Meet the Staff

MARK BALILES 

Pastor 

Mark is excited to join the family and pastoral staff of the Chambersburg Church of the Brethren.  He was born in Tyrone, PA and grew up in New Creek, WV.  He is a 1989 graduate of Grace Theological Seminary (M.Div.) in Winona Lake, IN.  Mark was ordained in 1990 and has served two Church of the Brethren congregations for a total of 36 years.   

Mark’s passion in ministry is encouraging deep connection (with God and with one another), deep conviction (about who God is), deep compassion (in place of judgment), deep confession (that we all fail and fall), deep conversation (about anything we face in life), and deep contribution (each person’s unique gifts and perspective). In this time of extreme divisiveness, Mark seeks deeper unity through a common focus on Jesus and through common commitment to follow Him.  He is eager to see people released from the chains of both cynicism and legalism into a life of faith and love found in Jesus. 

Over the years, Mark’s personal interests have included singing, sailing, sports, hiking, rock-climbing, stamp-collecting, amateur theater,  basketball officiating, movies, table games, and time spent with friends and family.

Mark has been married to Reba Hatchel since 1986.  Reba is from Nederland, TX.  She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from East Texas Baptist University.  Reba enjoys sewing, crafts, reading, table games, trying her hand at painting, and being with family and friends.

Mark and Reba have four adult children, three children in-law, and two amazing granddaughters. 

ELIZABETH MONN THORPE 

Pastor of Administration and Congregational Life

Contact: lizthorpe62@gmail.com

Elizabeth (Liz) was a vocal major at Mansfield University where she met her husband, Phil.  Together they share the responsibilities of the music department for the church with Liz leading in the areas of vocal ministry and Phil directing the instrumental ensembles. 

Liz is an ordained pastor since 2018. She is a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana, with a Master of Arts in Theology, and a recent graduate of the TRIM program (Training in Ministry) through Bethany Academy for Ministerial Leaders.  Liz also holds a certificate in Spiritual Direction through Oasis Ministries. 

GRETCHEN SORTZI

Associate Pastor of Christian Education and Youth Ministries

Contact: gretchen@chambcob.org

Gretchen Sortzi has been an educator and speaker as a faith-based entrepreneur for the last 25 years. Born and raised in the Church of the Brethren she comes from a long line of faith and ministry; as many of her family currently pastor churches in Virginia. Gretchen is a graduate of Clarion University with a Bachelor’s in Communication and also a Master’s of Sociology from Arizona State University. Gretchen is a dynamic speaker, with her own stories of struggle and victory, led by a passion to change the lives of others through God’s love.

Gretchen’s greatest achievement is and always will be her daughter, Haley. They are both new residents of Chambersburg and are excited to get started. Gretchen looks forward to using her skills and talents to love and grow the church.

ALEXANDRA (ALI) TOMS

Associate Pastor of Worship and Preaching

Contact: atoms@chambcob.org

Ali is an ordained pastor serving on the pastoral team. She preaches once a month and assists with worship planning and leading.  You can find her serving most Sundays with her husband, Cody, in the praise band. If you come in a little early, you’ll even see their son Jude, dancing to the music during practice.

Ali graduated from Bethany Theological Seminary in 2021 with a Master of Divinity and a Certificate in Theological Imagination and Theopoetics. She enjoys writing about her faith and theology in creative ways that engage multiple audiences. Outside of church, she teaches as a Psychology Professor at Wilson College.

IAN IRVIN

Associate Pastor of Congregational Life and Preaching

Ian has been involved in ministry for more than 15 years, bi-vocationally serving churches in various capacities such as Youth Pastor and Associate Pastor.   He currently serves on the pastoral team at the Fourth Street congregation as the Associate Pastor of Congregational Life and Preaching.  

In addition to serving the Chambersburg Church of the Brethren family, Ian is an attorney with the United States Government and a veteran of the United States Air Force.  He is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute – Foreign Language Center in Modern Standard Arabic, the Community College of the Air Force, Wilson College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, and Penn State Dickinson School of Law with a Juris Doctor.  

CAROL A. WINGERT

Administrative Assistant

Contact: chambcob@gmail.com

I was raised in the Chambersburg Church of the Brethren.  Married with two sons, whom were raised in the Chambersburg Church of the Brethren.  Began employment with the church on June 19, 2006.

Love the people here and enjoy my job!

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