Rev. Dr. Veronica R. Goines, M.Div., Ph.D., Co-Pastor
Forest Hill welcomed Rev. Goines as Co-Pastor at the end of 2018, after an extensive national search. Along with Rev. Lentz, Veronica shares equally in leading Forest Hill Church further along the path of restorative justice. Her role as co-pastor model reflects the church’s mission and vision as a church where all of God’s children are heard, seen, exalted and equal.
Veronica previously led the historic multicultural St. Andrew Presbyterian Church of Marin City, California. She earned her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley in 2017, after earning both her Master of Divinity Degree and a diploma in Pastoral Counseling from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is certified in basic and advanced Clinical Pastoral Education at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and at Stanford University Hospital.
In addition to her pastoral and chaplaincy experience, Veronica has also served in the local, regional, and national bodies of the Presbyterian Church, USA. She served as an Affiliate Faculty of San Francisco Theological Seminary, and preaches, teaches, and keynotes at local, regional, and national levels of the Presbyterian Church, and more.
A published writer, poet, and avid outdoors-woman, Veronica is thrilled to be in partnership with John, the Forest Hill Church congregation, and the greater community.
Rev. Dr. John C. Lentz, Jr., M.Div., Ph.D., Co-Pastor
Although Rev. Lentz joined Forest Hill Church as Senior Pastor in 1994, he gladly welcomed the opportunity to become one of our new Co-Pastors along with Co-Pastor Veronica Goines. Originally from Winchester, Virginia, John and his wife Deanne reside in Cleveland Heights and raised their 3 now-adult 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 both personalized and upbeat.
Dr. Qin Ying Tan,
Interim Music Director
We are blessed to welcome Qin Ying Tan (she goes by Ying) to the staff of Forest Hill Church. Ying holds multiple degrees from the Peabody Institute of Music in piano performance, harpsichord performance, and musicology, and graduated with a doctorate in harpsichord performance from Cleveland Institute of Music in 2019. The recipient of prizes and awards from the Trailblazer Foundation, the Eileen Southern Grant (American Musicological Society), and multiple full scholarships from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and the Peabody Institute of Music at the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Tan also won top prize at the International Young Artists’ Piano Competition in 2006. She has performed around the world.
Born and raised in racially-diverse Singapore, Ying’s experience in music and the arts is extremely multi-cultural. She has played and sung in Christian youth fellowship groups, Buddhist temples, and has played the Indonesian gamelan and the Chinese guzheng in community events. She will continue to work at Heights Christian Church in Shaker Heights, while she fills the Forest Hill Church position.
When not practicing or directing, Ying loves exploring beautiful Cleveland with her husband, Irwin Shung, and dachshund rescue, Jax. A self-confessed fan of “The Crown” and “Game of Thrones”, she welcomes conversations about music or culture with members of her new congregation.
Director of Family, Youth & Children
Lakewood native Amy Wheatley earned her undergraduate degree from Kenyon College and her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Michigan. Her early career included research, teaching, and staff development in the field of early childhood/special education, and directing grants from the U.S. Depart. of Education, the University of Connecticut, the HighScope Foundation, and Akron Children’s Hospital.
Amy and her husband Karl have two college-age children, David and Katherine. Karl begins his 27th year on the faculty of the College of Education at Cleveland State University this fall.
Amy grew up in the United Methodist Church enjoying faith-filled mentors, Sunday night youth group meetings, Easter sunrise services, and mission trips to Appalachia. She and Karl were members of First Church Cleveland/University Circle United Methodist Church, where Amy spent 12 years as Director of Education. During the past year, she served as Dir. of Faith Formation at Old Stone Church where she led an initiative to grow children’s programming in a downtown congregation.
Creating safe and welcoming environments, helping young people build authentic relationships, and providing fun and engaging opportunities for learning and growth are Amy’s passions. She believes that faith develops over a lifetime through a variety of experiences in which we recognize the presence of God in our lives and seek to live in the way of Jesus. Young people experience such “faith forming” moments in many ways: in worship, in nature, during shared meals and conversation, in service to others, and through play, storytelling, games, music, and art.
Carol Wedell was born and raised near Seattle and earned a BA in Music from Whitworth College in Spokane before attending Princeton Theological Seminary. Following her graduation in 1982 and a year of hospital chaplaincy training, Carol was called to be the first clergywoman to join the five pastors of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Wayne, IN (a church of 1800 members). In 2000, Carol assumed a half-time role at Fairmount Presbyterian, and in 2005 was called as pastor of Church of the Western Reserve, where she served until 2011. Now officially retired, she is glad to formalize her role as Parish Associate at Forest Hill Church, which she and Mark have attended since 2013. Carol and Mark live in Willoughby and have three adult children.
Office Administrator & Communications
Antoinette Richardson joined our staff just as we began our new Co-Pastor leadership team. She is well-versed in the latest office computer programs and applications and has introduced new and exciting ways of caring for the staff and congregation of Forest Hill Church.
Ann Donkin joined us in 2017 and quickly became 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, while supporting our mission and community. She’s a hoot and a half and can occasionally be found in her office on the 2nd floor education wing, next door to the Sanctuary apartment.
Nita Clark has slid so seamlessly into her role as our Finance Administrator that it’s hard to believe she’s been here for less than 6 months. Working with Treasurer Mary MacMillan, she calmly brings order to the paperwork that floods her desk every week.
Web & Database
Our webmaster Peg Weissbrod also manages Breeze, the church database/directory that connects our members with one another. Along with Antoinette, she works to publicize church events and create publicity pieces encouraging people to “come and see” 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 volunteers 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 usually 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 and ministries.
Anthony Bland is our primary evening custodian. 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.
Lisa Richardson, Custodian
Thanks to Covid-19, it may be awhile before members are able to meet our newest staff member, Lisa Richardson, but Ann Donkin describes her as a terrific addition to the team.