West Acton Baptist Church

Our Mission Statement

“We are called by God to be a living example of Christ’s inclusive love as the church in our community and throughout the world.  We gather together for worship, fellowship, discipleship, and service - celebrating our diversity by agreeing to differ, resolving to love, and uniting to serve.”



592 Massachusetts Ave.

Acton, MA 01720



Our Staff

On Sunday, October 25th we will say goodbye to Rev. Dr. Richard Haley. He has been a God send to us and we will miss him dearly.

On Sunday, November 1st we welcome our new Settled Pastor, Rev. Leah G. Goodwin.

We are please to announce that we have chosen a candidate for our settled pastor! Special thanks to our Team members: Ruth Thatcher & Phil MacPhee, co-chairs, Lori & Olivia Bruneau, Nancy & Stephanie Dodge, Ingrid Eppelsheimer, Kathi Gellar, Val Nolen, Violet Nyangoma.

Rev. Leah Grace Goodwin is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA. She is the daughter, granddaughter, great-niece, and great-granddaughter of ministers and the wives and families who made those ministries possible—

a heritage that has endowed her with a deep love for Christian hymnody and religious music, as well as worship styles of all sorts.

A graduate of the University of Chicago, she received her Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 2007. Leah has pastored congregations in several denominations, including the American Baptist Church, the Swedenborgian Church, and the Presbyterian Church, and has served as a preacher and worship officiant in diverse contexts. She enjoys singing, playing the piano, weight training, dance, quilting, interior design, gardening, flower arranging, reading, writing, and the acquiring of “bric-a-brac knowledge” in general. She has owned her own editing and copywriting firm and enjoys working with people to shepherd them through the fine-tuning of their writing projects. Rev. Goodwin and her husband, Kevin (also an ordained minister), have three children, Ephraim (13), Magdalen (9), and Zebulon (9 months).

Our Interim Pastor is Rev. Dr. Richard Haley. Rev. Haley recently retired as an American Baptist pastor after almost 40 years in professional ministry. He was born and brought up in Salem, Mass. After a brief try at college, Rev. Haley served three years as an interpreter with an Army intelligence unit in Northern Germany as the Vietnam Conflict was drawing to a close.

After returning from Army service Rev. Haley finished his undergraduate education at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., graduating with a degree in German language and literature and certification as a high school teacher, but God had other plans for him. Instead of a career in teaching, Rev. Haley entered Andover Newton Theological School (where he met his wife Judy), graduating in 1982.

In August of that year he was ordained an American Baptist pastor and served for six years as pastor of the Union Church in nearby Stow, Mass. In 1988 he began an eight year ministry at the First Baptist Church in Tewksbury, Mass. and then in 1996 took a break from pastoral ministry to accept a position at Andover Newton as Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Services, as well as becoming an instructor of preaching. While at Andover Newton, Rev. Haley also served two churches as interim pastor.  After almost nine years in theological education, Rev. Haley returned to pastoral ministry as pastor of First-Calvary Baptist Church in North Andover where he stayed for 15 years, retiring in May of this year.

Rev. Haley and his wife Judy recently celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary and have three grown children – Kevin and his wife Allison who live in Boulder, Colorado, Cara who lives in Somerville and David who lives in Nashua, New Hampshire. Judy graduated from both Andover Newton and Harvard Divinity School where she received her ThD in New Testament. She taught for many years as an adjunct professor at Andover Newton and continues to teach part-time at Harvard. She also teaches full-time during the school year at Lowell Catholic High School in Lowell, Mass.

Nancy Dodge has been our Church Administrator since 2005.  Before she started her family, she worked in the accounting field. She brings her love of creativity to her job every day. Prior to getting her education in accounting she worked as a CNA in a nursing home which has been very helpful assisting WABC members in need. Nancy is also on the Discipleship Team and President of the WABC Women.

Nancy grew up in Acton but still lives in the area with her husband and 2 daughters.


Katherine Gellar has been Music Director at West Acton Baptist since 2005, and a church musician since childhood. As both a soloist and music director, Ms. Gellar has served churches of various faiths for more than twenty five years. She has a degree in music from Westfield State University. with concentrations in Conducting, Theory and Composition and Education.  After a career in Plymouth (MA) and Boston in museum education, Ms. Gellar moved to the traditional classroom, where she has been for the last 18 years, teaching music and for the past ten years as eighth grade dean at Buckingham Browne and Nichols Middle School, Cambridge MA. Ms. Gellar has created curriculum for several classes including general music, jazz and rock history. She has performed as a soprano soloist and performer at various venues throughout New England, and her compositions have been part of worship services. She is particularly interested in the role of music and the spoken word in liturgy, and lately is enthralled with learning Latin, joining students in the classroom setting in order to learn with them and gain insight on the student experience. 


Ingrid Eppelsheimer has been our church organist since 1999. Her love of music shows through in every piece of music she plays. In addition to the organ, she plays the piano and keyboard and can play almost any piece of music.


Stephanie Dodge has been our Nursery Care provider since 2011, she also teaches the Preschool & Kindergaren Sunday School class. She is an honors graduate of Quinsigamond Community College and is at Framingham State majoring in ASL. She also works in the Childwatch department at Stow Fitness in Stow and babysits many families.



A Member of TABCOM