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Our Staff
Elder Harry D. Olthoff
General Presbyter/Facilitator

Harry has extensive experience in organizational development, psychotherapy, church relations and marketing. His roots have imprinted him with global experience, local practices and an overarching passion for the growth of the church of God.

Harry’s education includes degrees from Calvin College, the University of Michigan and a certificate of advanced study from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. Prior to leadership in East Iowa, Harry held the interim position of General Presbyter in Eastern Virginia. He had previously consulted for Eli Lilly Corporation on psycho-pharmaceuticals, the State of Michigan on public healthcare issues, the US Navy on community building and religious programming, the Academy of Music on strategic planning, and numerous small businesses on strategies for growth and development. While living in Virginia, he was certified by the State Supreme Court as a mediator. In addition, Harry has led agencies related to social justice addressing abused and neglected children, juvenile offenders, and adults struggling with drug additions and mental illnesses.

His passion for church growth began while growing up in a manse in various rural and small towns throughout the Midwest; thus, becoming sensitized to and viewing firsthand the need for and the resources required to spread good news. As an elder, he has provided leadership in inner city, suburban, and urban churches, and in a new church development. Mission trips have taken him to Honduras, Costa Rica, and Brazil, and a love of travel has transported him to Europe and Africa as well. He lives with his wife, Nancy, in Iowa City. They have parented three children.

Rev.  Dick  Jennings
Stated Clerk

Dick attended San Francisco Theological Seminary, was ordained and became a Presbyterian minister over fifty years ago. Upon retirement he moved to Iowa to be closer to his grandchildren and was received as a member of the Presbytery of East Iowa in 1994.

He has served as Interim Pastor of three of our churches as well as filling the pulpit at Sunday worship in 23 of the presbytery’s 84 churches during the past nine years. From 1995 through 1997 he was Recording Clerk of the presbytery, was elected Stated Clerk in 2000 and re-elected in 2003. Experienced on matters of procedure and the Book of Order, he is also a wealth of information and knowledge on all things Presbyterian.

Dick’s pastimes include attending his grandchildren’s sporting and concert events and reading mystery novels. He and his wife Shirley live in Cedar Rapids.

Rev. Paul R. Skelley

Paul is in his 36th year as the pastor of Union Presbyterian Church in Lost Nation. He graduated in 1969 from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, where he was recipient of the Herbert E. Manning, Jr. Distinctive Service Award.
For the past 18 years he has been part of the all-volunteer publishing staff of the weekly town newspaper, The Community Scoop, (and people get a "scoopful" every week!") and has twice been named as the Citizen of the Year in Lost Nation. He enjoys flying kites, working jigsaw puzzles, gardening, movies at the theater and eating peach pie. He and his wife Dottie's favorite pastimes, though, are their grandson Noah and granddaughter Emma Grace.

Ms. Darlene M. Bergman
Music and Liturgy Facilitator

Darlene began her worship leadership at age 13 as organist in a small, rural Methodist Church in Ohio. Since then she has served as a church musician in a variety of denominations from Episcopal to Baptist, large church and small, throughout the midwest and the south. However, she has spent the past 20 years living out her call as a Presbyterian musician. In addition to her church work, she spent over 30 years teaching private voice and piano. Before moving to Iowa City, she taught college level vocal music in Chicago and Georgia.

She is currently Director of Music and Liturgical Arts at First Presbyterian Church in Iowa City where she supervises all aspects of the music program, including choirs, brass, orchestra, reader's theater, drama, liturgical art and dance groups. Darlene's commitment to creating a worship environment with liturgy and song that provides for a variety of responses to the biblical narrative has been experienced at a number of Presbytery Meeting worship services. Darlene also serves as the Presbyterian Association of Musicians Eastern Iowa Regional Representative.

Darlene's husband, Marv, works as an editor at the State Historical Society of Iowa, though his degrees are in church history (Univ. of Chicago with Martin Marty as advisor, mentor, friend.) She and Marv have four children who are all involved in music.  Jessica, who completed an acting major at Millikin University, works at Old Creamery Theater in Amana, Iowa. Ruth is a violin performance major at Lawrence University.  Leah, a junior in high school and Philip, a freshman, are both cellists.

Elder Medora Hix
Continuing Education Consultant

Medora has been a church educator for more than twenty years, having graduated with a Master of Religious Education from McMaster Divinity College, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. In 1995 she was recognized as a certified Christian Educator in the Presbyterian Church(USA). She has served four congregations in New Jersey, Delaware and Iowa. An active member of APCE (Association of Presbyterian Church Educators), Medora was recently elected Regional Representative to its national cabinet.

Many will know Medora’s husband Duane, who is pastor at Kenwood Park Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids. The Hixes have three children: Adam, Monica (also known as Emmie), and Brittney, and a grandson, Kamron. Family members also include three cats: Chessie (named for Chesapeake Center, a PC(USA) camp), Dunya and Ash.

In her spare (?) time Medora likes to play in the dirt with flowers, read fiction, and quilt. During the children’s early years, she was a stay-at-home mom who had a side business teaching quilting. Duane and Medora enjoy having people over for a meal, and traveling – including going to continuing education events!

Elder Harry G. Hoyt
Committee on Ministry Consultant

A member of First Presbyterian Church in Davenport for 20 years, Harry has been active there as an elder, a member of the session, and Chair of the Church Government and Personnel Committee. In 1998 he became a member of the Committee on Ministry for the Presbytery and served as Co-Moderator since 2002.

