The staff of First Presbyterian believes that a vital way they serve Christ is to offer assistance and support for the ministries of the church and her members. Please contact staff by phone or email. An emergency contact is available for members when the offices are closed at (740) 407-1514.
Rev. Steven Garstad, Transitional Pastor
Pastor Steve is pleased to add First Pres of Lancaster to his list of churches served, being eleventh on the list, having served seven as the Transitional Pastor. He received his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, MBA from The Wharton School and BA in Sociology and Political Science from Lehigh University. Starting out, his plans were to follow in the footsteps of both grandfathers and uncle and become a Civil Engineer. His calling changed along the way. Now he builds a different kind of bridge that spans all age groups.
Pastor Steve’s goal is to help the church navigate and surmount our spiritual and organizational challenges and create a place of stability and thriving where Christ is a lively Presence. He loves people and will work to know each of the flock in Lancaster.
One of his favorite verses is Philippians 4:4-7.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Nathan Ogg, Director of Worship and Music
Nate was born and raised in Lancaster, Ohio and attended First Presbyterian as a youth and attributes the youth and music programs as the origin of his love for church music of all styles. With studies in voice and music education at Capital University and The Ohio State University, he has toured the US and Europe with numerous singing groups. He is the Assistant Music Director of The Alliance Chorus, an internationally competitive men's chorus based in Worthington. He is also a longstanding member of the Lancaster Chorale, a 32-voice professional group. Nate also offers private voice and guitar lessons throughout central Ohio. He lives in Lancaster with his wife, Kylie.
Music has always been central with Nate's walk with God and he draws inspiration from the song of spiritual victory in Psalm 98:1-6:
O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord. (NRSV)
Matt Wood, Director of Youth Ministry
Matt committed his life to Christ in the fourth grade, while attending the Children’s Ministry here at First Presbyterian Church. He has since pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Youth Ministry from Ohio Christian University and utilizes his musical gifts to worship the Lord. Matt currently resides in Lancaster where you can catch him spending time enjoying the community.
One of Matt’s favorite scriptures is Psalm 37:4, Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Tammy Witham, Director of Family & Children's Ministry
Tammy mentors and encourages God’s children to discover the personal talents God has placed within them to serve for the glory of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. She has a degree in Music Education from Muskingum University, a master’s in Educational Leadership from Ohio University, and is certified in Safe Sanctuaries and Protecting God’s Children. Tammy and husband, Gregg, enjoy time with their children and grandchildren. James 1:17 is her favorite verse: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.
Jenny Leitnaker Miller, Administrative Assistant
Over twenty-five years ago, Jenny joined First Presbyterian and raised her three children in the church. She is a native of Lancaster, earned a BA in Business Administration from Taylor University and entered the workforce in Retail Banking and Banking Operations Management.
Jenny has been busy with civic groups including TWIG 1, PTA and various Athletic Booster groups holding offices in all. Her church involvement has included Sunday School teacher at all age levels, VBS teacher, Camp advisor, Children's Ministry Committee and is currently involved with the Youth Leadership Committee.
Jenny made a commitment to follow Christ at the age of thirteen and has depended on that decision to carry her through life's experiences. She states, "I have found Ephesians 2:10 as a guide and stay for my mission and purpose—For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ed Pool, Ministries Advocate
Ed is a lifelong resident of Fairfield County. He and his wife, Martha, live near their home places while their son and three daughters have spread across the country and the world.
Ed retired with over thirty years as an Industrial Arts and Technology teacher. He received his BS at Ohio University and a Master Degree in Counseling from Liberty University. He has been on staff since retiring in 2005.
Ed started his faith journey as a young child, making a deliberate decision for Christ listening to gospel radio programs as a teenager and joined the Presbyterian Church soon after college graduation. His driving force in life is to remain a disciple in the original definition of learner.
His faith is supported by Scriptures with one of his favorites: Psalm 1:1-3: Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. (NIV)
Jodie Prince, Financial Administrator
As the overseer of finances, Jodie is intricately involved with the day-to-day operations of the church and works with many individuals and committees. Jodie adds much to the abilities of the staff to meet the needs of the congregation. She began her ministry for the church in April 1990. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband Bryan, her four adult chid, their spouses and her six grandchildren
Jodie recognizes the truth in and receives God’s Word from Ephesians 2:4-10: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)
Caryn Ginter, Pianist/Accompanist
Caryn attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and Trinity Lutheran College in Washington state to earn a degree in Youth and Family Ministry with a minor in Counseling. She spent time living in Australia to complete her required internship. She was also active in Crosscurrent, a music ministry that traveled the country to lead worship services, youth events and concerts.
Caryn was raised in Pickerington but she and her husband, David, now live near her place of employment in Columbus. Caryn works at Stanton's Sheet Music in the Piano Department. She has filled her spare time with many music-based activities including piano and voice at Capital University and many church and community choirs.
Caryn states, It is always my prayer that the music I play will touch the hearts of people and grow them in closer relationship to the Lord. She shares her two favorite Scripture verses: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.
Merrill Leslie, Housekeeper
Merrill lives in Lancaster with her husband, Kevin and has three children and five grandchildren. She has served in Women's and Young Adults Ministries at her church. She truly appreciates the opportunity to work with the staff, serving among other Christ followers.
Merrill states, "Through difficult struggles in life, God gives me the strength and courage I need to carry on." But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31