Pastors | Ministry Directors
Chad Allen | Lead Pastor
Born and raised in California, Chad made the decision to follow Christ as a teenager. He felt the call to full time ministry right out of high school and served 20 years at River Oak Grace Community Church in Oakdale, CA. He then answered God’s call to be “redeployed” to Cleveland Ohio in 2010 and has joined in the Lord’s work to reach and restore Northeast Ohio with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Chad and his wife Rica met in high school, dated for 5 years and were married in 1993. God has blessed them with the opportunity to grow their family through adoption, and they have one son Cruz (2002), and two daughters, Isabelle (2003) and Faith(2010). Chad holds a B.S. in Religious Studies and a Masters of Theological studies from Liberty University
Rick Duncan | Founding Pastor, Pastor of Missional Living and Leadership Development
After graduation from Vanderbilt University (B.A.—Religions Studies, 1975) and Mid-America Seminary, Memphis, Tennessee, M. Div. (1986), Rick and his wife Maryanne relocated to Ohio to pursue their passion to plant a new church that would reach the unchurched. Under Rick’s leadership, CVC has grown into a church family passionate about inviting people to new life in Christ. Rick often exhorts CVCers to see themselves as missionaries cleverly disguised… who want to go to heaven and take as many people with them as they possibly can.
He and Maryanne were married in October 1976 and have three sons, Alan (1981), married to Joanna in 2006, Ryan (1987) and Evan (1993) and two grandsons, Ethan, born 12/25/2010 and Caleb born 11/25/2014.
Leigh-Ann Brisbin | Director of Women’s LifeGroups
Leigh-Ann has served in women’s ministry for over 20 years teaching and leading classes and small groups, speaking for retreats and women’s events, and mentoring. She is also a Licensed Clinical Counselor and the author of “My True Reflection; Freedom from Eating Disorders.” She holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Kent State University.
Leigh-Ann has been married to her husband Todd since 1996. They have three children, Emily (1998), Chris (2000), and Annaleigh (2006).
Rick Eimers | CVCYouth Pastor (Grades 6-12)
Rick oversees students in grades 6 – 12 through Impact Student Ministries, coming alongside parents in an effort to grow students to be passionate followers of Christ. He believes investing in the next generation is of critical importance, and credits authors Eugene Peterson, C.S. Lewis, Larry Crabb, Donald Whitney and Dan Allender for shaping his thinking regarding ministry. Rick graduated from Baptist Bible College in 1999 with a B.S. in Bible and from Philadelphia Biblical University in 2005 with a Master’s in Counseling.
He and his wife, Brooke, were married in 2008 and have a daughter Charlotte (2010).
Nate Green|Pastor of Worship & Arts
Nate assists in elements of planning and preparation for weekend services and special events, organizes and maintains musical archives, and is a regularly scheduled worship leader at services. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Evangelism and Discipleship from Moody Bible Institute, 2003.
Nate has a passion to see people grow in their relationship with the Lord and sees worship as a vital part of that. He’s been leading worship in various settings since high-school. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Evangelism and Discipleship from Moody Bible Institute (2003) and helped plant a Spanish speaking church in Willmar, MN – where he and his wife Meagan met and married in 2008.
Nate and Meagan strive to know and love the Lord Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind and strength– while shepherding their four young sons to do the same.
Amber Hejl | Communications Director
Amber joined the CVC team in 2008 and God’s given Amber a passion to create connections for our young adults, while creating an online community to do the same. She’s from Hamilton, Ohio and graduated from Greenville College, Illinois in 2005. Her degree in Digital Media allowed her to be involved in a number of media related ministry experiences in Northeast, Ohio including Communications Associate at Cleveland Hope and Digital Media Specialist for NEO360.
Amber is completely smitten with her husband, Matthew Hejl.
Brian Howell | Executive Pastor of Ministries
Brian oversees all areas of ministry at CVC, including CVC Kids, Impact Student Ministries, Community Life, and Worship Arts. Brian holds a BA in Music and Business from Anderson University (Indiana). Brian surrendered his heart to Christ in 1988 while a junior in college. After 14 years on the road as a musical director and keyboardist for several Christian artists, he is passionate about serving Christ at CVC.
He is married to Jennifer (2000), and the father of 3 girls – Emily (2002), Megan (2004), and Sophie (2006).
Gregg Jacobsen | Executive Pastor of Administration
Born and raised in Cleveland, Gregg spent 22 years in the business world before joining the staff at CVC in 1999. He is responsible for overall administration and operations of the church and oversees Guest Services (Greeters, Ushers and Parking Lot Helpers). Gregg holds educational degrees from Parks College of Aeronautics of St. Louis University, B.S. Aeronautical Administration (1975), and Case Western Reserve University, Master of Science in Management (1976).
He and his wife Michele Wagner Jacobsen were married in 1991, and have one son, Christopher (1995).
