Meet Our Staff
John C. Lentz, Jr., M.Div., Ph.D., Senior 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
Lois is delighted to serve Forest Hill as one of the Interim Associate Pastors. She has had a long and varied career in ministry– serving in congregations, hospitals, alcohol treatment units, and pastoral counseling centers. A graduate of Middlebury College and Yale Divinity School, Lois is a Fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, a certified member of the International Coach Federation, and a yoga teacher. Lois recently graduated from Auburn Seminary’s Coaching Program and gets really excited about helping faith leaders and churches find ways to sustain themselves personally and professionally. Lois is married to Richard Israel, a Lutheran pastor who serves at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. They take much delight in their two grown children and quirky rescue dog, and try not to pass up any opportunities to enjoy live theater, the movies, and time walking in nature.
Lois loves preaching, teaching, pastoral care and counseling and is thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with the gifted Forest Hill Church staff!
Rachel McDonald, Interim Associate Pastor
Newly graduated, newly married, Rachel knows a lot about transition! As one of our interim pastors, she sees her role as being attentive to this transitional time in the life of Forest Hill, and is walking alongside the congregation as leadership changes. She loves to poke around in all sorts of dusty corners (both literal and figurative) and ask lots of questions as she supports both members and staff on communicating clearly with one another and with people outside of the church. You’ll find her frequently hanging around with youth and young adults.
Rachel is delighted to be back at Forest Hill!
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 directs each with energy and enthusiasm.
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 Hts. High School Vocal Music groups and mentors many young musicians.
Anne has taken 1st or 2nd prizes in 7 national and international organ competitions and is a nationally-known recitalist and workshop leader. Recital venues include Washington’s National Cathedral, New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, California’s Crystal Cathedral, and Cleveland’s Severance Hall. Anne raised 2 daughters and has resided in Cleveland Heights for over 20 years. More info is available on her website.
Shannon Headen, Director of Youth Ministries
Shannon Headen 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.” As Director of Youth Ministries, Shannon’s 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.
Kate Burleigh, Director of Children’s Ministries
Kate Burleigh oversees our Pathways to the Promise Land program for grades 1-5, as well as our Children in Worship class for 4 and 5 year-olds. She is also responsible for our childcare program.
The parent of three active boys, Kate is highly-qualified to care for and guide the children of Forest Hill Church.
Patricia (Tricia) Dykers Koenig, Parish Associate
Forest Hill is grateful to have Tricia Dykers Koenig, National Organizer for The Covenant Network of Presbyterians, as our Parish Associate. She brings a wealth of experience from serving as pastor to several churches including Noble Road Presbyterian.
After graduating from Duke University, Tricia earned her Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary. She has moderated or served on many committees of the Presbytery of the Western Reserve, including Ministry Suitability, Preparation for Ministry, Mission Council, Nominations, and Evangelism. Tricia has 2 grown sons and lives with her husband in Cleveland Heights. An active community organizer (Heights Interfaith Council, Habitat for Humanity, SHARE, Heights Families for Equality, the Unity Through Diversity Project), she is a board member of Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns and More Light Presbyterians.
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Lynda Bernays, Office Administrator
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.
Becky Austin, Financial Officer
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.
Tracy Long, Sunday Nursery Supervisor & Caregiver
Tracy Long has been calming 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)
Anthony Bland, Lavell Blue, Patricia Parker, and Daryl Shepherd