Meet Our Staff
John C. Lentz, Jr., M.Div., Ph.D.
Pastor & Head of Staff
John joined the staff as Senior Pastor in 1994. Originally from Winchester, Virginia, he, his wife Deanne, and their 3 children quickly made their mark on Forest Hill.
John focuses on helping people accept and live into the fact that they are beloved children of God, and on nurturing the development of a spirit in people that helps bring about change. “I want people to enjoy their faith and their life, to celebrate and take risks. Then we can work together with energy and joy for each other and our community.”
A graduate of Kenyon College, Yale University, and Edinburgh University in Scotland, John enjoys and encourages discussion and participation in activities that impact the community. He may be found on the stage of Cleveland Heights High School competing in a spelling bee for Reaching Heights, announcing for local sports teams, or helping to organize forums on the public schools. Whether preaching, baptizing an infant, officiating at a wedding, cheering on the FHC softball team, or supporting various Cleveland Heights and regional activities, he is spirited and enthusiastic, and his message is personalized and upbeat.
Rev. Lois Annich
Interim Associate Pastor
I am so grateful to have been called to serve this wonderful community as one of your Interim Associate Pastors. What a privilege it is to be part of such a spirit-filled congregation and talented staff. Believe me when I say that I am nothing short of overjoyed!
As I ponder what lies ahead for our time together the image of Tibetan sand artists keeps coming to mind. Perhaps you’ve seen their work here in Cleveland or elsewhere. These Buddhist monks work tirelessly to create ineffably beautiful designs out of sand that has been dyed a myriad of hues. The art they make is intricate and sophisticated, but after days or weeks of painstaking labor they blow the whole thing away in a religious rite. Impermanence is a central tenet of their faith, but it’s not a morbid belief. It’s an affirmation that life is a dynamic process in which we find freedom by surrendering to its flow. As Christians we affirm in a similar way that the cross gives way to the empty tomb and death gives way to new life.
As an interim pastor I am committed to serving you, in the words of my ordination vows, “with energy, intelligence, imagination and love.” I intend to show up with everything I’ve got and be very present to whatever is going on. At the end of my time here I will let go and trust that God’s grace will guide us as we embark on different paths. It will be a great spiritual discipline for me and I hope for you as well. We will get to embody faithful impermanence and radical trust. Change is one of the few things in life that is unchanging and we will have the opportunity to practice living intentionally with that reality through this interim time.
I’ve worked in alcohol treatment centers, hospitals, congregations, pastoral counseling centers and even a management-consulting firm, and I hope to share the learning I’ve acquired along the way with you. As of this writing, I will be working with Leadership Development, the Deacons, and with John and Rachel to provide pastoral care, but who knows what may yet develop? I have a passion for body-mind wellness practices, meditation, and contemplation and am eager to support your faith journey with those tools as well. Stay tuned for where the Spirit will lead us and how the Spirit will empower us to show up fully, joyfully, and yes, even playfully, in the midst of life’s ever-flowing stream!
Interim Associate Pastor
As one of your new interim pastors, I want to reassure you that I know something about transition. I’ve spent more than enough time over the past few months packing and unloading boxes. During June, my belongings were split between three states as I slowly worked my way toward my new home. Since graduating from seminary this spring I have signed a lease, started my job here at Forest Hill, and very soon will be married. 2015 is a big year. And although I am very excited about these changes in my life, I can tell you that all of this transition has occasionally brought with it sadness and stress. Just ask my fiancé, Josh Daum.
Part of my role as interim pastor is to be attentive to this transitional time in the life of Forest Hill Church, through excitement and stress. I’m here to walk alongside you as leadership changes. I’m also going to be poking around in all sorts of dusty corners (both literal and figurative) and asking lots of questions. I can help everyone brush up on communicating clearly with one another and with people
outside of the church. You’ll also find me frequently hanging around with youth and young adults.
If you need to find me at the church, I will sometimes be found in my new office on the second floor opposite the crib room. If not there, check nearby coffee shops. Questions, concerns, and complaints can be directed to RachelM@fhcpresb.org. I’m delighted to be back at Forest Hill. Thank you for your kind and generous welcome!
