Meet the Pastor
Pastor Marty Ramey shares her autobiography:
I was born 3rd of 7 children to Harlan Ivan and Mary Ballard Burnett in the small Rio Grande Valley town of Raymondville, Texas. My father worked in construction, mother was a registered nurse. She served as County Health Nurse for our small county for over 15 years. Her dedication to serving the migrant community was formative for my faith. We attended the Presbyterian Church every Sunday during my childhood, come rain or shine.
Following high school, I attended Rice University for 2 years, then moved to California to live with an aunt and uncle. I worked at the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Port Hueneme, California, where I met my first husband, an officer in the Civil Engineer Corps; we were married in 1975. We were stationed at the Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Sicily, for two years, then moved to West Lafayette, Indiana, where I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. I worked in research labs in Winston-Salem and Research Triangle Park near Raleigh for 10 years. When my first husband and I separated and divorced in 1991, I felt the call to ordained ministry and moved with our two children, Mike, age 6, and Brenda, age 3, to Columbia, South Carolina. I received my Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in 1995.
I was ordained in 1998 and served my first call at Salem Lutheran Church in Lincolnton, NC. In 2000, I began a one-year resident chaplaincy program in Clinical Pastoral Education at Carolinas Healthcare System. Upon completion, I served as chaplain at the Lutheran nursing homes in Hickory and later at Hospice of Lincoln County.
Returning to congregational ministry, I served as full-time pastor in two congregations in the Gaston County area. In 1996, I had remarried. My husband Marion (who was my son’s Little League coach—but that is a story in itself!), had a daughter, Tricia, from a previous marriage. We now have 4 grandchildren, ranging in age from 6 to 24. The 24 years of my marriage to Marion were the greatest blessing I have experienced in my life; he and I were inseparable. We traveled throughout the United States and I have wonderful memories of the places we visited.
Marion was diabetic. He began dialysis in 2014, and his health declined significantly over the next few years. It was important for me to become his full-time caregiver, but I could not afford to be without at least some compensation to help with high medical expenses. Earlier, I had completed training at the Centers for Congregational Health, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and received Intentional Interim Training and Certification in 2001. In 2016, I began serving as an intentional interim minister and have subsequently served in nine congregations in transition between pastors to assist them in the call process.
In 2019, Marion’s health issues became critical, and I resigned from the interim position I was serving at the time to stay home and take care of him full-time. Marion passed away in December 2019 from septic shock, a result of complications of diabetes. I felt as if a part of me died with him and withdrew from many activities. But I know that God did not give me the skills and the experience for interim ministry for nothing, and my decision to answer God’s call back into serving him in the best way I can is founded in my belief that God’s plans are always for the best. “…we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)