Our staff consists of the following persons:
Bruce Ballantine, Interim Pastor
|A native of Grove City, Pennsylvania, Bruce Ballantine is a graduate of Grove City College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. During his seminary years, Bruce studied on the campus of Zomba Theological College in Malawi and served as student pastor of churches in Dillonvale, Rayland and Glen Robbins, Ohio. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1994. Since then, he has served as an installed pastor or interim pastor in Oakmont and Burgettstown, Pennsylvania; Weirton, West Virginia; Wellsville and Youngstown, Ohio. Although his home is in Weirton, Bruce will reside in Wooster during his tenure as interim pastor of First Presbyterian Church.|
Sarah Huyck, Director of Faith Formation
Sarah's role at First Presbyterian is to nurture and support families and individuals of all ages in their faith development. Toward that end, she serves in creative collaboration with the Pastor, Director of Congregational Life, Children’s Ministry Coordinator, Youth Ministry Coordinator and various ministry teams. She works to initiate and maintain strong, vibrant programs and activities that encourage faith-nurturing relationships among members of all ages. Sarah meets regularly with the Faith and Nurture Coordinating Team. In that capacity, she also serves as the staff member responsible for Adult Education.
Born and raised in Washington State, Sarah graduated from Whitworth University in Spokane, WA with a B.A. in Theology in 2009. Following her undergraduate degree, Sarah attended Princeton Theological Seminary where she focused (as much as the curriculum would allow) on Education, Formation, and Missional Theology. Throughout seminary, Sarah served with Student Life as a Residence Hall Deacon and as a Teaching Ministry student pastor in Edison, NJ. Sarah graduated with an M.Div from Princeton in 2012 and spent the next year teaching English as a Second Language to secondary school students in Mahenge, Tanzania. A niece of The Ohio State University alumni, she is excited to make her home in Wooster and to serve with the congregation at First Presbyterian Church as Director of Faith Formation.
Tricia James, Director of Congregational Life (DCL)
Tricia's responsibilities include building a meaningful and comprehensive ministry program with a focus on attracting new families and energizing current families. She promotes the ministries of the church by helping our members find opportunities to use their gifts in meaningful ways. She plans and implements ministries that enfold new members and provide for the nurture, fellowship and spiritual growth of all members.
Tricia came to Wooster in 1993 when she began her undergraduate work at the College of Wooster. Instead of returning to her hometown of Greensburg, PA after graduation, she chose to make her new home in Wooster. She married Peter James in 1998 and began her professional work in the field of development. Before the birth of their daughter Emily in 2005, Tricia and Peter joined First Presbyterian Church. Their son Andrew arrived in 2009. Tricia is proud "to serve" as a Wooster Noon Lion and on the Wooster Chamber Music Series Board. She currently also works at Wooster Community Hospital as the Development Coordinator.
Erin Yoder, Youth Director
Erin Yoder has been Youth Director for First Presbyterian since January 2011. She is from Dalton, Ohio and currently lives in Wooster with her husband Aaron. She works in the Development office at The College of Wooster as the Assistant Director of Stewardship. She graduated from Kent State University where she studied Organizational Communication. Erin has a passion for ministering to youth and developing programming that nurtures them.
Amy Baxstrom, Children’s Ministry Coordinator
Amy's responsibilities include providing leadership and support for the Christian faith formation of children from birth through fifth grade, including the development of educational programs for Sunday mornings, L3, and special events.
Amy is a native of Wooster, born and raised here. She attended Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Education in 2001. She and her husband, Jorn, have three children. She has a passion for children and for Christ; and having worked with children in another congregation, she has a passion for developing programming to fit children’s needs. Amy is also an avid runner and enjoys crafting.
Rachel King, Children’s Music Coordinator
Rachel's responsibilities include developing, coordinating and leading children’s music programs which reflect a joyful response to the presence of the living God in our daily lives. Rachel works closely with the Director of Music and the Children’s Ministry Coordinator to create a variety of programs which encourage children to grow spiritually, express their faith in God, and use their God-given talents to contribute to the worship life of the congregation. Specifically, she works with elementary school and middle school children.
What follows is an introduction to Rachel in her own words:
The Reverend Charles Cureton, Parish Associate
Charles Cureton is a retired minister, having served in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia. He and Mary have two children. Rebecca works in development for the College of Wooster and Stephen is a minister in Bloomsbury, Pennsylvania. Two grandchildren, Brianna and John Paul, give them great joy. Charles assists with visitation, worship, and wherever else he is needed. He is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.
The Reverend James Watt, Parish Associate
Jim Watt is a native of Tennessee and is a graduate of Maryville College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. After serving churches in Pennsylvania and Ohio, he and his wife, Joan, came to Wooster to retire. The Watts are parents of Jane, a French teacher at Medina High School, and Jeffrey, a history professor at the University of Mississippi. They have four granddaughters and a great-granddaughter. Jim assists in worship when needed and helps with visitation. The Watts enjoy walking, biking, reading, travel and the Ohio Light Opera.
Eric Gastier, Director of Music
Eric Gastier has served as Director of Music & Organist for First Presbyterian since April 2001 (following the 24 year tenure of Prof. John M. Russell of the College of Wooster). Mr. Gastier is a native of Milan, Ohio and has served churches in Ohio, upstate New York, Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. His organ teachers have included Paul Becker of Sandusky, Ohio, Donald R. M. Paterson of Cornell University, and Dr. Eileen M. Guenther of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. A registered architect, Mr. Gastier also serves Schantz Organ Company as Staff Architect and Vice-president of Design & Engineering. He resides in Wooster with his wife Ann and their two children.
Donna Ru Lon
Mary Alice Streeter
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