Grace Presbyterian Church employs a staff committed to living out the Gospel of Christ. Extending a helping hand, gently listening, offering up a prayer, commenting with insight or simply lifting someone up with a smile is what they do! They bring their God-given talents and a sense of humor so that the church glorifies God, functions smoothly and can cater to the needs of its community members. Each one has a treasure trove of stories on how God has intervened in their lives and brought them here; what follows are brief glimpses of them along with favored Bible verses. As you get to know the Grace family, be sure to introduce yourself to the staff and know that doors are always open if you ever have a question or need for guidance and direction.
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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm, even as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. (Ephesians 1:3-4)
As a longhaired, bellbottomed 1970s teenager, Sandy felt the first stirrings of a call to ministry. He studied at Amherst College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and McCormick Theological Seminary, and then served churches in Missouri and New Jersey before coming to Grace in 2007. Sandy enjoys bicycling, singing, reading, playing the piano, and traveling. Sandy is married to Belinda (attorney, cellist, whiz-bang in the kitchen) and they have four grown sons and two grandsons. Sandy continues to be excited at how God is changing lives through the ministry of Grace Presbyterian Church.
If Sandy could be anywhere in the world, he would be:
A. Right here, right now. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
B. Swimming with Belinda in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of Barbados.
C. Just about anywhere I’ve never been before.
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STEPHANIE TEMPLIN ASHFORD
Stephanie Templin Ashford is a Pennsylvania native who lives in Newtown with her husband Paul, son Noah and daughter Maeve. Since her ordination in 2004, she has served congregations of all shapes and sizes across the country. She holds a degree in Religion, German and Judaic Studies from Dickinson College and an Masters of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary. She has a certificate in Congregational and Family Systems from the Council for Relationships and has completed the first module of professional coaching for clergy. She enjoys the outdoors, traveling, her golden doodle Gabriel and finds pure joy in sunbeams.
If she could be anywhere in the world, she would be sitting still and breathing deeply at the summit of a mountain peak after a long and glorious hike.
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ASSOCIATE PASTOR FOR YOUTH AND MISSIONS
Kristen Levens was raised on a farm in rural North Carolina, which fostered a deep love for the earth and all its potential. During her undergraduate career at UNC-Greensboro, where she earned degrees in English and Religious Studies, Kristen began discerning a call to ministry. This discernment led her to youth and campus ministry positions in NC before taking her to Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. During her time there, she gained a wide variety of experience in ministry settings from prisons to urban ministries to churches of different sizes and locations. Kristen holds a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education and Formation with a concentration in Ministry with Young People, as well as certificates in Theology, Ecology, and Faith and Theology, Women, and Gender. She finds immense joy in being an aunt to four wonderfully silly nieces, all things kitchen related, gardening, reading quality WWII fiction, and snuggling her mini-poodle Buttercup, who represents her deep and abiding love for all dogs.
If Kristen could be anywhere in the world, she would be taking in a breathtakingly delicious meal alongside her adorable poodle, or merely enjoying some quiet time with Buttercup and her grandmother.
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Valerie is from “west Philadelphia born and raised”. She was encouraged to use her rudimentary piano skills as a church accompanist starting in the sixth grade. Valerie found her true joy and calling to church music ministry after her graduation from Boston University. She used her teaching skills to develop, coach and encourage congregants and choir members, to not only make a joyful noise, but to be a blessing through music. She has a graduate degree in voice from Temple University and has studied conducting at Westminster Choir College.
If Valerie could be anywhere in the world, she would be on some tropical island dancing and enjoying the sun, surf and a tropical drink of course!
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Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Shortly after an ice cream social at the manse in 2002, Tina along with her husband and children joined Grace. Always seeking God’s will for herself, after prayerful consideration in 2004, Tina decided that the position of Financial Secretary was a good fit that would allow her to continue in her role of loving mother and wife. Calm and composed in the office, Tina enjoys time spent at her children’s many activities and trips to an amusement park with her family every now and then. Additionally, Tina is a strong believer in the power of the Holy Spirit and of ice cream.
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A native of Jenkintown, Dave joined Grace’s staff in the Fall of 2000 and has been a strong pair of helping hands ever since. Never one to shy away from a tough task, the word “no” seemingly is not in his vocabulary; the ideal attitude to have in any line of work but especially for one responsible for the upkeep of the storied and beautiful Grace property. He rounds out his talents by having won a church baking contest at age 13 with a Cherry Cheesecake. Sharing a delicious dessert after a steak dinner with family and friends is a favorite pastime of Dave’s. It's no wonder Dave has a consistently positive response to requests for his now-famous cinnamon buns.
