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Youth ministry - Martinsburg resident ordained minister at 17

January 20, 1999

By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - William "Bud" Foster II isn't out of high school yet, but he's already an ordained minister and is embarking on a gospel recording career with his soon to be wife.

The 17-year-old Martinsburg High School students talks about the weighty issues of religion confidently and maturely.

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He said the fact he was brought up in a family that had strong Christian values makes his career choice natural.

"That's just what I feel I should do," said Foster.

Foster and Staci Arnold are so confident about their singing career that money almost seems an afterthought.

Twenty-year-old Arnold, who plans to marry Foster next October, dreams about taking their show on the road.

She thinks the couple can support themselves from offerings at churches and nursing homes they hope to play at.

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Foster and Arnold met each other in geometry class at Martinsburg High School two years ago.

She knew Foster was special when she heard the Martinsburg High choir singer deliver his version of White Christmas.

"It was so good. I absolutely loved it," she said.

A choir singer herself, the couple soon realized their voices blended well.

They named themselves the Victory Ministries, and began singing at churches around the area. Last year, Foster and Arnold performed more than 100 times.

Foster said he can't remember all the churches he and Arnold have sang at.

"I do a better job listing the number of churches we haven't been at. Not to may in Hagerstown yet. But that's understandable," he said.

Jim Embrey, assistant pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church, said Foster and Arnold have performed at his West Martin Street church several times. The couple performs at the church's "6:34" program, where people are invited to come to the church dressed in casual wear for a night of song and ministry.

Embrey said adults like to hear Victory Ministries, but their music has enough bounce in it that it attracts young people as well.

"Music is the key word here. People love the music," said Embrey.

Foster said he was ordained through an organization in Gatlinburg, Tenn. called Associated Independent Ministries. The organzation sent Foster a lengthy application, which upon completion, allowed him to preach, he said.

He has since obtained a West Virginia minister's license, which he can use to perform weddings, he said.

But Foster said the main reason he wanted the title was for the music.

"People tend to listen more to a preacher for some reason. It kind of lets people know I'm serious about what I'm doing," said Foster, who will graduate from high school this year.

Foster and Arnold recently completed a five-day recording session in Nashville, Tenn. for a gospel compilation they will call "Just the Two of Us." Foster said he hopes to have the recording available for sale in local Christian book stores.

In 1997, Foster recorded a gospel tape of his own called "With Wings of Eagles."

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