Bryan Karas | Creative Arts Pastor
Bryan joined the staff team in March of 2005 and currently serves as Creative Arts Pastor. His passion is seeing people develop their creative giftings and using them as acts of worship for the glory of God. He was born and raised in Cleveland , Ohio and has been involved with sevenoseven as the guitarist for the worship band. Bryan has been involved in many different ministries, including missions work in Rome , Italy , and on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico . He completed a ministry internship at Rockside Church in Independence , Ohio where he served in leading small groups, youth ministry, training worship teams, assisting in community outreaches, and preaching on Sunday mornings.
Denise Petek | CVCKids Minister (Birth through Grade 5)
Denise is responsible for the overall planning, implementation, and staffing of children’s programs from birth through 5th grade, including training and shepherding of teachers and helpers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Toledo and is hoping to complete her Bible degree.
Denise and her husband Tom were married in 1988. They are blessed with four children, Tyler (1989), Cory (1991), Nathan (1992), Elyse (1995), and happily welcomed a daughter-in-law, Gabrielle in July, 2013.
Dale Piscura | Pastor of Men’s LifeGroups
Dale serves as a CVC Elder and as a staff counselor in CVC’s Discipleship Department, while helping to guide the prayer ministries. Having initiated the young adult ministry that is now 707, he also serves as a pastor and advisor to that ministry. He has been part of CVC since 1987 and on staff since 2000, holding a Masters Degree in Biblical Counseling from Liberty University.
Dale and his wife Jackie were married in 1976 and have 4 adult sons: Josh, Dave, Steve and Mark.
Dean Siley |Pastor of Community Life
Dean joined the 707 team in January 2004. In his current role as Community Life Pastor, he provides overall leadership to LifeGroup, Membership, Baptism, Care/Benevolence, and New Believers.
His passion is to develop leaders and challenge them to use their gifts, time, and talent to glorify God and build a unified community that is spiritually, physically, and mentally healthy.
He and his wife Susan were married in 2006 and enjoys being the parents of 4 children. Dean holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary (2012) and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Kent State University (2002)
Josh Stone | Young Adult Pastor
Josh is the most recent addition to the CVC team where he serves with the young adults of CVC. His desire is to make much of Jesus through helping develop young adults in Christian maturity and motivating them to be on mission for Christ. Josh moved with his wife Deborah to Northeast Ohio from New Hampshire but has lived in Virginia, California, and Georgia.
Josh holds a B.S in Business Management and Master of Divinity from Liberty University and a Masters of Theology from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He enjoys the outdoors, reading, gardening, and watching movies with his wife.
Joe Valenti | Associate CVCYouth Pastor (Grades 6-12)
Joe has been on staff at CVC for over ten years. He started as an intern in the Worship Arts area and has been serving as one of the pastors in our CVCYouth (6th-12th grades) since 2005. Joe and his wife Linda met while serving at CVC together and have two kids – Grace and Logan. Joe holds a B.A. From Baldwin Wallace and an M.A. in theological studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Joe enjoys racquetball, hiking with his family, and country music with the windows rolled down.
Jeff Ziolkowski | Pastor of Technical Arts
Jeff provides leadership for our CVC Technical Arts volunteers. His responsibilities include coordinating sound, video and lighting for the weekend services as he shepherds the 25+ volunteers who support all technical activities, including IT. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications (1991) from the University of Southern Colorado.
He and his wife Laryssa were married in October of 2005. They adopted their first child, Alexa Joy, in 2010, and are pursuing their second adoption.
Ministry Support Staff
Tom Campisi | Custodial Team
Tom serves at CVC as a member of our Custodial Team, a role he has held since 2003.
Jeannie Hasman | IT Project Manager
Jeannie serves in our IT area as Project Manager, a role she has held since 2012. She is responsible for the overall IT Project implementation and vendors required to support the technology needs of the church and staff. Jeannie holds an Associate Degree in IT with a focus on Website Design and Development from Kaplan University. She and her husband Paul have four children: Zachery, Joshua, Alyssa, and Ally.
Lorrie Kaczmarek | Receptionist/Administrative Assistant
Lorrie serves as a receptionist/administrative assistant at CVC, and performs routine operations of the church office to provide informational support. Lorrie’s ministry includes being a friendly, welcoming servant to all who call and visit CVC. She serves on the CVC Altar Prayer Team, as well as on a prayer team for the Youth and CVC Kids’ ministries. Lorrie is married to Norman (1968), and they have three adult children, Cheryl, Martin, and David, and four grandchildren.
Kristy Klasa |Executive Team Project Manager/Administrative Assistant
Kristy serves on staff as the Executive Team Project Manager & Administrative Assistant. She has been attending CVC for several years and has served in areas such as the Care Team, the Community Life Team, and the Worship Arts Team. Kristy received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2008 and a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling in 2012, both from Liberty University. She has worked in the field as a Licensed Counselor but more recently has felt the desire to be more involved in ministry.
