Elders and Deacons

Our elders oversee the work of the congregation and guard the flock against false teaching and doctrine, and shepherd the congregation. Our deacons serve the congregation and support it’s work, operations, and ministries.

Edwin Davis, Jr.

Edwin "Ed" was born in Plant City, Florida and graduated from Marshall High School in 1964. He attended Gibbs and Saint Petersburg Junior College in Saint Petersburg, Florida, before transferring and graduating from Florida A & M University (FAMU), Tallahassee, Florida , where he earned a degree in Accounting. After graduating from FAMU, he began a careen in Accounting, holding various positions before retiring in 2008, after 40 years from Packaging Corporation of America as the CFO for their Winter Haven Corrugated Box Plant.

In addition, he is also a Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker and the owner of Davis Enterprise Rentals, LLC. He has served as an Elder at Hilltop Church Christ since 1992, where he works closely with the Church Finances, and serves as the Education Director.

He has been married to his high school sweetheart, the former Erma L. Vereen for over 52 years. They have three adult sons, Edwin III, Ennis and Eric, along with 15 grandchildren. Ed and Erma enjoy traveling and have been to 37 of the 50 US states, with a goal of visiting all 50, if it is the Lord's will, as well as a number of foreign countries.

He feels fortunate to serve as one of the Elders of this congregation, and humbled that he and his family has been able to be a part of such a strong and loving congregation.

Ed favorite scripture is Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Charles McMillian, DMD
Gary Smith Sr., Ed.D.

Dr. Gary Smith was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1966. In 1974, his parents moved the family to Pensacola, Florida, where he was then raised. After graduating from high school, he joined the military and began what turn out to be a 23-year Army Career, in which he retired in 2007 with the rank of First Sergeant/grade E-8. Dr. Smith served a tour in Iraq and receive numerous awards for his military achievements and service, noteworthy, the Army’s Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medal. While stationed in Tallahassee, FL, Dr. Smith attended Florida State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1997, and a master’s degree in 1998, both in Clinical Social Work. It is there where he met the former Shana B. Kent of Jacksonville, FL, who was at that time attending Florida A&M University. It was through Shana, that Gary was introduced to the Church of Christ. He was baptized in 1993 at the West Side Church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. In 1994 Gary and Shana was married at the West Side Church of Christ in Jacksonville. From 1993-1999, Dr. Smith served for the next 7 years with the Paul Russell Road Church of Christ in Tallahassee. During his time with the saints in Tallahassee, Dr. Smith served as the Youth Director, as the Chairperson for the Florida Statewide Youth Conference, and on several occasions was requested to preach the Word there at Paul Russell Road (the late Raymond T. Williams, Minister), and at Springhill Road COC (formerly Wesley T. Leonard, Minister), a sister congregation. While in Tallahassee, Gary and Shana had two children, Gary Jr. now age 26, currently serving in the military, and Tiye age 24, a recent college graduate. The family moved to Winter Haven, FL in the year 2000, and started worshiping at the former Second Street COC, which is now the Hilltop Church of Christ. Dr. Smith continued his secular education by attending Warner University to obtain a second master’s degree in Education. Dr. Smith would also attend Benedictine University where in December 2017, he earned and was awarded a Doctorate Degree in Organizational Leadership in Higher Education. Dr. Smith’s other secular jobs included, working as a Social Worker for the VA Hospital, as a Mental Health Counselor for Florida Hospital Behavior Health Center, and an Adjunct Professor for DeVry University, where he taught Intro to Psychology, and Critical Thinking. Dr. Smith currently works for GEICO Insurance Company in Lakeland, as a Regional Management Trainer, since 2007. As a member of the Hilltop Church of Christ, Dr. Smith has served in various capacities to include Sunday school teacher, Assistant Director of Education, training Bible school teachers, VBS Coordinator, Budget Ministry Member, Media Ministry Member, Youth Ministry Member, NE Zone Leader, the Youth Director from 2017-2020, and other Church related activities and events. Dr. Smith currently serves as Church Elder, since August 2021. One of Dr Smith's favorite scriptures is Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called, according to His purpose".

Ollie Burton, Jr.

