109 York Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325

2023 Council Bios

Serving July 2023-June 2026

Debra Baker, serving 1st term

I am a recovering Washington, D.C. reporter who left the field some seven years ago for a new career. After living in a Kansas City suburb with my new husband (we went to school together as kids, but our circles never overlapped until later in life—darn those 40th high school reunions!), I finally convinced him to move back to the East Coast with me. I found our house online and, coincidentally, it happens to be right down the street from United Lutheran Seminary (my next destination but I didn’t know it yet).

I was born at Great Lakes Naval Hospital outside of Chicago, and I’ve lived in many U.S. places along with a wonderful three-year stint in Germany. I taught school for a while and then I had the opportunity to get into my first love:  journalism. I got in on the bottom floor of wireless communications in 1981 and never looked back. I ended up in Washington, covering communications legislation/regulation for some of the country’s leading trade publications.

That was a good ride for decades but I was destined for something more. For several years, that little voice in my head was pushing me more toward the church, even though I had been so active in two different congregations over the years. Finally, while listening to a sermon one Sunday, that little voice said, “what are you waiting for?” and I found myself in seminary within three weeks.

Those three years of classes were the hardest things I ever had to do, but I loved every minute and everything I learned has been put to good use. I came to St. James some 18 months ago, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s a wonderful church home with so many opportunities.

Besides my wonderful husband who has made all things possible, I have a son and daughter-in-law, one grand-dog, two Siamese cats and a dachshund. I love to cook/bake, read, sew, feather our nest and do whatever I can to proclaim God’s glory wherever and to whomever I can.

Carol Cook, serving 2nd term

I’ve been a Gettysburg resident since 2010. My husband Bob and I built a home in Gettysburg where we both were fortunate to be able to work from home.

My work history is very diverse ranging from Legal Secretary, Legislative Aide, and lastly Senior Associate with KPMG. In 2013, I retired from KPMG and began my full-time life here.

In 2016, Bob and I joined St. James Lutheran, where we found a wonderful church family. We both enjoy being part of the congregation and love being involved in the growth of this church. I became a Stephen Minister six years ago, and the ministry has helped me grow spiritually in so many ways. There are true friends who care about each other here.

St. James has helped me with my faith journey and through this community, we have made many good friends. It has been a pleasure and gift to serve on the St. James Council.

Alan Haynes, serving 2nd term

I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and called that home for 28 years.  Tucson is where I met Cathy Haynes and married her 39 years ago.  We have one son, Joshua, who lives here in Pennsylvania near us with his wife, Stacy and their 2 children.  

My career brought us to Fairfield 15 years ago which involves extensive travel mostly throughout New England.

We joined St. James Lutheran Church around 8 years ago.  I have served on several committees and the church council at St. James over the last 8 years.  I am currently starting my 2nd term and was just elected Vice President .

I am an usher and sacristy attendant usually at the 8:15 service on Sundays. 

I am an avid car guy and spend a lot of time in my garage working on and enjoying my cars and trucks.

When I’m not in the garage, Cathy and I spend as much time as we can enjoying the outdoors with our Labradors, hopefully camping and boating at Raystown Lake.

God’s Peace,
Alan Haynes

Mark Withrow, serving 1st term

Growing up in Washington, Pennsylvania, located in southwestern PA, I have fond memories of working at my father’s appliance store and helping out on my grandparents farm. This was a good way to spend my early years.

I moved to Loudoun County, Virginia in 1981 and remained there for 38 years working and raising my sons, Alex and Jason.  Alex and his wife, Allie, remain in Virginia and frequently escape northern Virginia for a visit to Gettysburg. My son, Jason, passed away in 2016.

In 2005 Sonja and I were married and I gained three step-children.  Will lives in Frederick, Maryland, Neal in Dallas, Texas, and Katie in Seattle, Washington.   

Sonja and I retired in 2019 and moved to Gettysburg, the best place I have ever lived.  I enjoy volunteering for various organizations, hiking, riding my bicycle, and learning about music.  I try to be outside as often as possible.

We are new members of St. James Lutheran Church and I look forward to being of service on the Congregation Council.