The Role of an Elder

Grace Church is led by a Board of Elders—a team with diverse career experiences and cultural backgrounds. All have this in common: a seasoned maturity in their Christian faith, and a commitment to the spiritual guidance of our church.

Each February, an elected Nominating Committee prayerfully considers which individuals might serve as Elders. Below is the acting Board of Elders. Elders are eligible to serve two consecutive 3-year terms at Grace Church.

Current Board of Elders

Dale Arnold

Dale Arnold is married to Mildred and they have three grown daughters.  They started attending Grace Church in 1984, where they met in the Young Adults ministry.  They were married in 1986 in a wedding officiated by Pastor Jonathan’s father Donald Schaeffer, and have been blessed to be able over the years to raise their daughters through the multiple ministries of Grace Church.  Dale is a Program Manager with Parker Hannifin Corporation.  In addition to having served as an elder at Grace, Dale regularly teaches adult classes, with a particular emphasis in verse-by-verse studies through the Bible. Dale writes, “My passion is to whet the appetites of my classmates to see the richness and applicability of God’s word to our lives and walk today and to recognize that all believers are able to grow through a regular study of the scriptures.  As I tell the classes, the goal of studying the Bible is not merely to grasp the WHAT of the content, but to then let the Holy Spirit lead us to the SO WHAT and NOW WHAT of how that can impact and guide our lives.”

Steve Atkins

Steve Atkins is married to Carol and they have two adult children. They have attended Grace since 2004. Steve is a Process Engineer for PNC Bank and has been employed there for 37 years. Steve serves at Grace with our Men’s Ministry through Priority Projects and Band of Brothers. He coordinates the Grace Men’s Softball Ministry and coaches one of the seven teams. Steve also served on the Multi-Site Planning Team. Steve and Carol love serving together and enjoy being a part of the Prayer Ministry as well as leading a couples’ small group in their home. Carol also serves in Women’s Ministry as MUMs Coordinator. Steve states, “The Lord gave me Grace Church as the path to move from religion to relationship. Rather than Christ being a segment of my life–getting attention mainly on Sunday mornings—He is now the center. Through the study of Scripture and fellowship with other Christians, my faith and trust in the Lord continues to grow.”

Robert Brooks is married to April. Robert and April have been part of the Grace family since 2012. Robert and April previously served in the sports ministry division of CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ). Robert was a campus director at the University of Pittsburgh and has been a professional ministry chaplain in the NFL since 2012. Robert currently serves the Cleveland Browns, leading pre-game prayer and counseling, as well as weekly Bible studies with athletes and coaches. Off-season he does one-on-one counseling, individual discipleship, projects/mission trips, and builds relationships for community outreach. Robert has served as an Elder at Grace Olmsted Falls campus, teaching classes and preaching. “We have come to know Grace Church as our forever family and believe the Lord has truly blessed us by planting [us] at Grace.”

John Chae

Dr. John Chae and his wife Linda, and their two sons Justin and Ryan, first attended Grace Church in 1996. Justin, his wife, Katie, and their son, Luke (first grandchild), continue to attend Grace. Ryan and his wife, Taylor, are in Cincinnati and are expecting their first child (a girl!).

John is a physician-leader at The MetroHealth System and a Professor at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). John started the Northeast Ohio ministry of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations and the Cleveland Christian Faculty Fellowship (CWRU and Cleveland State University).

John writes, 

“As a Christian, my first calling is to love the Lord our God and to worship him with all my heart, mind, and soul. My assignment on earth is to fulfill the Great Commission – to make disciples of all nations.  My local calling is to pursue professional excellence as a testimony and a platform to advance his Kingdom in my professional spheres of influence. To that end, I actively mentor and disciple students and faculty through both these ministries. My prayer is for a revival among Christian students, healthcare professionals, and faculty that translates to an awakening throughout the Cleveland healthcare and academic communities.”

DJ Eidson

DJ Edison and his wife Jessica have five children. They have been part of the Grace family since 2003. DJ is the co-founder and COO of Limitless Minds, a leadership training and development company. In addition to serving as an elder, DJ is part of our Christian Business Marketplace Connection, and a member of the board for Building Hope in the City. “My number one priority is my wife and children. Along with that, I enjoy encouraging, inspiring, and leading people of all ages and backgrounds. I feel really blessed that I have been able to utilize some of the gifts that God has given me to help advance the Kingdom.”

Jeremy Moorman is married to Paula. Jeremy and Paula have been involved at Olmsted Falls since it started, Jeremy has been an Elder for much of that time. Jeremy is an executive for Applied Industrial Technologies, where he leads multiple teams: Continuous Improvement team, Organizational Learning team, Consumable Supplies business group and Factory Automation business group.

Paula is an accomplished counselor working for North Coast Family Foundation. Jeremy and Paula have also been active in Koinos, advising for God Cares Ministry (nursing homes), supporting and volunteering with several faith-based organizations who focus on child hunger and educational outcomes, and the impact of business as missions.

Jeremy writes,”We love to see real, authentic impact in people’s lives as they experience God’s transforming power – and we think the Church has a unique place and capability to offer as a solution to a lot of our modern, sticky societal issues.”

Mike Rush

Mike and Debbie Rush retired in 2018 from Options for Families and Youth, a private, non-profit agency they Co-founded 32 years ago. Mike and Debbie are on the Prayer Team, the Planning Team for Forever Young and participate in a small group.

