Church Staff

About Us

Church Staff
Church History

Rev. Benjamin Graves

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.




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.




Dr. Alexander Kostritsa
Director of Music

Alexander Kostritsa started his piano lessons at the age of six. He received his Master of Music degree from the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Alex is the winner of the “Premio Rovere d’Oro” piano competition in Italy. He also recorded solo albums released on Divine Art and Grand Piano labels. He teaches piano at the Solon Center for the Arts and performs regularly throughout Northeast Ohio and beyond.




Susan Boehnlein




Anthony Beard



Jack Erkkila
Building Engineer



Dave Papajcik
Financial Administrator



Tricia McCarthy-Thompson
Preschool Director