Church Staff

About Us

Church Staff
Church History

Rev. Benjamin Graves
Pastor

Greetings! I’m Ben (though I’ll answer to “Pastor Ben” or “Rev. Graves” if you want to give me a title). I was born in Decatur, Illinois, went to elementary school in New York City, and moved to Kent, Ohio, when I was 10 years old. I grew up in the faith at Kent Presbyterian and Late-Night Christian Fellowship at Kent State. After some floundering in my college years, I found that I loved leading Bible studies and helping people understand Scripture, and that I was good at it. So I pursued ministry, going back to college to prepare for Seminary. I met my wife, Karen, at Kent Presbyterian, and we married two months before moving to Pittsburgh so I could attend Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. While there, I focused my studies on Pastoral Theology. I served Christ Church Presbyterian in Youngstown, from 2009 to 2015. While there, Karen and I had two beautiful sons. They love superheroes and trucks and pillow fights, and, with Karen, they are the light of my life and my highest calling under God.

Email: ben@pioneersolon.org


 

 

Lisa Nester
Faith Formation Coordinator

Lisa is excited to be serving her home congregation as Faith Formation Coordinator. When she earned her master’s degree in education from Kent State University, she had no idea that her faith and her training would find this intersection point, but the Spirit moves in mysterious ways! Her passion is intergenerational faith formation – bringing together the people of God across ages and life stages to worship, learn and serve together. Lisa lives in Stow with her husband, Jason, and their two children. In her free time, Lisa enjoys jogging, hiking, listening to audiobooks, and keeping saltwater aquariums.

Email: lisa@pioneersolon.org


 

 

Dr. Alexander Kostritsa
Director of Music

Alex Bio

Email: alex@pioneersolon.org


 

 

Peggy Anderson
Secretary

Peggy has been part of Pioneer Church since she joined the staff in 1998. She leaps tall buildings, heals the sick, and has even been known to walk on water. Whether it is a warm greeting on the telephone or the smiles and hugs from the Preschool kids, Peggy is always a welcoming presence at Pioneer.

Email: peggy@pioneersolon.org


 

 

Anthony Beard
Custodian


 

 

Jack Erkkila
Building Engineer


 

 

Dave Papajcik
Financial Administrator

Email: dave@pioneersolon.org


 

Tricia McCarthy-Thompson
Preschool Director

Tricia Bio

Email: director@pioneerpreschool.org