to know that my salvation is not a feeling or series of tasks I have to perform. My salvation is based on God’s love, grace, and promise.” As Jonathan Edwards once said, “The only thing we contribute to our salvation is the sin that made it necessary.”


Kenan Swihart has attended West Cannon for 14 years, and he has been married to Jaclyn for a year and a half. At the age of four, he realized his need for a Savior. Kenan was baptized by immersion at West Cannon in 2012 as a public profession of his faith in Christ. Without Christ, he would be separated from God, and he continues to live by faith through the Lord’s tender mercy and His abundant grace.


Steve Parker and Carol have been married for 38 glorious years, and they have attended West Cannon for 23 years. Steve writes: “Many years ago, I encountered a co-worker, who created unrepairable damage to a business relationship I had. This loss festered inside me until I became very angry and hateful and then became depressed. Through many prayers and over time, Jesus saved me from my sinful ways and gave me peace. The time I was depressed was truly dark. Jesus is the light I need and the love I continue to seek.”


Paul Kent has attended West Cannon for 44 years, and he was married to Carrie for 48 years. Carrie passed away in 2020. Paul gave his life to the Lord in 1968 on Easter Sunday, and he was baptized in May that same year. Paul worked with his wife in the youth group for many years.


Norm Knapp and Sue have been married for 32 years and have attended West Cannon for 15 years. Norm was born and raised in Belding, Michigan, where he attended Green Corners Baptist Church until moving to Rockford 16 years ago. He accepted Jesus as his Savior when he was ten years old. His family was attending meetings at Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville when he felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit convicting him of his sins.