Gideon Horner bio
Gideon Horner was born on March 11, 1970, in Springfield, Missouri. His father, Marcus Horner, owned a sewing machine and vacuum cleaner repair shop, and his mother, Clara Horner, worked at home as a seamstress.
Gideon was conceived out of wedlock. As a result, their families and their church community ostracized Marcus and Clara. They were married in a civil ceremony on November 19, 1969.
Marcus and Clara remained strong in their faith and found a new church home at Cornerstone Baptist Church, where they were accepted and embraced. When the baby was born they named him "Gideon" to represent the strength of their faith, love and commitment.
While looking for permanent work, Marcus did odd jobs at Cornerstone Baptist Church. Marcus found favor with a parishioner, Harold Smart, who hired Marcus to repair sewing machines and vacuum cleaners. Marcus and Harold developed a father-son relationship and Marcus inherited the repair shop in 1990 when Harold died.
Gideon was the eldest of three boys. The Horner family was close-knit, and freely showed their affection. Clara was particularly funny and loved to sing, often making up alternative lyrics to popular songs.
When he was 16, Gideon accepted a leadership role in the youth ministry at Cornerstone Baptist Church, and by age 17, decided to pursue a career in ministry. In 1992, he received a Bachelor of Science degree with a minor in Accounting from Missouri State University, and in 1995 he graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, with a Master of Divinity degree.
During his last year in seminary, he and fellow student Savannah Chase began dating. Savannah received her Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling in 1995, and the couple married in October of that year and moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where Savannah was born and raised. Today, they have an 11-year-old son, Zach, and a nine-year-old daughter, Emma.
Immediately after moving to Oxford, Gideon was hired as Associate Pastor at Trinity Church on the fast track to become Senior Pastor upon Reverend James' scheduled retirement in 1997.
Gideon continued to build on the success of Reverend James' church, focusing on community outreach as well as developing a popular missional youth ministry.
In working with other clergy members in Oxford to strengthen the interdenominational and interfaith relationships in the community, Gideon became particularly good friends with Pastor Wendell Martinson of the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit church, and the two often socialized together.
On Easter Sunday 2013, Pastor Martinson was found brutally murdered in his church, sending shockwaves through the community. Gideon, with the help of key congregation members like Cindy Fine, was instrumental in helping his own congregation, Pastor Martinson's congregation, and the community at large come to terms with the tragedy.
Since Cindy's husband was found murdered, Gideon has been counseling her and praying with her to help her deal with her loss.