Meet Our Team

The Old and the Short of it

Pastor Eric Van Scharrel

Senior Pastor
I am a pastor. I preach, teach, lead, serve, write, visit, counsel, and listen.
It’s hard to summarize what I do, which probably either means I do a lot or not much. I really love being around people.

My wife Kristen is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and you’ll see our three awesome free-range children – Tate, Quinn and Jax – weaving their way through the crowd on Sunday mornings.

Pastor Ben Schrank

Associate Pastor
Husband. Father. Pastor. Coffee drinker. Not necessarily in that order.
I am a child of God and a recipient of a GRACE that has changed my life. It is awesome to be able to spend my life trying to creatively communicate that same GRACE to others.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Pastor Marvin St. Pierre

Associate Pastor
“Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to be a servant leader,” has been and continues to be my life prayer.  I’ve had the joy and privilege of living most of my adult life in St. John’s, being blessed by the many ministries here, as well as serving in many of them.   I’ve gotten to see the good stuff:  what Jesus is doing in us, our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and our city through this congregation.   Now I serve as pastor.  If I had a theme, it might  be from The Servant Song:  “Brother, sister, let me be your servant.  Let me be as Christ to you.  Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.”

Hailey Smidt

Administrative Assistant to Pastors

I’m Hailey, Pastor Eric and Pastor Ben's assistant. I’m an extension of Pastoral care, and am happy to help with prayer requests, Stephen Ministers, or any other pastoral care concern. I’m your primary contact for baptisms, funerals, and memorials.  My husband Nate is in sales and together we have 4 boys Nathan, Zale, Riese and Christian.

Evan Anwyl

Superintendent of Schools

I lead a dynamic and dedicated staff that serve children, 12 months old through grade 8, at St. John's Lutheran Children's Center and Grade School. We are blessed to be able to guide students in leadership and life skills, academics, and faith formation. A high goal of mine is to partner with families to develop the whole student and be effective as we raise the next generation of leaders for Bakersfield and beyond. My wife Rebecca is a local Speech and Language Pathologist and our children, Riley and Timothy, are growing in skill and faith here in Bakersfield.

Chris Cawthon

Director, Worship & Technical Arts

I’ve served in various ministry areas since being hired in 2004, but since 2008 I’ve served as Director of Worship & Technical Arts. That means I have the amazing privilege of working with a talented group of volunteers who help musically lead and technically produce and stream our contemporary worship service. I’m also a part of the creative worship team that helps plan and guide the direction of our Sunday message series, build sets, and produce visual and other creative content. You’ll also find me behind the scenes keeping all of the Audio/Video/Lighting systems updated and working in our worship spaces so that technology can help (rather than hinder) spread the good news of God’s grace to all people.

Brent Williams

Director, Worship & Fine Arts

I conduct the Celebration Choir, Handbells, and coordinate music in the Traditional Worship service.  I also have the joy of working with the music department as an instrumental music teacher, conducting the St. John's Jazz Band and other ensembles. My passion is to reach people for Christ, in music, in education, in communication, or whatever God calls me to do.

Courteney Jimerson

Director, Student Ministries 

I am the Director of Student Ministries here at St. John’s. I get to hang out with all of our Junior High and High School students!  I have a deep passion and desire to see the next generation wholeheartedly follow God. My hope is to empower young people to see themselves not merely as future leaders but current leaders of the Church. My goal is that they are able to vocalize their faith and develop a deep desire to serve. Music is another big passion of mine because I believe it has the power to speak directly to a person’s heart.

Stacey Persons

Engagement Coordinator (in purple)

I love to have fun and bring joy to all events I am involved in. Along with Large Church Events and the Event Center, you are going to meet me if you are new to St. John’s or volunteering in any of our many ministries. As a former Kidz Ministry employee, it would not be unheard of to see me on stage doing some fun and silly illustrations for all of us that are kids at heart.

Lorraine Davis, Kara Thompson, and Lisa Kewish

Kidz Ministry Team

We are Lorraine, Kara and Lisa and we joyfully serve in Kidz Ministry. It combines our three favorite things: God’s Word, His children, and their families. Kidz Ministry provides weekly Sunday School, Mid-Week AWANA Club, and Kidz 56 - our 5th and 6th ministry that combines food, friends, fun, and serving the community. If you have babies or a preschooler, we provide nursery and run the MOPS group. Annually we host special events like Pumpkinfest, the Easter egg hunt and VBS.
Yes, we never sleep. Too much fun to be had… hope you join in!!

Dwayne Clemans

Facilities Manager

I’m the guy you call when something is not working right or is broken here on the St. John’s Campus. I do everything from fixing sprinklers to security and safety. When it comes to Facility and Grounds, there is not much I won’t do.

Mike Kinsey

Director of Finance and Human Resources

My name is Mike Kinsey; I am Director of Finance and Human Resources. My assistant Michelle Fox and I count contributions, pay bills and employees, administer benefit programs for employees, implement the annual budget, provide the board with financial statements monthly, and stay abreast of all laws and regulations that the church falls under.
We can help you with any of the following items: questions on contributions and end of year statements, invoices, mission account balances, annual church budget and any employment related matters.

Michelle Fox

Finance Assistant

My name is Michelle Fox, and I am the Financial Assistant for St. John’s Lutheran Church. I am responsible for the counting of the contributions and entering them. I am also responsible for accounts payable & receivable items for the campus. I also attend St. John’s and have a daughter who attends SJLS.

Danielle Swartz

Administrative Assistant

I am the administrative assistant here in the church office. Although, I normally work in the afternoons. I am always around to help with printing needs, any bulk printing or mailing that needs to be done, and to lend a helping hand in any way I can.

Leslie Geissel

Church Receptionist and Office Support

I am the Church Receptionist, the first face you see when you come into the office. I handle the weekly News & Notes, answer the phones, and I will make copies for you, among other things. Oh, and I make a mean cup of coffee too!

Desiree Mackall

Communications Specialist

I have the pleasure of connecting with the wonderful members of our congregation, community, and with other awesome organizations to bring the physical church into the online world. We love to bring the gospel to every heart, soul, and mind; no matter where they reside. Our goal is to meet people where they are and create connection with the children of God. My husband Adam is a financial advisor for a local wealth management group and our three amazing kids - Hailey, Braedon, and Austyn - keep us occupied, challenged, and filled to the brim with love.