I am an ordained Baptist minister (the progressive, open, and free kind!) with an M.Div. and an M.A. focused in ministry and Christian Ethics. I am interested in the intersection of faith & moral discernment, congregational ministry, and continuing to think about and write about important topics for Christians seeking to be dedicated followers of Jesus. I am now continuing my studies in a Doctor of Ministry program with my seminary while I work in full-time ministry as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Martinsville, VA.
I am currently very interested in how life and study and calling all work together with me (and with everyone else navigating this thing we call life). I have both a drive for success and a need for the Good Life – complete with calling/vocation, productive work, and family/friends – all woven together in a beautiful tapestry. This is how I characterize my brand of Christian feminism – living our whole lives with our whole selves, paying heed to all those parts of ourselves and of our society as a whole that are often neglected. (Who is not being heard? What parts of me or this world are being neglected? How can I be a part of the solution to remedy this? Where is God in this moment?)
While I figure this beautiful work out in my life, I am looking forward to all the ways God works in and through me. Together with my call to ministry, my love of the church universal, my hopes and dreams for Christians seeking to do justly/love mercy/walk humbly with God, and my inner and personal life, I seek to be a force of good in this world, day by day.
Below is a little insight into my world, pieces of my tapestry to share with you here:
The Grunderwood (Grammer-Underwood) Household
I am married to a mathematician who recently finished his degree at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. William Underwood and I found each other after having endured tumultuous relationships in the past and have recovered and grown together into what a couple of teenage girls in a church youth group described as a “power couple” (I take great pride in that distinction!). We are quite a team, blessed with wonderful, supportive families and the space to grow and live now on our own in a new state. The “Grunderwood” is a wonderful place, and we invite you into a little piece of our lives here.
I couldn’t ask for a better partner and life companion than William. We married on November 10, 2012 at our home church, FBC Chattanooga. It was a beautiful day in every way.
We also have 3 wonderful dog-children named Paco (a Welsh Corgi) and Boober (the best mutt ever), and our new puppy Samson (Shepherd/Collie mix?) whom we love very much…
A Little Background…
I did my undergrad degree at Shorter College and finished in May 2007. I majored in Spanish with minors in Religion and English. I had the profound opportunity to study abroad in Seville, Spain where I not only learned Spanish, but a lot about myself and the big world I live in.
Immediately after college, I began a job as an Immigration Paralegal at a big, prestigious law firm. In my nearly decade working with a former Chief Counsel & Acting Director of USCIS, I learned much about patience, professionalism, and immigration law.
While working that professional job, I completed two master’s degrees, and a part-time pastoral internship. I now serve as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Martinsville, VA. Previously, I was employed as Pastoral Resident at River Road Church, Baptist in Richmond, Virginia (RRCB). I have also served as Interim Minister of Christian Education & Spiritual Formation at RRCB from September 2015 to December 2017.
Life is an exciting journey, and I am glad to be on it with this great man!
Ministry & Work:
I am available for all types of ministry in the community aside from my work at my local church (currently First Baptist Church, Martinsville, VA). If you are interested in hiring me for ministry opportunities (weddings, teaching, supply preaching, worship/music directing, ministerial or theological writing, or speaking on specific topics), please contact me by email or through my social media accounts to the right. If you would like more information or a copy of my resume, please visit the Resume page of my site.
If you specifically are looking for a wedding officiant, please see the page link for “Need a wedding officiant?” below “Ministry & Scholarship.”
Some Fun Family Background:
My family of origin includes my mother, Brenda Puckett Grammer; my father, Rev. Rick Grammer; and my older sister, Lynne Grammer Mashburn. I come from a long line of educators: my mother teaches high school English, my sister teaches elementary school, and my father, as a minister of music, has taught and led choirs for over 30 years, most recently a choir at a small Baptist church in Soddy Daisy, TN.
I grew up in various places, moving to each based on my dad’s job as a minister. These areas included: McCaysville, GA/Copperhill, TN; Clovis, NM; Dawsonville/Cumming, GA; and Ft. Oglethorpe/Rossville, GA. I moved to Rome, GA to attend Shorter College from 2004-2007 and lived/studied abroad in Seville, Spain from January to May 2006. I lived in Rossville, GA (near Chattanooga, TN) and commuted to Atlanta, GA during seminary. I lived just north of downtown Chattanooga from 2012-2013. I lived in Charlottesville, VA to attend UVA’s Graduate School of Religion from 2013-2014 and currently reside in Richmond, VA (since 2014) so that my husband could attend full-time at Virginia Commonwealth University.
My hobbies include: digital photography, singing, playing percussion, home decorating, vegetarian nutrition, fitness, and nature hikes.
Favorite Music: Jennifer Knapp, Nicole Nordeman, Chicago (thanks, Dad), the Beatles (thanks, Mom), Hanson (old-school: shut up, I’m a 90s kid), jazz/blues, big band, and Disney Music
Song for First Dance at Wedding (to which we rumba’d with the best of them!): “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” – Louis Armstrong
Favorite Movies: Ever After, Harry Potter Series, Hunger Games Series, Never Been Kissed, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Princess Bride, Amazing Grace, Fern Gully, Independence Day, The Italian Job, Whip It!
Favorite Movie Quotes:
“I suspect the nargles are behind it.” – Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter
“Forgive me, Your Highness, but there is nothing ‘natural’ about it. A country’s character is defined by its ‘everyday rustics,’ as you call them. They are the legs you stand on and that position demands respect.” – Danielle, Ever After
“I’m not Josie Grossy anymore!” – Josie Gellar, Never Been Kissed
From Amazing Grace:
William Wilberforce: It’s God. I have 10,000 engagements of state today but I would prefer to spend the day out here getting a wet arse, studying dandelions and marveling at… bloody spider’s webs.
Richard the Butler: You found God, sir?
William Wilberforce: I think He found me. You have any idea how inconvenient that is? How idiotic it will sound? I have a political career glittering ahead of me, and in my heart I want spider’s webs.
Richard the Butler:”It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else and still unknown to himself.” Francis Bacon. I don’t just dust your books, sir.
Lord Charles Fox: When people speak of great men, they think of men like Napoleon – men of violence. Rarely do they think of peaceful men. But contrast the reception they will receive when they return home from their battles. Napoleon will arrive in pomp and in power, a man who’s achieved the very summit of earthly ambition. And yet his dreams will be haunted by the oppressions of war. William Wilberforce, however, will return to his family, lay his head on his pillow and remember: the slave trade is no more.
Other Favorite Quotes:
“Some days I am not sure if my faith is riddled with doubt or whether, graciously, my doubt is riddled with faith.” -Lauren F. Winner, Still
“I do know that, if you do [get divorced], two years later you will know some things about God that you don’t know now.” – Still
Favorite Vacation Spots (so far): Seville, Spain; Rome, Italy; New River Gorge, WV
Favorite Foods: Italian, Mexican, Thai, and Japanese