In this chapter of Woodland’s life together, our church is engaged in an innovative partnership called the East Nashville Training Hub. Our team consists of both East Nashville Training Hub Partners and Woodland Staff. The Training Hub, made up of mostly young adults, carries much of the day-to-day responsibilities for Woodland and our sister church, Easminster Presbyterian Church, including preaching and worship planning, service and fellowship events, and children’s ministry. We are grateful for the energy, creativity, and engaging wisdom of this team!
Lead Training Hub Partner
Mark DeVries served as the Associate Pastor for Youth and their Families at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee for 28 years and has served alongside the Woodland family since 2017.
He is the founder of Ministry Architects and Justice Industries and the co-founder of the Center for Youth Ministry Training and Ministry Incubators. Mark is the author of 12 books, including recently released Reimagining Young Adult Ministry. Mark and his wife Susan live in Nashville and have three grown children and four grandchildren.
Joryán is a high school cross country coach and second year M.Div student at Vanderbilt Divinity School, where he is concentrating in Chaplaincy and earning a certificate in Latin American Studies. He earned a B.A. in Religion from the University of Florida and loves Gator football. Born and raised in Cuba, he aspires to provide care to Latinx communities in various ministries. If you ever want to go for a run or go hiking, definitely reach out to Joryán!
Training Hub Partner for Service and Young Adults
Originally from Aiken, South Carolina, Ashlan attended Furman University and graduated with a degree in Health Sciences. She is passionate about global health and the eradication of disease. Ashlan also loves corgis and key lime pie.
On-Site Project and Facilities Manager
Cory Martin seeps empathy from every fiber of his being. He is quiet, pensive and loves to think deeply.
Being from Texas he grew up rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks. Since moving to in Nashville in 2008 he has added the Nashville Predators to the teams he cheers for. He loves horror movies and is obsessed with the director Wes Craven.
Training Hub Partner for Children’s Ministry
Hannah is a junior studying biology at Belmont. She feels blessed to be part of this community and can’t wait to continue meeting new faces.
Lead Training Hub Partner for Eastminster
A recent transplant from his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland Scott has been a music ministry leader for the greater part of a decade. With a B.S. degree of Music and a history of leadership and participation in the life of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Scott looks to work with churches integrating change and building up new programs!
He currently works for the The Escape Game as a Guest Experience Coordinator and lives locally here in Nashville. Never failing to greet you with a joke and a warm hello, Scott is ready (at the drop of a hat) for good conversations over coffee and a good board game.
Jo is a pianist, choir director, music teacher & church organist with over 15 years experience. Born in Melbourne, she moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue music.
She attended the Victorian College of the Arts in 2002, and since has been the recipient of numerous awards and has worked alongside some of the music industry’s biggest names.
She was the principal organist & choir director at Strathmore Uniting Church (2000 – 2008) and Flushing Messiah Lutheran Church in New York City (2008 – 2014). In 2014 she relocated to Nashville, where she has been making music and enjoying her family.
Training Hub Partner for Digital Communications
Sara is a Nashville native. She grew up in Brentwood, TN, and briefly left to attend the University of Tampa where she studied Marketing and New Media Production.
Sara currently works at Aroluxe Marketing as the Social Media Lead and handles all things digital for Woodland. She loves staying busy and coaches at an indoor rowing studio as well.
Training Hub Partner for Online Community
Marissa Varnado was raised in Columbia, MD and attended Johns Hopkins University, where she studied International Studies and Sociology and played basketball. Upon graduation, she joined Teach for America in Nashville, TN and earned her M Ed.
She recently moved to Richmond where she works as the Data Quality Specialist for Homeward VA, a nonprofit working to end homelessness in Virginia. In her free time she enjoys rock climbing, reading, going to concerts, and spending time with friends and family.
Adrian White is a writer, Texan, and third year M.Div student at Vanderbilt Divinity School. They grew up in the PC(USA) and feel called to the work of bringing to life the church’s growing commitments to the inclusion and thriving of all children of God! They are proud to serve on the board of More Light Presbyterians.
When not working and studying, Adrian enjoys playing board games with their spouse Wynn and taking long walks with their dog Bex.
*Woodland staff member.