NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Long-time pastor Rev. Dr. DeForest "Buster" Soaries has been appointed to the board of trustees for RWJBarnabas Health, the largest health care system in the state, hospital officials announced.

Soaries, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, will serve a three-year term on the board.

“We are extremely pleased that Reverend Soaries has joined our Corporate Board of Trustees,” stated Jack Morris, Chairman of the RWJBarnabas Health Board. "His experience and passion will help to foster meaningful initiatives that will enable us to continue to improve the health and wellness of our communities," Morris said.

Sign Up for E-News

Soaries is currently a board member of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

Since 1990, Soaries has been senior pastor of the First Baptist Church, which now has a congregation of 7,000 members.

A resident of the nearby Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick, Soaries is the author of seven books, and he has taught classes at he has taught at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, Drew University in Madison, and Kean University in Union Township, Union County.

From 1999 to 2002, he served as New Jersey Secretary of State. In 2004 he was appointed by President George Bush to serve as a commissioner of the federal Election Assistance Commission, which oversaw distribution of $2.3 billion to states for the Help America Vote Act.