Harry worked for Deere and Company for 33 years, with a majority of that time spent in the Human Resources area, including positions as Personnel Manager and Compensation Manager and Benefits Manager World Wide. He has been very happily married to Gay for 35 years, and avers that marrying her was the smartest and most fortunate thing that has happened to him in his life. They have six children and 15 grandchildren.

Harry enjoys photography and has chronicled on film all of the summer vacations the family spent traveling to national parks in the U.S. and Canada in a station wagon called the Green Hornet. He has indulged his love of waterfalls by constructing one in his backyard, where he finds it peaceful to sit by the water in the late afternoon.

Rev. Scott A. Nesbitt
Dean of Commissioned Lay Pastors

Scott was born and raised in the small town/rural environs of Nebraska. He has an older brother and sister, five nephews, three nieces, two grandnephews and one grandniece. He and his wife Stephanie met while they both attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

While a member of First Presbyterian, Mt. Vernon in 1991, he was received under the care of this presbytery as a candidate for the ministry. A graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, he has been serving in the Presbytery of East Iowa since 1995, and is currently at Ainsworth Community Church. He is currently working on his dissertation for a Ph.D. in theology. The title is "Gravity, Grace and Gratitude: Contrasting Theories of Recognizable Response to the Atonement as Seen by Blaise Pascal and Simone Weil."

Among his hobbies are singing, writing children’s stories, Ukrainian egg decorating (Pysantky), gardening, cooking, puzzles, and genealogy (he has traced an ancestor who fought with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066).

He likes both Concerto #5 in D minor for solo organ by J.S. Bach and Spongebob Squarepants.

Elder Heidi K. Techau
Visioning Consultant

Heidi and her husband Larry have three children, Heather-10, Jacob-8, and Hannah (a.k.a. Hannah Banana) who’s 5. Their family also includes Krissy, a spoiled rotten mini dachshund and Pitty, a pitiful-looking but much loved rescued cat.

Heidi’s "day jobs" are teaching computer education for Kirkwood Community College at Tipton Center, and doing laundry for her family...it never ends!

Her hobbies/interests include gardening, playing piano badly, hiking, playing with her children, watching Redwings hockey, and single handedly allowing her husband to kill mice, spiders, or any other kind of "icky" thing that comes in the house

Ms. Joy E. Bayshore
Administrative Assistant/Meetings and Schedules

Joy grew up in northwest Pennsylvania, then lived for over 20 years in San Francisco before coming to Iowa. Her checkered past includes careers as a graphic artist, an organizer and space planner, a copyeditor and proofreader, and a kitchen designer. She has a Certificate in Publishing from the University of California at Berkeley and a BFA in graphic arts.

Joy shares her home with her two cats Gabe and Miss Ginger Rogers. She has a sister, three nieces and a nephew all living in the Eastern Iowa area. Coconut cake, figure skating, button collecting and reading are a few of her favorite things.

Ms. Pamela S. Prather
Administrative Assistant/Finance

Pam, a native of Oskaloosa, Iowa, who now lives in Tiffin, has been on the Presbytery staff since 1989.

She has two sons, Shawn and Chad, seven grandchildren, plays a mean game of "Duck, Duck, Goose", and is currently being "tutored" in science and Spanish by her nine-year-old granddaughter. Her hobbies are sewing and her grandchildren.

Mrs. Marue White
Administrative Assistant to the General Presbyter

Marue is a graduate of the University of Sioux Falls with a BA in Psychology. She has been married for 27 years to her husband, John, a minister in the Reformed Church of America (RCA). Marue and John have three sons: Ben, 19 , Stephen, 17 and Jesse, 13 .

Marue's hobbies are walking, biking (she's a survivor of RAGBRAI), reading, knitting, and cooking. Her passions are prayer and small group ministries.

Rev. Nancy Oehler
Pastor Continuing Education Facilitator

A recent graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, Nancy is in her third year as the pastor of the United Church of Crawfordsville. She enjoys doing ministry in this rural community. The church she is serving is Methodist and Presbyterian and is the only church in town. This presents a unique setting for doing ministry!

Before answering God’s call to ministry, Nancy had an extensive career as a professional violinist. Retiring from the stage several years ago, Nancy continued her music career from the wings. Before moving to Atlanta to pursue her seminary education, she served as Personnel Manager of the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in Naples, Florida. Her business skills serve her well in the parish. Although Nancy enjoyed her time in Florida, she is a Midwesterner at heart.

In addition to working toward spiritual growth, Nancy enjoys gardening, swimming, walking, and playing with her dog Sadie.

The Rev. Mike Spangler
Brazil Partnership Facilitator

Mike Spangler has been pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Muscatine since 1995 and was part of the first East Iowa Presbytery group to go to Ceará, Brazil, in 1999. He has returned to Brazil three times since then.

Mike was ordained in 1972, after studies at McCormick Seminary, and has been pastor of churches in Kansas, Illinois, and Iowa. He also has served five interim pastorates. In addition, he served five years as pastor of the American Protestant Church in Brussels, Belgium, and three years as the American Protestant Chaplain in Moscow, U.S.S.R.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, he taught English, speech, and drama at schools in Wisconsin, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia.

Mike’s wife, Liz, is a teacher at Louisa-Muscatine Schools. They have five children and six grandchildren.

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