Anne Wilson, M.M., F.A.G.O., Ch.M.
Director of Music & Organist
Anne has been Director of Music at Forest Hill since 1993 and Organist since 1989. Equally at home with the children’s choir, the youth choir, the adult choir and the bell choir, she runs from one group to the next with energy and enthusiasm. (Read more about our choirs and the music program.)
Anne earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees (Organ Performance) from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and holds the American Guild of Organists’ highest honors: the Fellowship and Choirmaster certificates. She has composed many pieces of music and has been featured on WCLV’s Not the Dead, White, Male Composers Hour, as well as National Public Radio’s “Pipedreams” program.
Active in the greater Cleveland musical community, Anne is rehearsal pianist for Apollo’s Fire and founder of the Greater Cleveland Classical Guitar Society. She also accompanies the Cleveland Heights High School Vocal Music groups and mentors many young musicians.
Anne has taken first or second prizes in seven national and international organ competitions and is a nationally known recitalist and workshop leader. Recital venues have included Washington’s National Cathedral, New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, California’s Crystal Cathedral, and Cleveland’s Severance Hall. Anne raised two daughters and has resided in Cleveland Heights for over 20 years. More information is available on her website.
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Director of Youth Ministries
Shannon is a full–time student at Notre Dame College studying Pastoral Ministry and Theology. Shannon and her husband LaDon have three children: Lotus, Zen, and Lyric. Her philosophy of ministry is “Love God, Change the World.” Her goal is to encourage and inspire our youth to love creation and be the change they want to see in the world. Shannon really, really loves coffee, baking, the outdoors, and reading everything from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Stan Lee. She dreams of owning a log cabin in the middle of the woods where she’ll write the next great American novel.
Director of Children’s Ministries
Rev. Patricia (Tricia) Dykers Koenig
Forest Hill is grateful to have Tricia Dykers Koenig, National Organizer for The Covenant Network of Presbyterians, on board as our Parish Associate. She brings a wealth of experience from her service as pastor to several churches including, most recently, Noble Road Presbyterian.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from Duke University, Tricia earned her Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary. She has filled a variety of positions for the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, including moderating the Committee on Ministry Suitability, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, the Mission Council, the Committee on Nominations, and the Evangelism Committee, and serving as Commissioner to the 203rd General Assembly of the PC(USA).
Tricia has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Cleveland Heights. An active community organizer, she has served as President of the Heights Interfaith Council, participates in Habitat for Humanity, SHARE, Heights Families for Equality, the Unity Through Diversity Project, and is a board member of Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns and More Light Presbyterians.
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Want something done? Want it done fast? Want it done right? Lynda’s the person to see. Her official title is Office Administrator but we know her as the person who keeps track of John and, seemingly, everything and everyone else. She’s passionate about protecting the environment and often rides her bike or walks to church from her home in Shaker Heights.
Because Becky Austin is only in the office on Mondays and Wednesdays, many members only talk with her on the phone or receive her financial statements. So they may be forgiven for imagining her to be some kind of magical financial wizard. But she is our real live Financial Officer and works with Treasurer Graham Peters to expertly manage our finances.
Sunday Nursery Supervisor & Caregiver
Tracy Long has been calming the babies and soothing separation anxiety at Forest Hill since 2008. An experienced Nanny during the week, Tracy is the glue that holds our volunteer caregivers together. Children who have “graduated” to older classrooms or Pathways still stop by for a Tracy hug. Forest Hill is lucky to have her in our Nursery!
Stavros Gazis originally hails from Greece, although he has lived in Cleveland for many years. Conscientious, kind, and very particular about how his church is kept, Stavros is always busy, and always smiling.
Michael Broadwater is one of our part-time custodians and is often in charge on Sunday mornings. He has a strong interest and background in electronic media and is always ready to help untangle a mechanical problem. More than just a part-time staff member, Michael is a vital participant in Forest Hill Church activities.
Other Custodial Staff (not pictured)