Rev. Chandler Stokes
Chandler is Westminster’s senior pastor, primary preacher, and head of staff.
He loves preaching, leading worship, and the privilege of being part of people’s lives at depths and heights. As moderator of the church’s ruling body, and as head of staff, he has the joy of working with dedicated and spiritually-rich leaders to guide Westminster in serving Christ.
Chandler came to us from California in 2008. Born in the east and raised in the west, with a couple of years in Europe as a teenager, most of his education was in the University of California system, where he studied calculus, physics, philosophy and religion—graduating in the last.
In the midst of off-and-on schooling, he worked as a singer-songwriter, mostly in Colorado. He also did graduate work at San Francisco Theological Seminary (M. Div.), New College in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has taught Greek, Hebrew, Bible, and preaching.
Karen, his life-partner of 38 years, is a Presbyterian minister, musician, and mother of their two sons: Jeremy, who is married to Jesse and lives in Grand Rapids; and Dusty, a physicist and farmer, who lives and works in Puerto Rico.
“After an early adulthood estranged from the institutional church and its obvious problems, I have now discovered a deep love for the church and have served a number of churches over the last thirty years. To be allowed into the holy ground of people’s lives is a gift beyond measure, and the demands of preaching are a particular joy to me. I feel greatly privileged to be in this role, especially in this strong and healthy congregation.
“Westminster’s basic beliefs are a good reflection of my own theological commitments. If I were to raise one up, I would say this: God is bigger, more gracious, more subtle and more winsome than we can discern on our own. Trying to be spiritual without employing the resources and wisdom of a particular religious tradition is like trying to talk without using a particular language. And the imperfect, utterly human community of faith is where we absorb the transcendent and incarnate reality of God. Give it a try —Westminster is a pretty amazing place to seek the substance of faithful living and practice.”
Contact Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-717-5543.
Rev. Jen Porter
Jen is our associate pastor, focusing on the areas of pastoral care, missions and worship. She works alongside our pastoral care team, our deacons and our mission’s committees as we seek to respond to the needs of our family of faith and to the needs of the world, with love.
Living in west Michigan since high school, Jen has a degree in education from Hope College. After teaching at an alternative school in Benton Harbor, she received her M. Div. from Western Theological Seminary in 2006. Growing from a summer internship, she joined Spring Lake Presbyterian Church as their associate pastor for 8 years prior to joining our staff. Jen has spent time working with different mission organizations in South Dakota, Honduras, Benton Harbor, Duluth and Mexico.
When Jen’s third son Zack was born, older brothers Max and Graham showed up at the hospital with a sign saying “The Three Amigos.” Her husband, Brian, is the ring leader.
“Very quickly the language and liturgy of this community has shaped me. Our Westminster Welcome feels like something that has become essential to the rhythm of worship. I am encouraged within this congregation at the gifts, leadership and genuine faith that abides here.”
Contact Jen at email@example.com or 616-717-5545.
Rev. David Baak
Dave is passionate about the life and ministry of Westminster—both for and among the members of the congregation and as an important partner and “voice” in society. He leads the communications and administrative teams, provides staff support for the trustees and administrative deacons, is a member of the pastoral care team, preaches several times a year and assists in worship leadership.
Prior to Westminster, Dave served in several interim pastor assignments in the area and in congregations in New York City and Flint. He has been very involved in community, ecumenical and interfaith issues during his professional career, including leading the Grand Rapids Area Center for Ecumenism (GRACE) for 25 years (to 2007) during which time he also served on several national and denominational committees. In 2010, he assisted with local arrangements for the Uniting General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and in 2011-2012 he convened the Congregations Council of the Interfaith Understanding effort, both in Grand Rapids. He currently serves on the board of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University and is a member of the Community Relations Commission of the City of Grand Rapids. Dave has long worked with the issues of racial justice, particularly through the GRACE Racial Justice Institute, its Summits on Racism and the Partners for a Racism-Free Community (PRFC). He has also worked as an administrator in pre-trial alternative programs in the criminal justice systems of Flint and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Dave loves the wide expanses, mountains and deserts of the American Southwest and enjoys trivia about current events, geography, history and cultures from around the world. He loves to travel from his “home base” near downtown Grand Rapids where he lives with his wife Betty Zylstra.
Dave is an ordained clergy in the Reformed Church in America (RCA), and holds interim ministry credentials in several denominations. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary and studied at the Univeristy of Detroit and Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI. Dave has most recently served at Westminster since 2012 and in his current assignment as Executive Pastor since January, 2015.
