"Martha Lynn Thompson was the Organist and Associate Director of Music at St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas from 1969 until her retirement in July 2002. Her husband, Felix, was the Director of Music and jointly they directed the handbell program. Under their leadership, the St. James Music Ministry grew from 2 to 20 choirs. Prior to coming to St. James, Martha Lynn taught junior high school choral music and, with her husband, developed a graded choral and handbell program at the Methodist Children's Home in Little Rock. In 1989 she was elected National Secretary of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, Inc. and for two years served on its Board of Directors. She served on the National Board of Directors of Choristers Guild for six years, serving as Secretary/Treasurer for the last three of those years.
In 1995 the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers conferred upon Martha Lynn the status of Master Instructor of Handbell Notation.
In 2001 she was granted an Honorary Life Membership in the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. "This status is deemed to be the highest honor which the AGEHR can bestow, it is reserved for individuals of the highest caliber who have made outstanding contributions to the art of handbell ringing."
Mrs. Thompson is a graduate of Henderson State University where she received her Bachelor of Music Education degree with a major in organ and theory. She has more than 225 published arrangements and transcriptions that range from music for the beginning bell choir to music for the most advanced choirs. With Frances Callahan she has written five series of music books for the beginning handbell choirs. There are thirteen collections in the Begin to Ring, Ready to Ring, Clapper Classics, Key Rings, and Classic Rings series. Alone she has authored other collections for beginning and intermediate bell choirs, Rhythm and Bells, three collections in the Time to Ring series and two collections of Christmas music entitled Hear the Bells at Christmas. She also has two published organ transcriptions, is the author of a handbook for directors and ringers entitled Bell, Book, and Ringer, and the author of a book for beginning directors and choirs entitled Handbell Helper.
On the AGEHR National level, Martha Lynn has served on numerous committees and currently she serves as Member-at-large on the Communications Committee.
In her retirement, as a volunteer she continues to direct two handbell choirs at St. James UMC, to work behind the scenes with the St. James Alumni Ringers which her husband directs, and to be active as an arranger of handbell music."