Staff & Leadership

Church Staff

Rev. Rebekah J. Johns

Rev. Rebekah J. Johns

Interim Pastor

Rebekah Johns joined the Hidenwood Presbyterian Church staff in June 2019 as the Interim Pastor for a covenanted twelve-month period of time. Rebekah was drawn to Hidenwood by their spiritual desire of “keeping God in the center of everything…” as they “go through this time of transition.” She is delighted to share her passion about Christ and to lead Hidenwood in this journey of spiritual growth.

Rev. Johns earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Religious Studies and Psychology; a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, Phase I and II Interim Ministry Certification, and she has done post-graduate work at Union Presbyterian Seminary in women’s ministry and leadership.

Rebekah enjoys being at home in Mechanicsville or visiting with family in Waynesboro. She loves listening to Big Band and smooth jazz music, entertaining, fine wines, and just being a contented homebody. Devoted and committed to Jesus Christ, she lives to serve God as the Holy Spirit leads.

Barbara Adams

Barbara Adams

Church Administrator

Barbara has been with Hidenwood for more than 30 years. She is responsible for helping staff and church members with anything and everything. She has an Associate’s Degree from Thomas Nelson Community College and is a PC(USA) Certified Church Administrator. Her son Patrick is married to Jessica, she has two granddaughters, Sunshine Grace and Peyton Rayne. She enjoys watching baseball games, traveling, and reading.

Carey Gerstner

Carey Gerstner

Director of Faith Formation

Carey joined our staff in October of 2014. She is a native of Alexandria, VA. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA and a Master’s degree in Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary. She moved to Newport News in 2003. She and her husband Tom have four children and one grandson. Grant, his wife Brandi and his son Isaac live in Maryland, Alyssa is in Law school in Indiana, Eric is a mechanical engineer, and Tarquin who is attending nursing school at the University of Pittsburgh. She has one dog, Ellie; and two cats, Sophie and Theo. When at home, she loves spending time reading and gardening.

Geoffrey Bell

Geoffrey Bell

Director of Music Ministries

Geoffrey joined our staff in April of 2012. As Director of Music Ministries, he oversees all the musical and worship arts activities of the church, including the Sanctuary Choir, Hidenbells, Celebration Band, children’s musical groups, and the Music in the Woods concert series. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music as well as the Church Music Certificate from Virginia Wesleyan University, and a Master of Church Music from Shenandoah University. He obtained the Colleague certification from the American Guild of Organists in May 2013 and serves on the Tidewater chapter’s executive board. In addition to the AGO, Geoffrey is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. A native of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Geoffrey currently lives in Norfolk with his dog, Duncan, and cat, Ollie.

Belinda Hammond

Belinda Hammond

Director of Food Services & Property

Belinda joined Hidenwood as a member in 1983 and joined our staff in July of 2002. She coordinates our food service programs and coordinates upkeep of our facilities. She has three children, Donnie, Ronnie and Christina; and six grandchildren. She lives with her cat, Maggie. She loves yard sales and a good bargain.

Leadership

The Session

The heart of the Presbyterian System is government by elders. These members of the Session are responsible for guiding the total life of the church in obedience to Christ, who is the head. Committees of the Session include:

  • Worship (Music Ministry, Sanctuary Service, Flower Guild, Bereavement Service)
  • Christian Education (Children’s, Youth and Adult Ministries, Preschool Board, Media Center)
  • Evangelism
  • Finance
  • Stewardship (Personal Commitment; Time and Talents)
  • Auxiliary Committees of the Session (Endowment, Memorial, Personnel)

The Board of Deacons

  • Congregational Care
  • Mission
  • Communications
  • Food and Fellowship
  • Property

Members of the Session and Diaconate are assigned committees so there is officer representation on each group. Church members at large, however, make up the majority of our committees. If you are interested in serving on a particular committee, please contact the Pastor, or the chair of that committee, which you can find out by contacting the church office.

Session & Diaconate Committees

The heart of the Presbyterian system is government by elders. At Hidenwood the congregation elects 15 men and women who, meeting together, form the Session and are responsible for guiding the total life of the church in obedience to Christ, who is the Head. The deacons, 18 men and women also elected by the congregation, are given the responsibility for care of the property and for service to those in need. They work with and under the final authority of the Session. Other aspects of the life of the church are administered by the Session through its committees listed below. Membership on these committees is sought from across the membership of the church. Thanks are expressed to all of these people listed on the following pages for service to Hidenwood.

All church committees meet on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 pm.