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Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre… (Psalm 150)
Kevin grew up in a small church that had but an electric organ and as useful as that instrument was for the congregation it was a Christmas Eve service that Kevin attended at a friend’s church where he felt God’s call to be a church organist for it was on that inspirational night that he first experienced the full glory of a pipe organ. During his tenure at Grace he has seen growth not only in numbers but also in outreach into communities near and abroad through mission and ministry. Kevin has gifts of personality, skill and talent; additionally, he has his bachelors degree in music (Organ, major instrument) from Mansfield University and has studied choral conducting at the graduate level (has Orff Schulwerk level 1 certification).
If Kevin could be anywhere in the world, he would be in the middle of the chancel of St. Paul's Cathedral, London when the organ is being played.
NURSERY SCHOOL DIRECTOR
Cindy Kaminski is the director of Grace Nursery School. She lives in Glenside with her husband, Kevin, daughter, Ashley and her son, Ryan. Cindy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Kutztown University. She later earned her PA Teaching Certification in 2010. She has been teaching for eleven years with experience teaching children two years of age through Pre-K. Cindy is currently the teacher in the Three Year old class, and will aide Mrs. Edwardson in the Four year old class. In her free time, Cindy enjoys spending time with her family and friends and her dog Molly. She enjoys cooking and listening to music.
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And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20
A Jenkintown resident, Beth has a background in education, social justice, graphic facilitation, organizational change, and assistive technology. Upon the birth of her sister Jennifer, Beth was called to learn, support, and work alongside with and for persons with disabilities, their families, and communities. While in the midst of raising young children, working and negotiating some health challenges, Beth had her “aha” moment of recognizing that life was too short to be constantly stressed and unhappy. She then chose to slow down her pace and enjoy being a full time mom and community volunteer. Beth continues to empower children, teens and adults experiencing disability, as well as their families and supporters with creating meaningful education/schooling, work, recreational, leisure and spiritual communities. She also enjoys spending time with her children, family and friends, as well as reading, music, a good cup of coffee, travel, exploring new cultures, listening to stories, meeting new people, walks in nature, cooking, and doodling.
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DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN'S MINISTRY
Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly, not for what you will get out of it but because you are eager to serve God. (Peter 5:20)
Kelly grew up in the Lehigh Valley but now resides in Glenside with her husband and two daughters. Having graduated from East Stroudsburg University in 2009, and teaching 1st grade in Philadelphia and Cheltenham, she felt called to volunteer to teach in our Sunday School Programs. Kelly began serving on the Children’s Education Committee and saw the wonderful things that are offered to children at Grace. After prayerful consideration Kelly decided that continuing on the path of Children’s Ministry would provide meaningful opportunities for her own spiritual growth as well as offering them to the children of our church. Kelly enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, reading, and the arts.
If Kelly could be anywhere in the world, she'd be on a beach with a good book and people that make her laugh.
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Michaela grew up going to Grace. She was very active in the church, participating in Middle School and High School youth groups, singing on the youth choirs as well as volunteering with children’s ministry. Shortly after graduating from Messiah College, Michaela started working for the Cheltenham School District under the Director of communications and development. While she loved the work she did for the school district, she decided to do some traveling. Michaela spent the next 4 years living and working in South Korea where she taught English as a second language to some awesome kids, as well as travel around Asia. Coming back stateside Michaela decided to explore her options in the field of communications, which landed her back at Grace.
If Michaela could be anywhere in the world, she'd be eating fried chicken by the Han River in Seoul with her friends.
The Session is the governing board of a Presbyterian Church. At Grace, the Session consists of twelve elders and the pastor. Elders are elected by the congregation for three-year terms. Click here for highlights of Session meetings.
CLASS OF 2019
CLASS OF 2020
CLASS OF 2021
Board of Deacons
The Board of Deacons is responsible for ministries of care and compassion. Eighteen deacons and one student deacon serve at any given time on the board. A term of service for a deacon is three years, with the exception of student deacons, who serve for one year. All deacons are elected by the congregation.
CLASS OF 2019
CLASS OF 2020
Gretchen Van Buren
CLASS OF 2021