Meet Our Staff


  • MARC PEÑA

    LEAD pastor

    “As a troubled young man coming from a broken home I came to experience the saving and healing grace of Jesus Christ in 1984. I was 21 years old. Overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for my newly found faith, I became involved in church ministry. I was amazed at the transformation Jesus brought to my own life as well as in the lives of others. After several years I discerned God's call to full time ministry." 


    Marc’s passion is to help people experience the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ. He believes that passionate biblical preaching and the practice of authentic community are central to fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20). 


    Marc has two Master’s degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary; one in Theology and one in Pastoral Ministry. He was the founding pastor of two healthy church plants and has had years of experience in various pastoral positions. His preaching and teaching is biblically faithful, culturally relevant and full of humor. 


     “I enjoy going for walks and taking road trips with no particular destination in mind. Coffee, good conversation and a good book are always part of my weekly routine. I've had several hobbies throughout the years; comic book collecting, pencil sketching and storytelling are among the most recent.I enjoy a good game of chess (admittedly I'm not a good player), bowling, going to the movies and darts. I'm always up for trying new things especially if fun and laughter are involved (I love to laugh)."


    Marc and his wife Mary have been married for over twenty years and have three children; Christony, Aletheia, and Marco. As a family, they love to laugh, eat and play together.

  • RALPH BATYKEFER,JR.

    Youth Pastor

    Originally from Pittsburgh, Ralph has been a youth pastor for about 28 years.  He served at a church in Maryland before relocating to Massachusetts with his wife, Karen.  Ralph has a Bachelors in Christian Ministries, a Masters of Divinity of Biblical Languages (and an emphasis in Student Ministry) and a Doctorate in Ministry.  Ralph has coached high school track and field and is a 6th degree master in Tai Chuan Do.  His greatest passion is discipling students and their families.  Ralph and Karen have two children, Noelle, who lives with her husband in New Jersey, and Ralph III, who is a college student.


  • RUTH BLANDIN

    finance manager/office manager

    Ruth lives in Berlin with her husband, Daren, and is the mother of three adult children. She worked at a Boston CPA firm for eight years, and has over 35 years of accounting experience.  She has been attending Grace since 2000 and joined the staff in May of 2008.  Ruth is responsible for maintaining all financial records of the church and working with ministry leaders regarding their budgets.  She also oversees the administrative team and the routine operations of the office staff.  Ruth enjoys photography, she loves dogs and she always has fun spending time with her kids.

  • Carl Blatchley

    Executive Director

    Carl and his wife Cathy have been attending Grace since 2013.  He joined the staff in 2015, working closely with the lead pastor and the elders to accomplish the church's mission.  Carl performs duties in administration, planning, staff evaluation, finance, human resources and leadership development.  Recently celebrating their 50th anniversary, Carl and Cathy have three adult children and nine grandchildren.  They have a love for marriage ministry and enjoy boating, swimming and water skiing in their spare time.

  • JAKE Downing

    Director of Worship & Arts

    Born and raised in New Hampshire, Jake began in worship ministry at the age of 12. Since then, he has lead worship throughout the country and overseas. He has served as worship pastor of Grace Capital Church in Pembroke, NH, and as worship director at Trinity Lutheran Church in Delray Beach, FL. Jake has been leading worship at Grace since February 2016.  He also officiates high school soccer, basketball and softball. Jake and his wife Jennifer love to vacation in the Mayan Riviera in Mexico.  They have three children: Kyndal, Allyson, and Joshua. 

  • LAURIE GAUDETTE

    Admin/Database

    Laurie has attended Grace with her family since 1996, and has served on staff since 2002.   She and her husband Mike have two adult children.  With a specialization in the database, she carries out a variety of administrative tasks to support the Finance Manager and the ministries of Grace.  In her free time, she enjoys antiquing and trips to the beach.

  • BOB HANSON

    director of facilities and operations

    Bob is a native New Englander and has also lived in New York, New Hampshire and Colorado. He and his wife Joanne now live in Marlborough, where they raised their two grown daughters who now live in Texas. Bob came to Grace from a career in design and management.


    Bob ensures that the building and grounds are safe and inviting for everyone. This includes overseeing facilities and technical equipment, along with supervising custodial staff.  In addition to collaborating with ministry leaders at Grace, he also works with a variety of outside organizations that partner with Grace to offer events to the local community.

  • LISA HELBLE

    director of children's ministry (birth - 5th grade)

    Lisa has been attending Grace since July 2007. She has her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Tufts University and was director of Mountainside Christian Preschool/Child Care Center in Framingham, MA., for five years before leaving to start a family.  Lisa oversees all of the ministries Grace has to offer families with children, including Stay & Play, Mountaintop Adventures, Parent Time Out and Snow Camp.  Her team also puts on quarterly Family Fun Nights, which are open to all Grace families (with or without kids!).


    Lisa, her husband, Joe, and her daughter, Anna reside in Hudson, MA. In her spare time, Lisa enjoys rollerblading, skiing, cross stitching, and reading.

  • CHERYL JUAIRE

    Receptionist

    Cheryl and her husband Peter began attending Grace in 2014. She joined the office staff in November 2015.  Cheryl is one of the first people you meet when you visit the office, and loves working with all the various ministries here at Grace.  She is active in her community, and has a deep passion for seeing individuals healed from drug addiction and seeing their families come to know the love of God.  Cheryl also loves spending time with her sons and spoiling her grandchildren.  

  • Liz Kehoe

    Admin / Graphics

    Liz has attended Grace with her husband, Tom, since shortly after the church was founded. After obtaining her degree in fine arts, Liz worked as an art teacher for home school groups and for a private high school for several years.  She joined the church staff in 2011 as the receptionist, and now provides administrative support to church ministries through managing the church calendar and designing many of the graphics used in print and web materials.  Liz is active in our prayer ministry, and desires for people to find their true identity along with their full potential as sons and daughters of God.

  • Chad Whitesel

    connections Pastor

    Chad spent his middle and high school years at Grace before heading off to study at Gordon College.  He has served as both a volunteer youth leader and a full-time staff member at several churches in New England.  He serves as the Connections Pastor at Grace and has a heart to connect people new to the Grace family so they can discover their God-given purpose; find opportunities to serve; and experience community within the church.


    He and his wife Stephanie have been married since 2006 and have two daughters.  In his free time, he enjoys home-improvement projects, vacations to Disney World, sports and playing outside with his girls.


    Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; but in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

  • Don Whitesel

    Pastor Of Care Ministries

    A native of Indiana, Don moved to New England in 1980 along with his wife Kathie and their young children, to serve in an independent church plant. He came to Grace Baptist Church in 1994 and began serving first as Small Groups Coordinator and later as Minister of Pastoral Care.


    He oversees areas related to care including weddings, funerals, baptism, membership, benevolence, hospital and other visitation, DivorceCare, DivorceCare 4 Kids, premarital counseling, crisis intervention, Celebrate Recovery, The Landing and grief support.