“I find great satisfaction in working with the people of Westminster—congregation, staff and community. They have been generous and supportive and deeply caring in our effort together to build and deepen relationships with members and neighbors alike as we seek to live out our faith in this place.”
Contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-717-5544.
Bassam Al Jadir
Maintenance / Greeter
Bassam serves Westminster as a member of the Maintenance/Facilities team. He is responsible for many of the event set ups for regularly scheduled activities that take place in our buildings and also acts as an evening greeter.
Bassam has been a resident of Grand Rapids for 9 years and lives in Forest Hills with his wife, Alice and their two sons, Raad and Abdullah. In his spare time, Bassam is an avid soccer fan and roots for FC Barcelona.
Contact Bassam at email@example.com or 616-456-1456.
Minister for Hospitality
Marc provides food service for congregational meals and events, using his culinary training and restaurant experience. He is passionate about the people of Cuba as founder and director of First Hand Aid—a humanitarian medical mission. And he spends his days at Holland Hospital as the Surgical Resource Coordinator.
Contact Marc at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-456-1456.
Minister to Youth and Their Families
A native of Iowa, Jeremy studied Youth Ministry and Christian Education at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa and received his Master of Divinity from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI in May of 2017. You may have seen Jeremy around WPC already serving the congregation as both a Seminary Intern and the Middle School Ministries Coordinator.
Jeremy’s previous work in ministry includes youth ministry internships for RCA churches in Iowa and New York, serving as a leader in his college’s campus ministry, and working at Camp Fowler: an RCA/UCC hippie Jesus camp in the Adirondack Mountains.
Jeremy’s responsibilities will include overseeing WPC's youth ministries, supervising the middle school and high school coordinators, joining the pastoral care team, leading retreats, and serving as a spiritual leader and mentor to the middle school and high school youth.
"Compelled by God's inclusive love, I long for a world where there's enough, where everyone belongs, where all of life is intimately connected. I believe people of all ages have opportunities every day to follow Jesus in surprising and ordinary ways, together cultivating justice, peace, reconciliation, and hope for all of creation."
Contact Jeremy at email@example.com or 605-254-2645.
Facilities Manager / Web Director
Chris’ roles at Westminster cover a wide platform of responsibilities. Acting as the Facilities Manager, he oversees day-to-day operations of the building, all facilities staff as well as security and alarm concerns. While filling the role of Web Director, Chris manages Westminster’s website as well as the various social media outlets employed by the church.
Chris and his wife reside on the West Side of Grand Rapids with their two dogs, Charlie and Zeus. In his free time, he enjoys wood working, lifting weights, and other awesome things.
Contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-717-5535.
Minister for Administration
Kathy’s role spans a wide range or responsibilities, including management of administrative and office staff and payroll, insurance, and benefits coordination for Westminster’s four mission agencies. Kathy also works with the Pastoral Care Team, is a staff liaison for the Caring Deacons, and oversees the volunteer greeters.
Prior to Westminster, Kathy worked in manufacturing, public education, and retail sectors. Outside of work, she cherishes time with her grandchildren and enjoys gardening and cooking.
Kathy is a graduate of Davenport University. She joined Westminster in 2008.
“I am so blessed to have to opportunity to have a job with so many responsibilities as each day is different, in the work I do and the people I work with. Being able to spend each day touching every section of Westminster allows me to realize and appreciate how diverse we all are and appreciate and respect that diversity as coworkers and also as members in our congregation.”
Contact Kathy at email@example.com or 616-717-5533.
Minister for Mission
Heather is passionate about connecting individuals to his/her unique role within a mission. A non-profit donor relations professional, she has previously worked in Slovakia and northern Thailand, but most recently served as Development and Communications Coordinator at the YWCA West Central Michigan just one block away. She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and holds a BA in English from Rutgers University. Heather also serves as the site coordinator for ServeGR.com.
Heather and her husband, Michael, moved in Grand Rapids in 2010. They live in Eastown, where Heather is vice president of the Eastown Community Association board. Their daughters attend Westminster Child Development Center. The pair are 17 months apart and keep the family cat on the run.
Contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-717-5536.
Alena De Young
Program Associate for Mission
As part of the mission team, Alena leads the Community Ministries Committee, participates in interfaith events and initiatives, onboards new opportunities to ServeGR.com, and much more.
