Steve 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 and his wife 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 is married to Linda and they have 2 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 Edison and his wife Jessica have 5 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.”
Richard King is married to Fern, and they have five daughters. Richard retired after 34 years at Alcoa and currently works as Executive Director for The Phillis Wheatley Association. He serves on the Council of Agency Executives and Central Community Promise Neighborhood initiative. He has been instrumental in starting our inner city tutoring ministry. He has served as an Adult Class teacher and participates in Men’s Fraternity. He and Fern have served in our Meal Ministry and currently in our Prayer Ministry and Welcome Center. He states, “We are to model Jesus’ command to be salt and light in the world. There are many opportunities to attract others to Christ, often taking us out of our comfort zone. I am grounded in my faith, and as a willing servant, I ‘trust in him at all times’ (Psalm 62:8).”
Paul Libassi and his wife Sarah have been part of the Grace family since 2012. Paul is Director of Operations with Fleet Team, Inc., Paul regularly serves as a Youth Advisor with Grace Middle School. Paul also serves in the Christian Business Marketplace Connection, while Sarah leads worship alongside our team in Grace Worship. “Sarah and I count it a privilege to be part of the community at Grace Church. We are excited about the vision and growth of Grace and look forward to continuing to serve alongside our church family for the years to come.”
Lance Mayer is married to Karyn, and they have 3 grown children. Lance is employed by OxyChem in PVC as a chemical engineer/scientist. At Grace, he and Karyn are involved in supporting our missionary prayer teams in praying for Keir & Joanna Thelander, Andy and Michelle Svoboda, and Drew and Michele Brown. Lance is also actively involved in our Friendship class serving one-on-one with students. Lance states, “My family and I started attending Grace in 1991, instantly falling in love with it then, just as so many people do now. It was a big church then, and it is many times larger now, making it even more important for each of us to be linked in and accountable to the body.”
Jeremy and Paula are excited about the community impact that the Grace network is about to have! 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 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 and they 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.”
Keir Thelander is married to Joanna and they have 2 children. After spending 10 years in Gabon, West Africa as medical missionaries with the CMA, God called them back to Cleveland in 2018. Keir now serves as Chief Medical Officer with the ministry of PAACS (Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons) founded at Bongolo Hospital where he and Joanna served. He oversees 12 training programs (training and discipling 80 trainees) in Africa in 8 countries. Keir and Joanna remain involved with Bongolo Hospital in mentoring future missionaries. Joanna serves with our Small Groups ministry, and they are grateful to be a part of a small group. Before being elected, Keir shared, “Grace has grown in so many ways. We are thankful for the kindness and generosity shown to us as we transitioned back to the USA and desire to see others challenged to pursue God fully, whatever the cost. If God desires that I serve as elder, I would be humbled and consider this a serious commitment in participating and hearing from God for our future direction as a church. Whether as an elder, or in other ways, I look forward to being a part of Grace’s ongoing growth in diversity and missional living.”
Brian Wellman is married to Vicki, and they have been at Grace since 2014. Brian is owner/operator of Chick-fil-A Strongsville, building and developing his team with everything needed to love on their guests and positively impact the community. Before that, Brian spent 25 years leading manufacturing plants building teams in turnaround environments. As a result, he and Vicki have moved 15 times in over 30 years of marriage and lived in 11 different states. At Grace, Brian participates in Band of Brothers and serves as one of the teachers. He and Vicki lead a couples’ group in Strongsville. Brian says, “Vicki and I consider Grace home. It is the place where we are fed Truth and have the opportunity to serve and build lasting relationships. We are thankful to be a part of a church family that is truly impacting lives for Christ, locally and globally. We look forward to serving at Grace for many years to come.”
Bob Wido is married to Diane, and they 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!”
Chris and Heather were married in 2003 and started attending Grace at the same time. In 2015, Chris and Heather (and their 2 children) felt God calling them to help with Grace’s church plant in Olmsted Falls. At Hope, Chris served on the Elder Board and Heather served on the hospitality team. Chris also served on the transition team as Grace and Hope merged together. 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”.