Tom Getz
Presiding Elder
Tom lives in Avon Lake with his wife, Wendy. They have been married for 51+ years and have three children: Tara, Samuel and Megyn; ten grandchildren: and one cat, Emmylou. Tom retired in 2015 after serving 25 years as Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuting high profile white collar, public corruption and financial institution cases. After 9/11 he was appointed Chief of the National Security Unit and Anti-terrorism Advisory Committee Coordinator, overseeing the district’s federal agency response to terrorism threats. Tom and Wendy have attended FRIENDS Church for 19 years. While Wendy has taught preschool for many years, Tom has been honored to serve on the Board of Elders for seven years and is commencing his sixth year as Presiding Elder.  He has also served on both the Worship and Security Team.

“Friends Church is our home and family, not only because it emphasizes the truth and value of God’s word, but it serves as a healing sanctuary from the confusion, anxiety and distractions of the world, while also seeking to extend love and compassion beyond its walls.”


Darlene lives in Strongsville with her husband, Will. They have three children: Gianna, Bryce, and Brett; and one granddaughter, Alayah. Darlene worked as a travel agent with American Express for sixteen years until she became a stay-at-home mother. In addition to being a full-time mom, she is now also working part time in the Strongsville schools. Darlene has been attending NOEFC for 21 years. She is a teen small group leader, part of the hospitality team, and leads the Women’s Ministry. 

“Friends Church is a wonderful church with such an amazing staff that are always there to help guide and foster growth to his followers.” 

Darlene Wilke
David Herwerden


Dave lives in Middleburg Heights with his wife, Amanda. They have three teenage children: Mallory, Mason and Olivia. Dave grew up in the greater Cleveland area and grew up in the church attending West Park Christian Reformed Church. He is a financial advisor and the Director for a local wealth planning firm. Dave and Amanda were married in NOEFC in 2004 and began attending regularly a few years later.  They have both been involved with Upward basketball, growth groups, and Night in Bethlehem, with Amanda also assisting in the children’s wing. 

“I am so grateful to have this church community to call my home – it has been great for my own spiritual growth, but to me it is more amazing to watch the foundation and the faith that this church has helped instill in the hearts of my children.” 


Cindy lives in Berea with her husband, Dave. They have two children: Kyle and Maria; and five grandchildren. They treasure family time and make it a priority in their lives. Cindy recently retired after 38 years in public education -teaching all grades, preschool through sixth grade and serving as an elementary school assistant principle. Cindy has been involved at NOEFC with City Mission, growth groups, choir, nursery, mission trip to Jamaica, and the Cleveland Pregnancy Center.


“Friends Church has been with us through many trials and joys. We have grown in our faith and continue to do so through the leadership of the church and strong relationships with our church family.”                                                                                   

Cindy Millen
Eugene Kushner
Gene lives in North Olmsted with his wife, Shirley. They have been married for 15 years and have four children: Amy, Chris, Don, and Kurt; and nine grandchildren.  Gene was an Eagle Scout, served in the Ohio Army National Guard and worked in executive sales, business development and management withing the wireless telecommunications industry. He came to know the Lord in 1988 and professed his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior in 1996. He and Shirley have been worshiping at NOEFC since June of 2022. Gene facilitates the Men’s Ministry weekly breakfast meeting, has been blessed to sing in the choir, and is involved in Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Shirley serves with the youth group.

“I am excited and expectant to where the Holy Spirit is leading the North Olmsted Friends community – as we follow God’s direction.” 


Chris lives in North Olmsted with her husband, Randy. They have been married for 52 years and have three daughters: Heather, Tracy, and Shae; and thirteen grandchildren. Chris’s earlier work history is mainly in the bookkeeping and administrative fields. She later attended Ashland Seminary receiving a Clinical Counseling Degree enabling her to assist substance abuse clients at the City Mission. Chris and Randy have grown spiritually and been blessed at NOEFC since 2000. In addition to both Chris and Randy hosting marriage growth groups, assisting in the church nursery and attending Silver Friends; Chris has ushered, shared prayer requests with the church prayer groups, and been on several mission trips.     

“I treasure my Church family here at Friends Church and the loving and dedicated shepherds the Lord has given to us.”

Christine Niemi
Ted Smith


Ted and wife Nancy live in LaGrange on land that has been in Nancy’s family since the turn of the previous century. Their son Russ and daughter-in-law have a two-year-old named Emma.  Ted graduated from Elyria High School and served in the US Navy. He worked for Balster Corporation for 17 years and now is employed with Lagrance Electrical Assemblies. Attending Friends for 14 years, they now serve at the Elyria campus as part of the Launch Team. Ted is also a member of the Safety team and enjoys the Men’s Saturday Bible study.

“Friends is my spiritual home for fellowship, worship and renewal.”


Joann lives in Columbia Station with her husband, Jack. They have three children: Benjamin, Jessica and Mitchell; and two grandchildren.  Joann was a specialist teacher and then a second-grade teacher in North Ridgeville for 32 years. She has been retired for six years and now enjoys volunteering, Bible study, and time with family (especially her granddaughters) and friends. Joann has attended NOEFC for the past 25 years.

“Friends Church is my church family where I feel at home, feel God working, and can learn, grow and serve.”   

Joann Hengst