Dianne Leers-Valek | Administrative Assistant
Dianne serves as an Administrative Assistant to our CVCKids and CVCYouth areas, a position she has held since 2007. Dianne graduated from Normandy High School (1983) and has studied at Cuyahoga Community College (OH). She has two children – Pat (1993) and Kellie (1995).
Dahlia Orth | Facilities Coordinator/Front Desk Receptionist
Dahlia serves as the Facilities Coordinator and Front Desk Receptionist. In addition to that, Dahlia is a 2nd year CVCYouth intern. She is a New Jersey native and has lived here in Cleveland for over a year. Dahlia attends Summit University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports and Health Science. She plans to finish her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership this coming Fall. Dahlia desires to see students become passionate followers of Jesus Christ. She looks forward to serving the CVC family and continuing to invest in those around her.
Verna Plagge | CVCKids Supply Manager
Verna serves as the supply manager for our ministry to children, CVCKids. She is a graduate of Wartburg College (IA) with a degree in Business Education. Verna is passionate about equipping parents to raise up their kids in the Lord. Our kids love Ms. Verna! She serves faithfully in the area of missions, and serves the inner city needy through COTS and our CVC Mission Teams. Verna is single, but many friends’ children call her their aunt. She has two nephews and a niece.
Jackie Praskavich | Accounting/Human Resources Manager
Jackie serves as our Accounting Manager at CVC, and is responsible for ensuring that the resources provided by God’s people are used for His glory. Jackie has more than 20 years of accounting experience as a CPA. She has a BA in Accounting from Cleveland State University (OH). She is married to Dan (1985), and they have two sons, Chris and Anthony.
Darlene Sawyer | Financial Assistant
Darlene Sawyer serves on the Finance Team as an Assistant at CVC. Darlene studied at Akron University. Her passion and heart is to serve others. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good students of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Darlene is married to Tom, and they have three grown children: Jennifer, Lauren, and Tommy.
Raquel Schors | Director of Blast!, CVCKids
Raquel serves as the director of Blast!, CVC’s ministry to families. Raquel has her bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Cleveland State University. As a member of the CVCKids’ team, she assists in any way that can help the children of CVC to live new. Her main responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of the blast! production and managing the curriculum for the preschool children. She is passionate about teaching children and making a difference in the lives of families. Raquel is married to Mike (2006), and they are parents of two wonderful boys, Oscar (2010) and Frankie (2011).
Mike Slago | Custodial Team
Mike serves as a member of the Custodial Team at CVC. He has an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Mohave Community College, and has studied toward a degree in Social Work at Arizona State University. Before coming to CVC, Mike worked in the aerospace and lighting industries. Mike also serves at 707, our ministry to young adults, and sings in the CVC Worship Choir. He is passionate about outreach as well as serving in local and international missions.
Greta Smith | Administrative Assistant, Community Life
Greta Smith serves as the Administrative Assistant of Community Life at CVC since 2002. Greta has an Associate’s Degree In Legal Secretarial Science from Lockyear College, Evansville (IN). She co-leads CVC’s GriefShare special interest group, and has a heart for those who are hurting due to the loss of a loved one. Greta lives in Strongsville with her husband, Kent, and their two happily-rescued cats.
Kathi Tushar | Custodial Team
Kathi has served on the CVC Custodial Team since 2012. She is a 1992 graduate of Orange High School. She serves in Worship Arts on the Vocal Arts Team, as well as in the CVC Worship Choir, and in the Children’s Ministry with Blast!. Kathi is married to Mark (1995), and they have five children: Mark, Jr. (1997), Meghan (1998), Lindsey (2001), Noah (2007), and Krista (2011).
Mark Tushar | Custodial Team
Mark has served on the CVC Custodial Team since 2008. He also serves as a drummer on the Worship Arts teams for weekend services. Mark is married to Kathi (1995), and they have five children: Mark, Jr. (1997), Meghan (1998), Lindsey (2001), Noah (2007), and Krista (2011).
As of September, 2012, Chad serves as CVC’s Lead Pastor. He and his wife Rica met in high school and were married in 1993. They have three children: Cruz (2002), Isabelle (2003) and Faith(2010). As Lead Pastor, Chad serves in full eldership as of October, 2010.
Larry and his wife, Thea, have attended CVC full time since summer of 2008. Married in 1985, they have eight children: Gwen, Jared, Rene’, Natalie, Rebekah, Joseph, Peter and Lawrence and have several grandchildren. Larry joined the elder team in December of 2013.
Wayne and his wife Gail started attending CVC in 1994. They met at Kent State University both graduating as Computer Science majors and married in 1977. They have a daughter Sara (1984) who is married to Michael, and a grandson Andrew. Wayne has served as an elder since December, 2008. Both Wayne and Gail serve in the Marriage Ministry area at CVC and Wayne is on the board with International Friends.
Duane and his wife Holly have been members at CVC since 2003. Married in 1987, they have four children: Caleb (1991), Clay (1992), Tawney (1995) and Tara (1998). Duane has served in full eldership capacity since May 2012