Our Staff

The St. Paul UCC Columbia staff works together every day to make sure that the church runs smoothly.  

  • Cathy Fritz – Church Secretary

    Cathy Fritz has served as the church secretary since January 2012.  Although she is not a member of St. Paul, she is active in her own church.  Cathy is a Eucharistic Minister, a coordinator for Living Stations of the Cross, a quilter and was a Teen Youth Group Leader for many years.

    Cathy enjoys reading, camping and spending time with her family and friends.

    Email: office@stpaulcolumbia.org
    Phone: 618-281-5102

  • Barb Gerstenecker – Financial Administrator

    Barb Gerstenecker was hired as the Financial Administrator in 1998 with responsibility for all the bookkeeping functions, network administration, database management and various other projects as needed. She grew up as a member of Christ United Church of Christ in Belleville, Il and moved to Columbia in 1994.

    Barb is married with two adult children.  She enjoys bike riding, reading, taking trips and spending time with my family.

    Email: financial@stpaulcolumbia.org
    Phone: 618-281-5102

  • Denise Johnson – Director of Christian Education & Little Friends Teacher’s Assistant

    Denise Johnson was hired as the Director of Christian Education in 2004 and has been a member since 1984.  Denise completed the LIFE Leadership Certificate at Eden Theological Seminary and has a background in theater management.

    Denise enjoys Christian Ed. because it allows her to express her love of God in an exciting, creative and educational venue.

    Email: christianed@stpaulcolumbia.org
    Phone: 618-281-5102

  • Lori Morton – Music Coordinator & Organist

    Lori Morton, Organist and Music Coordinator, had been with us at St. Paul since 1994.  She provides music for worship services, accompanies the children’s and adult vocal choirs and oversees the music ministry of the church.  Previously, Lori served as organist for Christ United Church of Christ, Belleville in 1993 and Zoar United Church of Christ, New Hanover from 1989 to 1993.

    Lori is a member of the American Guild of Organists and is affiliated with various national honor societies.

    Email:  music@stpaulcolumbia.org
    Phone: 618-281-5102



  • Sue Phillips – Youth Handbell Director & Band Director

    Sue Phillips directs our youth handbell choirs as well as other instrumental groups and works with the After School Crew for various special programs and Christmas programs.  Sue also organizes and directs various other drama programs with adults and children.  She also takes a large role in organizing our Out & About group.

    Sue is a retired music teacher as well as a professional trumpet player and enjoys sharing her talents with the church.

    Email: youthbells@stpaulcolumbia.org or band@stpaulcolumbia.org
    Phone: 618-281-5102

  • Emily Thoman – Director of Choirs & Adult Handbell Director

    Emily Thoman is the Director of Choirs and the Adult Handbell Director at St. Paul.  Emily previously served as the intern in charge of children’s music at the O’Fallon UCC.  She teaches General Music for Kindergarten through 4th grade in Collinsville public schools.

    She fills her free time with Cardinal baseball, time with friends and family and as much travel as she can get!

    Email: choir@stpaulcolumbia.org or adultbells@stpaulcolumbia.org
    Phone: 618-281-5102


  • Patti French – Morning Handbell Director

    Patti French is our Morning Handbell Director.  Patti is a member of Zion Evangelical Church, Millstadt, where she is the chancel choir director and plays in the Zion bell choir.  She is retired from the Columbia School District where she worked her entire teaching career.  Patti taught every grade level K-12 throughout her 34-year career.

    Patti is married with two grown sons.  She appreciates the opportunity to work with some fantastic ladies.


  • Jody Taake – Little Friends Preschool Director

    Jody Taake serves as Director and teacher at our Little Friends Preschool.  She served on the board of Christian Education here at St. Paul before taking her position at Little Friends.  Previously, she taught in the Columbia School District as a substitute teacher for three years and has been teaching preschool since 2005.

    Jody is married with two children and enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, cooking and photography.

    Email: preschool@stpaulcolumbia.org   Phone: 618-281-5102 ext. 36


  • Cathy Koch – Little Friends Preschool Teacher

    Cathy Koch, of New Athens, IL, has taught at Little Friends for 17 years.  She is the leader of our 4-year-old class. Her background includes a BA in English and Secondary Education and she is a certified teacher.


  • Diane Hanna – Little Friends Preschool Teacher

    Diane Hanna, the Little Friends teacher who leads our 5-year-old class, has been a lifelong resident of Columbia.  Her background includes a BS in Business Administration and Economics.  she also took classes for early childhood education.  She started as a substitute at Little Friends before becoming a teacher in 2007.


  • Kristin Barks – Little Friends Teacher’s Assistant

    Kristin Barks assists Diane Hanna with our 4-year-old class.  She enjoys working with children and has a strong background in early childhood education.


  • Debbie Woodcock – Little Friends Teacher’s Assistant

    Debbie Woodcock assists Jody Taake with our 3-year-old class.  She enjoys teaching young children in the Christian faith.


  • Paul Straub – Groundskeeper

    Paul Straub, our groundskeeper, has been a lifetime member since 1955.  He was active with the youth from 1996 through 2012 at different levels.  Paul has also served on several of our committees.

    Paul is married with an adult daughter and enjoys giving back to the church and the community.

  • Terry Schramm – Lead Custodian

    Terry Schramm became the assistant custodian at St. Paul in 2012 and moved into his current role as Lead Custodian in 2016.  He is a life-time member of Sister Cities of Columbia and is joint-owner of Sand Bank School, one of the three one-room schools in Columbia.

    Terry loves to travel and also enjoys his job as part of the staff at St. Paul.