John C. Lentz, Jr., M.Div., Ph.D., Senior Pastor & Head of Staff
John joined Forest Hill Church as Senior Pastor in 1994. Originally from Winchester, Virginia, he and his wife Deanne reside in Cleveland Heights and raised their 3 children in the CH-UH public schools.
John’s focus is helping people discover and live into their roles as beloved children of God, and nurturing people’s spiritual growth to help bring about change. “When people enjoy their faith and their life, they 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, 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 delight in their two grown children and quirky rescue dog, and try not to pass up any opportunities to enjoy live theater, movies, and 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!
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.
Patricia (Tricia) Dykers Koenig,
Forest Hill is grateful to have Tricia Dykers Koenig, of 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. A graduate of Duke University, Tricia earned her Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary. An active community organizer (Heights Interfaith Council, Greater Cleveland Congregations, Heights Families for Equality, the Unity Through Diversity Project), she is on the boards of Presbyterians for Lesbian & Gay Concerns and More Light Presbyterians, and has moderated or served on many committees of the Presbytery of the Western Reserve,
Director of Youth Ministries
Shannon Headen is a full–time student at Notre Dame College studying Pastoral Ministry and Theology. Her philosophy is Love God, Change the World. As director of our Youth
Ministries, Shannon inspires 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. Shannon and her husband LaDon have three children: Lotus, Zen, and Lyric.
Director of Children’s Ministries
Kate Burleigh oversees our Children’s Ministries: Pathways to the Promise Land program for grades 1-5, Children in Worship class for 4 and 5 year-olds; childcare for infants and toddlers.
As the parent of three active boys (along with husband Dave), and possessed of an extra large sense of humor, Kate is highly-qualified to care for and guide the children of Forest Hill Church.
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 nursery volunteer 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!
If you want something done fast and done right, Lynda Bernays is the person to see. The consummate problem solver, Lynda’s official title is Office Administrator but we know her as the person who keeps track of seemingly everything and everyone. 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 know her only through phone conversations or when they receive her excellent 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.
Publicity & Outreach
Originally our very part-time webmaster, Peg Weissbrod’s role has expanded to include our advertising and other publicity pieces. She works with all ministries to publicize their events and sees the entire building as an opportunity to welcome and include all to Forest Hill Church.
Ann Donkin is our newest staff member but has quickly become an integral part of our ministry. With expertise and experience in all facets of building management, Ann’s goal is to make our building work for our members and the community, all while supporting Forest Hill’s mission and ensuring the building reflects our goals of being a welcoming, learning, worshiping, witnessing and discerning community.
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 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.
One of our main daytime custodians, Daryl not only keeps the building clean, he does it with a smile and an over-sized personality that adds effervescent and vitality to our day-to-day atmosphere.
Anthony Bland is one of our primary evening custodians. As the person in charge of the building during most ministry meetings, Anthony is even-tempered yet eager to help, as well as extremely knowledgeable about the workings of our building.
Lavell Blue is our part-time weekend and evening custodian. Not everyone knows him given the part-time nature of his work, but staff members know him as someone who can come in and get the job done quickly and efficiently.