Submitted to The Tribune
First Southern Baptist Church has announced that it has called Steven Porter as full-time pastor.
Porter grew up in Cherryvale, Kan. His mother, Helen, was a teacher and a school psychologist. His father, Tom, owned the pharmacy in Cherryvale for many years and later worked as a pharmacist for St. John's Hospital in Joplin for nearly 25 years.
His parents taught Porter and his sisters about God's love and set a "great example" of living for Christ, a news release said. The family was active as members at First Presbyterian Church.
Porter earned a bachelor's degree from Pittsburg State University and worked as a chemist for nearly 10 years. In 1994, he answered God's call to become a preacher. After four years at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, he earned his master of divinity degree and soon began pastoring in Gulfport, Miss. Three years later, God called Porter back to Southeast Kanas where he was busy with supply preaching at area churches, including Trinity Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg and First Presbyterian Church in Scammon.
Porter's wife, Markel, also a Cherryvale native, answered God's call to the ministry at age 17. She has served as choir director for various choirs, minister of music in several churches and as a concert soloist. She graduated from Pittsburg State in 2005 with a bachelor of music in vocal performance and in 2007 with her master's of music, also in vocal performance.
Since graduating, Markel Porter has sung with the Tulsa Opera Chorus and been interim vocal instructor at Allen County College. She is employed in Kansas City for J.W. Pepper, a nationwide print music distributor, as well as teaching private voice.
The Porters have three sons, Thomas, Steven and Caleb. Thomas, 18, attends WyoTech in Laramie, Wyo., studying automotive technology. Steven, a junior at Southeast High, is active in cross-country and track. Caleb is a freshman and also active in track.
Both are members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. All three boys have been active in music and played in their school bands. They were also in the Mid-Continental Band in Independence, playing alongside their grandfather and in church. The Porter family currently lives in Cherokee.