Alena joined the staff in 2015 after receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English and working as a communications and admissions professional. She enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, and spending time with her daughter, Nina, who attends Westminster Child Development Center. She and her husband, Brian, live in the Creston neighborhood of Grand Rapids.
Contact Alena at email@example.com or (616)717-5534.
Minister for Children and Their Families
Nancy Greidanus comes to Westminster by way of Calvin College where she served as Assistant Professor of Education since 1992. Prior to that, she taught at West Side Christian School and during much of that time, until 2006, also served as Director of Youth Church Music Education at First Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. Her experience includes teaching in the Recreation and Communication program at First CRC; as a Counselor of Christian Girls’ Group at LaGrave CRC; as a private piano instructor and most recently as a volunteer teacher aide at Congress Elementary School for 1st and 2nd grade students. Nancy is a graduate of Calvin College (BA in Education, Language Arts major) and Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary (MA in Teaching, Religion and Theology concentration).
"I am passionate about being part of the process of nurturing children and families in the faith. I use the word “process” because faith is always changing and developing. I say being “part of” the process because I believe that God is the ultimate nurturer, and we are entrusted with children who belong to God first and foremost. We, as the family of God, nurture children together."
Contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-717-5541
Minister for Music
Helen is Westminster’s principal organist and choir director for the Sanctuary Choir, Kirk Singers, and Chapel Singers. She additionally oversees Westminster’s entire music program, which also includes three children’s choirs and instrumental ensembles.
Helen joined Westminster in 2006. Prior to Westminster, she held church music positions in Missouri, Kansas, Washington, and Germany.
She holds both a Bachelor’s of Music and a Master’s of Music in organ performance from the University of Kansas. She also did postgraduate work at the Hochschule für Musik in Köln, Germany, made possible by a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst scholarship awarded by the Fulbright committee, which included four months of study at the Goethe Institut in Blaubeuren and nine months of study at the music conservatory in Köln.
Helen is a past Dean of the Grand Rapids American Guild of Organists (AGO) and currently serves on the Executive Planning Committee for the 2019 Regional Convention of the AGO in Grand Rapids. She has also served on the state board of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). She is an accomplished carillonneur, and has performed carillon recitals in sixteen states in the U.S. as well as Belgium and the Netherlands. She is currently a member of the Barnes Scholarship Committee for the Guild of Carillonneurs in North American (GCNA) and is a past member of its Board and the Exam Committee.
When not involved in musical projects, Helen enjoys spending time with her Belgian Tervuren dog, Lacey, and her two rescue cats. She is also an avid Kansas Jayhawks fan, and reminds people not to call her during a Kansas basketball game.
“The people at Westminster believe that music is one of God’s greatest gifts, and it has an important role to play in the life of our church. I am honored to be part of the expansive music program at Westminster which includes 250 to 300 people!”
Contact Helen at email@example.com or 616-717-5539.
Executive Director for Camp Henry
Better known to everyone as “Jake,” an experienced camper and above-average four square player, Jake has been connected to Camp Henry since he first came to the shores of Old Lake Kimball for summer camp in 1979.
Jake spent ten years as a professor in the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration department at California Polytechnic State University and three years as a public school teacher working with alternative education programs. He has over 25 years of experience in camping, working with five different camps, serving as the director for four of these camps. He has published multiple articles in Camping Magazine, and has taught university courses on Leadership, Adventure Travel and Tourism, Evaluation and Assessment, and Environmental and Wilderness Education.
Jake received his BA in Sociology, a Secondary Teaching Certification, and MSW degrees from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Education from the University of Minnesota. After several summers as a camper, five summers as a counselor, and 16 summers as Camp Henry’s summer camp director, Jake became Camp Henry’s executive director in the fall of 2012.
“One of the greatest things about serving as Camp Henry’s Executive Director is the opportunity to serve and give back to a place that has contributed such a great deal to my life. I am privileged to have a front row view as I watch campers transformed by the life changing experiences here at camp just as I was transformed as a Camp Henry camper over 30 years ago.”
Contact Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-717-5585.
Minister for Congregational Care
Susan is one of the bright smiling faces at Westminster who welcomes visitors every week. She helps grow visitors into the church family as they move through the new member process, is the staff liaison for the deacons, and assists with the coordination and facilitation of pastoral care. She has also served with Westminster’s children’s ministries.
Prior to Westminster, Susan worked in Human Resources at Spectrum Health, and took several years off to be home with her children. Before joining staff, Susan was involved with many committees at Westminster and served as its elder for Family Ministries.
