Ryan Dowell Baum

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Ryan Dowell Baum
Born Ryan Sommers Baum
(1983-04-26) April 26, 1983 (age 34)
Albany, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Congregational United Church of Christ minister
Years active 1998–2001
Spouse(s) Molly Dowell (m. 2007)

Ryan Dowell Baum (born Ryan Sommers Baum; April 26, 1983) is an American former child actor, best known as J.B. Halliburton on the Disney Channel original series The Famous Jett Jackson. He is currently an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Iowa Conference, currently pastor at First Congregational United Church of Christ, Sioux City, Iowa.

Life and career[edit]

Baum was born in Albany, New York to a secular Jewish father and non-practicing Catholic mother.[1] In 2001, Ryan graduated from Guilderland High School, in Guilderland Center, New York. He then attended Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and graduated in 2005, with a BFA in Theatre. Ryan completed Master of Divinity studies at Pacific School of Religion, in Berkeley, California in 2010. He was ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in covenant with First Congregational UCC of Oakland, California and the Bay Association.

While earning his undergraduate degree from NYU, Ryan traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa to study the cultural impact of performance poetry in the struggle against apartheid and in building the new post-apartheid South Africa. During his time there, he became actively involved in the ministry of the Johannesburg Quaker community, helping to use theater to educate township youth about HIV and AIDS, and volunteering to operate a mobile soup kitchen in inner-city Johannesburg. It was here that Dowell Baum felt his call to ministry. During his college years he also worked as a counselor at Friends Camp, a Quaker summer camp in South China, Maine.

In the summer of 2005, Ryan worked as the director of the STAR (Summer Theater at the 'Rep) theater program in Albany, NY, in which teens from the area write and perform their own musical. The theme of their musical was mythology, and Ryan brought some of the cultural knowledge he learned in South Africa into the show, including a folk song and story.

In 2007-08, Baum did ministry in the city of Oakland, California in collaboration with First Congregational United Church of Christ and Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, building relationships with community members, especially youth, who are caught in cycles of violence, in order to provide compassionate pastoral presence and training in community and self transformation through active nonviolence. In 2008-09, he served as an Americorps*VISTA at the College of Wooster. He is perhaps best known for his appearance on the hit radio program The Josh and Jeff Experience. In 2010-2011 Ryan spent a year working as a Global Ministry Fellow in Zambia with the ecumenical organization Theological Education by Extension in Zambia (TEEZ), helping train lay leaders for the work of the Church. He worked jointly at TEEZ with his wife, Molly. After which they spent 3 months traveling and learning about the Church in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia.

Marriage and name change[edit]

Ryan officially changed his last name to Dowell Baum when he was married to Molly Dowell, a graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS), on August 18, 2007, in a private ceremony held in Atchison, Kansas.[citation needed] He is now known as Ryan Dowell Baum.[citation needed]


Television appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Profile, siouxcityjournal.com; accessed March 17, 2016.


External links[edit]