Committees of the Session

Faith Formation
Statement of Purpose

Faith Formation oversees the programs that nurture children, youth and adults in our spiritual formation through a wide range of traditional Christian education experiences and Bible study as well as special programs for the enrichment of all ages.

Responsibilities
  1. Develop relevant and interesting class offerings for all adult members
  2. Develop a comprehensive program of study, service, and activity for all youth
  3. Develop a comprehensive program of study and activity for all children
  4. Reach out to the children and families of Hidenwood Presbyterian Preschool
  5. Reach out to the students and faculty of Christopher Newport University
  6. Provide teacher and teacher assistant training
  7. Provide opportunities and mentoring for young adult interns
Chair
Jimmie Espich
j.espich@jimmieandbill.us
Evangelism & Communications
Statement of Purpose

The Evangelism and Communications Committee is a joint committee of the Session and Diaconate. It is charged with equipping all members of the congregation with the knowledge and tools to communicate Christ’s love through the work and programs of the church to the neighborhood and larger community. Further responsibility includes promoting effective exchange of information both within the church membership and with the world at large, utilizing traditional media as well as up-to-date technology; fosters openness within the membership by encouraging effective communication among individuals and groups.

Responsibilities
  1. Equip congregation members to identify and greet visitors to worship services
  2. Provide greeters for both worship services
  3. Assimilate new members into the life of the church (0 to 12 months)
  4. Send notes to all visitors identified through the Friendship Register
  5. Notify the Pastor of visitors identified through the Friendship Registers
  6. Support Bridge Events, including: Pet Blessing Services, Fall Pumpkin Festival, Preschool Sunday, VBS Sunday
  7. Equip the congregation to provide information about services and programs of Hidenwood Presbyterian Church to new comers to the neighborhood
  8. Prepare and distribute bi-monthly Lectern and e-Lectern; send out e-Lectern alerts as needed
  9. Maintain church’s website
  10. Prepare press releases for special activities and programs such as Fall Festival and Music in the Woods concerts
  11. Create bulletin boards
  12. Prepare special slide presentations as requested
  13. Oversees signage
  14. Creates brochures for Christian Education, Music Ministries, Preschool, etc.
Chair
Sandy Kane
sandykane64@verizon.net
Finance & Stewardship
Statement of Purpose

Finance oversees the financial condition of the church and is responsible for reporting on church financial matters to the diaconate, session, and the congregation. In this regard, the committee meets regularly with the church treasurer to review current receipts and expenditures to determine if they are within budget. The Stewardship part of the committee works to enable all members to participate in carrying out the ministry of Christ, equipping each individual to use his or her unique gifts to manifest Christ’s love in service to the congregation; fosters personal stewardship of time, talent, and financial resources.

Responsibilities
  1. Preparing a proposed annual church budget for presentation to session
  2. Assigning elders and deacons to count and deposit all offerings collected by the church
  3. Review and maintain an adequate insurance program for the Church facilities and it programs.
  4. Review and approve all contracts that require an annual expense of more than $1,000 or any contract for two or more years.
  5. Monitor and record income and expenses monthly and provide reports to session and diaconate at their monthly meetings
  6. Renegotiate or develop loan alternatives for recommendation to the Session.
  7. Plan, organize, and carry out the yearly Stewardship Campaign
  8. Endowment Fund promotion (liaise with Endowment Fund)
Chair
Arthur Henderson
arthurandnancy@cox.net
Stewardship Campaign Coordinator
Jessica Kelly
jessica.kelly@cnu.edu

Worship
Statement of Purpose

Worship is responsible for sustaining and empowering God’s people with a variety of worship experiences glorifying God; encouraging the congregation to experience a life-enriching connection with Jesus Christ.

Responsibilities
  1. Continue offering meaningful worship services each Sunday morning
  2. Continue offering special services through the year, including Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Pet Blessing, Longest Night, and Christmas Eve
  3. Finding ways to increase worship attendance
  4. Continue offering “Music in the Woods” concert series
  5. Offer dynamic music opportunities for children, youth and adults
  6. Oversee the Academy of Music and Fine Arts
  7. Identify “bridge events”
Chair
Rob Collins
rc5859@cox.net
Auxiliary Committees of the Session

Members of the following committees are appointed by the Session

Endowment Fund

Responsible for promoting, receiving, investing, expanding, and managing donations to the Fund under general oversight of the Session.

Chair
Willard Hoskins
willard.hoskins1@verizon.net

Memorial Fund

Develops and recommends to the Session ways in which memorial funds might be used.

Chair
Gay Huffman
huffmans4@cox.net

Personnel

Provides an orderly, focused, and considerate means for the Session to build a healthy work environment, contributing to the efficient operation of the church consistent with the Vision Statement.