Susan holds a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. She started work at Westminster in 2004.
“Hearing people’s stories—that’s what I enjoy most about my work. I am very grateful and even humbled for the opportunity to enter into people’s lives in this way, whether it is through a hospital visit, a conversation at coffee hour on Sunday, or during the new member classes. Each of our members has something unique and special to share and our church community is all the richer for it.”
Contact Susan at email@example.com or 616-717-5542.
Director for the Downtown Food Pantry
Angie oversees the Downtown Food Pantry and its continuing growth and role in the Heartside neighborhood. Prior to becoming director, she also served as Minister for Administration and the assistant to the senior pastor. Angie brings her financial perspective to each ministry and committee on which she serves.
Prior to working at Westminster she worked for 10 years as the church administrator at Grand Rapids First United Methodist Church.
Some of Angie’s favorite hobbies include hand quilting, exercising, reading and attending her kids’ sporting events.
Angie received her BA in Business Administration from Ferris State University. Angie began working at Westminster in November 2008.
“I love the fact that I have the unique opportunity to work with all the ministries within the church and get to see the wide range of mission first hand. Westminster is filled with top notch members and staff alike and I have been blessed to be part of it.”
Contact Angie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-717-5581.
Director for the Westminster Child Development Center
Amber Marz-Momany joined the Westminster Child Development Center family as a co-op student during 2005, and is now the Director of WCDC.
Amber began her educational career at Grand Rapids Community College, where she received her Associates Degree in the Early Child Development Field. Amber is continuing her education at Western Michigan University where she will graduate with a Bachelors degree in Family Studies.
“I have such a passion for this center. It brings me great joy knowing that families are able to find a safe and nurturing place for their children while they are away. An advantage to this diverse environment is that it teaches the young children to respect and love everyone, no matter their circumstances.”
Contact Amber at email@example.com or 616-717-5549.
Head Custodian / Audio & Video Technician
William joined the Westminster staff in October of 2014. On Sundays, he heads the Audio/Video department and is known for his dilligence in producing high end results. During the course of the week, William maintains the facilities, and keeps Westminster running.
William is also an accomplished artist, having had his video work displayed at Westminster during Art Prize in the past.
Contact William at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-456-1456.
Minister to Youth and Their Families
Raised in the Port Huron area, Kyle graduated from Grand Valley State University with a B.A. in Writing, and from Emory University's Candler School of Theology with a Master of Divinity, and most recently spent a year studying theology at the University of Munich in Germany. While completing his M. Div., Kyle served as Director of Youth at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. He also has experience organizing service trips for young people and serving as a camp counselor. He has an interest in how the church lives out its commitment to justice, and did an internship at Atlanta's Gateway 24/7 Center for the Homeless.
In his spare time, Kyle also enjoys photography, drawing, graphic design, and golf.
Contact Kyle at email@example.com or 616-717-5561.
Administrative Assistant for Music and Education
Becky supports Westminster’s music and Christian education programs, handles layout and production of Westminster’s bulletins and newsletters, is the principle wedding coordinator, and much more.
Prior to Westminster, Becky worked at Kemper National Insurance for 26 years as a clerical supervisor for claims.
Outside of work, Becky enjoys spending time with her friends and family, as well as her sports passions, including golf and bowling. She is also an accomplished stained glass artist, and has designed many pieces—including 33 windows at her own church, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
Becky studied at Davenport University. She joined Westminster’s staff in 1995.
“I’ve always thought of this job as a ministry and a calling: listening to people, enjoying their company, and trying to help them. Working with a wonderful staff—which is like a family—has been a bigger blessing to me than a job.”
Contact Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-717-5532.
Administrative Assistant for Membership, Youth, and Communications
Erin is a defender of the serial comma, and enjoys helping wherever she can. She works with staff in the youth, communications, and membership ministries.
Erin has had various jobs that range from coffee shop barista to purchasing agent at a hydraulics company. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her son Blake and husband Josh.
Erin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Grand Valley State University. Erin joined the Westminster staff in 2012.
“I have the privilege of working alongside a lot of very caring individuals, and that includes staff, members, and visitors. If you were to ask me why I love my job, I would tell you it is because we don’t just work at Westminster: We witness, learn, grow, help others, build relationships, and welcome everyone — and that’s keeping it brief!”
Contact Erin at email@example.com or 616-717-5530.