Mike is serving at the Lorain Correctional Campus; runs a Men’s Small Group; teaches Adult Classes; volunteers at the Hope Center and the West Side Community House; and is Board Secretary for Sanyuka Children’s Ministries (a Ugandan children’s home).

“Jesus Christ has always been “The Center” of Grace Church. It has been, and we are confident it will continue to be, a place to love, grow and serve.”

Ryan Snyder

Ryan Snyder is married to Joy, and they have two children. They have been a part of the Grace family since 2003. Ryan served 7 years in the United States Navy as a nuclear submarine officer prior to relocating back to northeast Ohio. For the last 15 years, Ryan has held various leadership roles at Swagelok company, a local manufacturer of valves and fittings. He serves as both the Cleveland chapter director and Northern regional Advisor for Faith RXD, a ministry within the fitness community on a mission to unite and strengthen athletes to live for Christ, share His love and serve the world. “Joy and I have formed many wonderful relationships within the Grace church family. Many faithful followers of Christ have helped us grow over the last 18 years. We are excited to see our children grow in their faith here at Grace and I am excited for the opportunity to serve the Grace church family as an elder. It’s truly an honor.”

Bill White

Bill White is married to Alicia. Bill and Alicia White have been attending Grace Church since1984. Bill accepted Christ that same year and has been almost continually involved in activities or projects at Grace since that time. Notable among these were the original design of the church, the build-out of the second-floor classrooms and the Venue, the expansion of the lower level parking lot, and the renovation of the Webster Road mission house. Ministries over the years have included the global mission trip program, business and compensation committees, and the Prayer Team. He has served three terms on the Grace Elder Board, the last of which terminated in 2015. Bill and Alicia have also participated in a number of short-term mission trips, principally to Latin America. His fervent hope is to see Grace Church continue to grow and be a light for the Gospel in this community with many more souls being saved through trusting our Lord Jesus as Savior.

Bob Wido is married to Diane. Bob and Diane have been at Grace since 2016. Prior to serving as an Air Force Chaplain for 24 years, Bob served as Youth and Senior Pastor in two Alliance Churches in PA. Before meeting Bob, Diane served as an Alliance missionary. Bob currently serves as Coordinator of Chaplain Ministries for the Central District. He regularly speaks at Band of Brothers and leads a small group Bible study. Diane leads a ladies’ Bible study at Grace. Bob says, “We have found a home in this fellowship. We love the people, the leadership, and the ministry, and look forward to serving for years to come!”

Tom Ziegler

Tom Ziegler is married to Zay and they have three children. Tom and Zay met in the Single’s Ministry at Grace and were married by Pastor Donald Schaeffer, Sr. in 1990. Tom and Zay have been involved with Grace Church and one of their church plants for over 35 years. Tom has been the Human Resources Manager for Dorn Color for 38 years, and Zay works full-time teaching Art at Westside Christian Academy. Tom was formerly an Elder for Lighthouse Alliance Church and has taught classes for children, youth, and adults. He has been co-teaching adults on Wednesday nights for the last 7 years. Tom currently serves on Board of The Greater Cleveland Youth for Christ. He is also one of the Grace Church softball Chaplains, serves on Prayer Team, and facilitates a small group. Tom and Zay have seen God’s hand and favor upon Grace Church since the 1980’s and are excited to humbly serve His people – together exalting the Lord Jesus.

Chris Zirke

Chris Zirke is married to Heather and they have two children. Chris and Heather were married at Grace in 2003 and started attending at the same time. In 2015, they felt God calling their family to help with Grace’s church plant in Olmsted Falls. Before Hope Church became Grace Olmsted Falls, Chris served on the Elder Board of Hope, and Heather served on the hospitality team. Chris joined the transition team as Grace and Hope merged together in 2020. Chris and Heather met in law school and have been practicing law since 2002. Chris states, “what drew us to Grace was the passion of the pastoral staff and the members to share the powerful and wonderful love of Jesus Christ”.

Church Accounting Team

Members at Grace have the opportunity to elect financial officers who allow us to handle the gifts that are contributed with integrity and wisdom. The Financial Secretary oversees the accurate processing of financial contributions, and the Treasurer gives oversight to budget expenditures.  Like our Elder team, these individuals generously volunteer their time; we’re grateful for their service!

Diane Farrell (Financial Secretary)

Diane Farrell is our Financial Secretary.

Diane joined the counting team at Grace in Spring 2010.  She learned about the opportunity through the Grace Membership class.
Diane is a CPA and has worked in public accounting for 11 years.  She has also worked in Corporate Finance, forecasting, budgeting, and investor relations for 10 years. Diane currently works as the Director of Financial Planning & Analysis at Hyland Software.
Diane writes, “I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity, and do not take the trust being placed in me for granted.  It’s truly an honor! It’s been a blessing to leverage my skills and abilities in finance to serve the kingdom in this way.”

Cliff Martin

Cliff Martin is our Church Treasurer

Cliff is a University of Akron graduate and a licensed CPA.

He’s worked in business and finance and currently is a Controller with Barrett Construction and Keene Village Plastics.

He and his wife Amy were married at Grace in 1991, and have been volunteering at Grace for years in many ministries. They enjoy time with their five adult children and 3 grandchildren, and love spending time outdoors hiking, biking, and exploring.