Chair
Ben Mason
benmason2@cox.net

Committees of the Diaconate

Food & Fellowship and Congregational Care
Statement of Purpose

This joint committee initiates food service programs and assists other church committees in providing food service, both for our own congregation and the wider community at large. It provides a climate of Christian love and acceptance, working with existing groups within the church and providing other opportunities for fellowship as needed; receives new members into the church.

Responsibilities
  1. PORT – Enlist volunteers to assist with preparing meals, serving, overnight stay for the homeless shelter
  2. Provide volunteers for Coffee Fellowship
  3. Enlist volunteers to set up, cook, bake, and serve for church receptions, Shrove Tuesday, Lenten Dinners, monthly fellowship dinners, committee functions, etc.
  4. Loving and Serving – Provide receptions for funeral/memorial services or prepare meal for family of deceased church member; prepare meal for members after surgery or childbirth; provide meals for our homebound
  5. Attuned to other needs in the community or congregation that might be met through the mission and functions of the committee
  6. Assist Local Mission Committee with Red Cross Disaster Team
  7. Provide fellowship opportunities such as fellowship dinners, Shrove Tuesday, Lenten Dinners, and other opportunities for church-wide fellowship
  8. Provide oversight to the Stephen Ministry Program and serve as a liaison between this group and the Session
  9. Provide visits and telephone contact with ill/homebound members through the Homebound Visitation Team; to arrange delivery of Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies by district officers to homebound members
  10. Periodically update the current Active Roll of the church
  11. Prepare and serve the confirmation dinner to members of the Confirmation Class, their families and their sponsors
  12. Send greeting cards to church members during celebrations, illnesses, or deaths within their families
  13. Plan and organize day trips and overnight trips to areas of interest for the congregation
  14. Encourage all elders and deacons to embrace the District Shepherd Ministry Plan
  15. Oversees publication of yearly church directory
  16. Oversees publication of pictorial directory every five (5) years
Co-Chairs
Gay Huffman
huffmans4@cox.net
Beverly McLean
beverlym@covtrav.com
Mission
Statement of Purpose

Living out the call of Jesus Christ, Hidenwood Presbyterian Church’s Mission Committee reaches out with hearts and hands to those in need within our community, our regional as well as the world. The committee leads the congregation by providing information as well as opportunities, both financially as well as “hands-on”, to support the needs of individuals and groups alike. The committee recommends groups and agencies for financial support and increases awareness and participation within the congregation for local mission and outreach activities with the goal to become a beacon in the community by building on our missional heritage as a church that serves locally, regionally and globally.

Responsibilities
  1. Plan and coordinate local outreach projects.
  2. Plan and coordinate regional mission opportunities.
  3. Plan and coordinate fundraising opportunities to acquire monies to donate to those in need and/or fund outreach and mission projects.
  4. Determine organizations to receive appropriate monetary donations acquired from the Pentecost and Peacemaking Offerings.
  5. Take part in the Disaster Response Team with Property and Food and Fellowship/Congregational Care committees.
Current Outreach Projects
  1. “Market for Mission” – annual rummage sale (fundraising project)
  2. “Pumpkin Patch” – annual pumpkin sale (fundraising project)
  3. “Nickel-A-Meal” – program benefitting PEVA’s hunger mission project
  4. “Rise Against Hunger” – (previously known as “Stop Hunger Now”) – annual meal packaging event to help end world hunger
  5. “Hampers and Hope” – monthly outreach program working with members from St. Stephens Episcopal Church to offer laundry services to the homeless and those that are less fortunate.
  6. Youth Basketball – help coordinate and finance local church program
  7. Habitat for Humanity – offer volunteer opportunities with local Habitat organ.
  8. “Members Serving Members” – opportunity for church members to help other members with various activities, chores, and/or assistance
  9. Food Closet – coordinates and distributes food for those in need
  10. Food Deliveries – coordinates with NN Social Services delivery of food to families for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter
  11. Angel Tree – organizes and distributes Christmas gifts to families in need
Chair
Bill Espich
w.espich@jimmieandbill.us
Property
Statement of Purpose

Property is responsible for the maintenance of the building and grounds of the church; supervises the janitorial and grounds staff and mobilizes teams of volunteers as needed.

Responsibilities
  1. Maintain a lawn care team
  2. Continually work to maintain and improve facilities
  3. Take part in the Disaster Response Team with the Local Mission and Food Services committees
  4. Organizes work parties as needed
Chair
Donna Heilman
ddestefano@source10.net

414 Hiden Blvd
Newport News, VA 23606

GET DIRECTIONS