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

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

John Chae is married to Linda and they have two grown sons. They have attended Grace since 1996. John has served in the past as an Elder and he continues to serve on the Compensation Committee. He and Linda serve with our Prayer Ministry and have participated in short-term trips to Bongolo Hospital in Gabon. John says, “My desire is to see men develop into spiritual leaders in their homes and impact their professional spheres of influence for Christ.” John is a physician at The MetroHealth System and faculty of Case Western Reserve University. He initiated the Northeast Ohio Christian Medical & Dental Association (CMDA) and the Christian Faculty Fellowship at CWRU. John’s desire is to see the Great Commission fulfilled globally, and he serves on the Commission of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons(PAACS) which organizes and trains African physicians, especially in rural areas.

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 are excited about the community impact the network at Grace has. Professionally, Jeremy leads operational excellence teams and oversees multiple industrial businesses, while Paula is a counselor. They have been involved at the Olmsted Falls campus for most of its history, and also have enjoyed volunteer experiences with faith-based organizations focused on child hunger and development, nursing home ministry, education, and crisis recovery.

Josh Palcic is married to Jennifer. They were married in 2002 and have 3 children. Josh has been employed as a physical therapist for 8 years at The Achievement Centers for Children working with children. At Grace he has led Financial Peace University. He and Jen have been Senior High advisors and table leaders in our Marriage Ministry. They look forward to serving with Young Married Connection. Josh says, “From the moment we entered Grace, we felt at home because of the commitment to serving and caring for people. We have grown through the classes we have taken and through opportunities for involvement.”

Mike Rush is married to Debbie. Mike and Debbie have attended Grace since 1977. They recently retired from Options for Families & Youth, a private non-profit foster care/adoption agency they co-founded 29 years ago. At Grace they serve in our Prayer Ministry and participate in a small group, mens/womens Bible study groups and Forever Young. Mike has taught Adult Classes, has been on 7 short-term mission trips. In the community, he serves at The Hope Center and Westside Community House, and is involved with child/family initiatives in Uganda. Mike says, “Jesus has always been the focus at Grace under the leadership of Pastors Donald and Jonathan. It has given us a place to grow spiritually, serve and love others, guiding us in ways to help non-believers follow Jesus.”

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

Hal Kruger

Hal Kruger is our Church Treasurer. Hal is married to Sue. Hal and Sue have been part of the Grace family for over 40 years. Hal retired after a career as an engineering manager at FirstEnergy. His spiritual gifts are in the area of Administration and Leadership. He has a passion to serve at Grace Church, and has led in the roles of Elder, ABF Superintendent, ABF Teacher, Building Committees and Youth Ministries. Hal is the Church Treasurer and has served as a member of the Grace Church Business Committee for over 10 years.

Diane Farrell

Diane Farrell is our Church Accountant.

Diane Farrell joined the accounting team at Grace in the spring of 2010 after learning about the opportunity in our Membership Class. Diane earned her CPA and worked in public accounting for 11 years. She has worked in the Corporate Finance world: forecasting, budgeting, and investor relations for over 6 years, and currently works as the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at Nordson Corporation.

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!”