Ollie J Burton Jr. was born in Atlanta, GA in 1950. His father Ollie J Burton, Sr. was a member of the Lord’s church as well as his mother Mozella Burton. He married his wife Lillie Burton in December 1971 and will soon celebrate 48 years of marriage. Ollie graduated from Jewett High in 1968, attend Polk Community College graduating with an A.S. degree in Construction Technology. Ollie retired from the State of Florida Department of Transportation after 35 years of serve. They have three children Donnie F. Curry (Step-son), daughters Veronique Baptist and Oliengra J. Burton, along with five precious grandchildren. Ollie has been a member of the church since 1980 and baptized at the Second Street church of Christ, Winter Haven, FL by Bro. T.L. King minister. Ollie has service as a Deacon for this congregation for over 26 years, taught Bible class for over 20 years grades 7th thru 9th. Ollie has served as the church worship coordinator for 26 plus years.

Artis Dukes
Frank Major

Frank was born in the 1920s in Martin SC to Liver Poole and Anna Major, the youngest of twelve children.  At an early age, Frank learned to raise livestock and grow crops by his father. Frank was 19 years of age when he moved to Florida. Frank settled in Lake Alfred, working at Growers Fertilizer as a Supervisor, his title was Scale Man. Frank was baptized at the Oakland church of Christ in Haines City Florida in the1960’s, where he and his family worshipped until they moved their membership to Pughsville Church of Christ in Winter Haven Florida

Frank is married to Daisy Brown Austin, the widow of Brother James David Austin.  In 1994, Frank Major was ordained as a Deacon during the time of Evangelist Eddie L. Harper as the Minister of the Second Street Church of Christ.  The Second Street Church of Christ outgrew their location and later became the Hilltop Church of Christ on Ave T, which is now on Martin Luther King Blvd.

Frank has always made it a practice of putting God first.  Frank is a Patient man, a family man and a trailblazer, Frank is a committed soldier for Christ. Frank's favorite scriptures are John 3:16 and the 23rd Psalms. Today Frank is still a Deacon at the Hilltop Church of Christ, with his Flower “Daisy” by his side. Together they were blessed with eight children, fourteen grandchildren, and thirty-nine Great Grandchildren.
Willie Richard

Willie's Christian journey began in 1985. He was baptized and immediately became involved in various Church ministries which included van driver for meals on wheels and ushering in worship service. Over the years he continued his growth as a Christian and became a Sunday school teacher. After years of growth he became a Deacon and continues to serve the Church in that capacity. Willie remains involved in a number of Church ministries, including building and grounds management.

Marvin Tarver


Deacon Marvin Tarver has been a member of the Church of Christ since his teenage years. He was baptized at the Second Street Church of Christ by minister T. L. King. Deacon Tarver has worked in several roles in the congregation. He has served as a Sunday School Teacher, Usher, and Lads to Leaders Coach. Marvin has participated on the Youth Committee, the Cool Ministry as an adult leader, and the Safety Team. He has also assisted with carrying out the Invitation on Wednesday Nights and occasionally preaches at Hilltop and other Church of Christ congregations when the need arises. He is married to Sharon, his wife of 26 years. Marvin and Sharon have four children: Shamari, Marcus, Sharnae, and Ike. Both have served as Sunday School Teachers and youth leaders during their time at Hilltop. Deacon Tarver in his secular role, serves the City of Lakeland as a Law Enforcement Officer in the rank of Assistant Police Chief. Over the past 27 years, he has served in the Uniform Patrol Division, the Special Investigations Division, the Criminal Investigations Division, the Support Services Division, and the Community Services Division. Deacon Tarver has been the recipient of the Officer of the Year Award, the Chief’s Award, the Meritorious Service Award, and several Distinguished Performance Awards, to name a few. He holds an associate degree in Liberal Arts, a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Polk State College, and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University. He is also a graduate of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute, Senior Leadership Program and the Southern Police Institute, Administrative Officer’s Course. Marvin enjoys reading, participating in outdoor activities, and spending time with family. His favorite scripture is 2 Samuel 23:3, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

Contact Us

Hilltop Church of Christ
2101 Martin Luther King Blvd. NE
Winter Haven, FL 33881

Phone: (863) 293-1791
Fax: (863) 401-3521
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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