The congregation of Central Baptist Church of Woodbury voted unanimously on Sunday, April 14, 2013, to call Dr. Carla Romarate-Knipel as its next Senior Pastor. A third-generation Baptist minister, Carla was born in Iloilo City, Philippines. She made a decision to commit her life to Jesus Christ when she was ten years old; began training in Christian ministry when she was 16 years old; and was commissioned as a pastor at the age of 24. Carla received her Bachelor of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from Central Philippine University (CPU); and her Doctor of Ministry in the Renewal of the Church for Mission at Palmer Theological Seminary (formerly known as Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary). She has previously served as co-interim minister, along with her husband David, at churches in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including a previous stint as co-interim minister at Central Baptist Church.
Prior to her ministry in the United States that began in 2001, Carla served as pastor in churches affiliated with the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, a mission partner of the American Baptist Churches USA. She also taught at the Religion Department and the College of Theology at Central Philippine University. It was in CPU where she met her husband, the Rev. David N. Knipel. They are blessed with a son, Isaac Norman.
Carla enjoys singing, reading, and writing. Her articles on the first ordained Filipino Baptist woman pastor and Baptist missions in the Philippines were published by the Baptist History and Heritage journal in 2006 and 2007, respectively. She is also a featured author in the book, Chapters in Philippine Church History edited by Anne Kwantes and published by OMF Literature in 2001. Carla volunteers as Special Assistant for Philippines Relations, Board of International Ministries, ABC-USA.
She sums up her vocation and ministry in these words: “I have come to know the power of God’s love through Jesus Christ and am committed to sharing it with anyone who is willing to listen. I am delighted to now have the opportunity to continue to serve my Lord through the Body of Christ gathered at Central Baptist Church.””