Leadership

Pastor & Staff

Rev. Dr. Jeffery Gramza

Senior Pastor

Every day I thank God for the honor of serving this awesome congregation.  I love this community of real people, living, learning, loving, laughing, worshiping, serving, struggling and growing together.
I grew up in South Bend, Indiana. I earned a Bachelor's of Science (BS) in Biology and Chemistry at Valparaiso University, a Master's of Divinity (M.Div.) at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio and a Doctorate in Ministry (DMin) at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. I was ordained in 1998. I interned at St. John Lutheran Church in Wilson, Texas.  After ordination I served Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Wessington Springs, South Dakota and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New Castle, Indiana.  I began my ministry at the Purple Door Church in August of 2011.
My ministry is sustained through the loving support of my wife Elizabeth. She is my best friend and partner in ministry.  She is a nursing instructor at Wright State University’s Lake Campus. Together, we have four wonderful children—Molly (and her husband Chris), Lilly, Nathaniel George, and Grace.
When I accepted the call to ministry, I knew I was embarking on an impossible venture. What gives me the ability to accomplish daily ministry is the knowledge that God goes with me. Where my own faith or strength or courage or skills may fail or fall short, God is there guiding me, renewing my faith and strengthening me for ministry. Through every aspect of ministry, I remain open to the blessings and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I believe the Word of God is relevant for life. God's Word has transformational power in my life and I believe God calls me to do "relevant ministry." I endeavor to keep others connected to God in meaningful and relevant ways. I want others to experience the power of the living Word and the blessings of Almighty God as much as do.
In my spare time, I am an active leader in Scouting. I enjoy boating, fishing, hiking and camping.

Vicar andrea McDonough

Intern Pastor

Hello! I am the current Vicar here at the Purple Door Church. I am a Master of Divinity student at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio and a Capital University graduate. I am blessed and excited to be serving here in Celina! I have two children, Annika and Evan, who keep me grounded and laughing. I love talking about food, art, the Bible, and the poetry of Leonard Cohen.

Rachel Russell

church receptionist

Hi, I am Rachel Russell, your church secretary. I have been with St. Johns since June of 2018. I am married to my high-school sweetheart, Tyler. Together we have four beautiful and talented children, Chloe, Noah, Lily, and Reese. Tyler and I are both Celina graduates and love raising our children in our hometown.
Although we are members of another church, we feel so welcome and have become part of the St John family. My children participate in all the activities here that they can and my husband and I volunteer when we can. It is amazing that we are so blessed with two church families. This position and church have changed our lives.

Donald Trisel

Business Manager

Greetings to the Purple Door Church Family! I am excited to be the new Business Manager.

My wife Kimberly and I are natives of rural Mercer County and graduated from Parkway. We have three children: Katie, Ian, and Will. The kids stay active with band, sports, and taking care of our two dogs and small flock of chickens.  

I have degrees from Heidelberg (B.S. in Biology) and from Miami University (M.S. and Ph.D., both in Botany). I spent the first 19 years of my academic career teaching science at Fairmont State University in Fairmont, West Virginia. The next 4 years I served as the Dean for the College of Science and Technology, also at FSU. In 2018, we decided to leave WV and return to Mercer County to be near our families. Most recently, I was employed with a local agricultural cooperative.  In my spare time, I’ve been coaching recreation-league sports teams for my kids and a few school sports teams.

My faith has always been important to me. I grew up attending St. John Lutheran Church, Hopewell Township. While we were in WV, we were members of the First Presbyterian Church in Fairmont. Kim served as the Christian Ed Director for several years and I served as an elder. We were both singers, bell ringers, and coached the church softball team, among many other activities.

I am looking forward to meeting each of you, working with the staff, serving this congregation, and being an active member of the community.

JEnelle Gross

Director of Children's Ministries

Greetings!  My name is Jenelle Gross and I am the Children’s Director here at St. John’s. My family and I have been a part of the W.O.W Wednesday night program since 2010. Prior to becoming the Children’s Director in June of 2018, I volunteered for several years teaching the W.O.W program and VBS.

I live in Coldwater, Ohio with my husband Jeremy and our five children Rudi, TJ, Jenessa, and twin boys Marshel and Beckett. I have earned my associates degree in Early Childhood Education and Bachelors in Intervention Specialist. I taught preschool for 15 years. When I am not at work I love spending time with my family.

I have a passion for teaching and learning. I love to watch young children develop and grow in knowledge and faith. If you ever have a question just ask! My children have always loved the children’s programs here at the Purple Door Church, as I hope your children do as well.

Ingrid Miller

Director of Youth and Young Adult ministries

Hello! I am the Director of Youth and Young Adults at St. John.  Before coming to the Purple Door Church, I attended Miami University, where I studied  English Language Arts Education for grades 7-12. As the youth director, I get to connect my background in  education to my call to youth ministry.  I am grateful for the opportunity to help young people grow in their faith.
I grew up in New Knoxville, OH, where I still live, which means I get to spend lots of time with my family here. In my free time, I love riding my bike on our country roads. I also like hiking, reading, and spending time with friends.
I am thankful  to serve the youth at the Purple Door Church, and I am excited to follow this path God has chosen for me.

Denny Rolfes

Facilities Manager

I started as the property steward in 2015. I love my job and the members I come in contact with. My wife, oldest boy, Toby and his family  attend church here. Toby's son and daughter  love WOW taco night and my grandson Leo loves to fish with Pastor Jeff at his pond. My youngest son, Casey and his wife have 2 little girls.  I'm a very proud grandfather.

Mary Meyer

custodian

Hi, I'm Mary Meyer. I'm the custodian at St. John. I started here in 2018. I live in Celina with my husband Kevin. We have 2 kids and 4 grandsons.
I truly enjoy my job and all of the people I get to interact with.