Two Cedar Rapids Methodist Church pastors killed in crash
3 mins read

Two Cedar Rapids Methodist Church pastors killed in crash

CEDAR RAPIDS — Two pastors of the Cedar Rapids United Methodist Church were killed Sunday in a car crash after attending a morning worship service at the Veterans Memorial Building.

Pastor Charles Layton, 65, and Pastor Carol Mart, 77, drove to the event together Sunday and went out for lunch together after the service. About 1 p.m., they were driving on Blaine’s Crossing Road in Bertram when they crossed Highway 13 and collided with a car on the highway.

Layton and Mart died in the crash.

“Both pastors were wonderful people with big hearts,” said Scott Meador, pastor of Lovely Lane United Methodist Church and leader of the Cedar Rapids United Methodist District.

Pastor Charles Layton speaking during a joint worship service Sunday, hosted by many United Methodist Churches in the Cedar Rapids circuit. Layton and another pastor, Carol Mart, were killed in a car accident after the service. (Cooperation)

Pastor Charles Layton speaking during a joint worship service Sunday, hosted by many United Methodist churches in the Cedar Rapids circuit. Layton and another pastor, Carol Mart, were killed in a car accident after the service. (Cooperation)

“You could tell they loved their people, and their people really loved them. It was a strong characteristic of both of them, that they loved their congregations.”

Layton was a pastor at Asbury and Kenwood Park United Methodist churches, and Mart was a pastor at Buffalo United Methodist Church. Mart was a former member of the Asbury congregation before she entered the ministry, and Layton was her mentor, according to Chuck Johnson, a member of the Asbury leadership team.

Johnson said Layton drew from childhood experiences in his sermons and liked to joke.

“He was a pastor who loved music and singing. He was in the choir as much as he could. He loved, like all Methodists, he loved potlucks,” Johnson said. “He preached wonderful, beautiful sermons. . . . He was very down-to-earth in his sermons.”

Johnson said the crash was difficult for many members of the congregation to accept, especially since many of them not only knew Layton but were friends with Mart when she was a member of Asbury.

“These two had a lot of lunches and camaraderie. It was very shocking to anyone who heard about it,” Johnson said.

Pastor Carol Mart speaks during a joint worship service Sunday, hosted by many United Methodist Churches in the Cedar Rapids circuit. Mart and another pastor, Charles Layton, were killed in a car accident after the service. (Cooperation)

Pastor Carol Mart speaks during a joint worship service Sunday, organized by many United Methodist churches in the Cedar Rapids circuit. Mart and another pastor, Charles Layton, were killed in a car accident after the service. (Cooperation)

Bob Marrs, a member of the Buffalo congregation who collaborated with Mart on bulletins and other communications, said she often drew on personal and family experiences in her teaching. She spoke regularly about her grandson and always seemed to be in tune with the needs of the congregation.

“She was very personable and she really seemed to care. Pastors are paid to care, but I think she was someone who cared as a fundamental part of her personality,” Marrs said. “She worked very hard to figure out ways to bring people into the church and make them feel comfortable.”

According to Meador, other pastors in the Cedar Rapids area plan to meet later this week to discuss how best to support both pastors’ congregations as they deal with their sudden losses.

“As colleagues, we’re just trying to be available,” Meador said. “I think all of us are ready to step up when we need to. There are still things to figure out, but we’re open to doing what we can.”

Comments: (319) 398-8328; [email protected]