Pastor, Head of Staff
Pastor Blake Richter has served Westminster as Pastor and Head of Staff since October of 1997. Prior to coming to Westminster, he served as an Associate Pastor at Saint Andrew Presbyterian Church in Iowa City, Iowa, and as solo pastor at a yoked parish in northwest Missouri at the Craig and Fairfax Presbyterian Churches.
A native of Kansas, Pastor Blake graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas, with a BA in Psychology and Social Work. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where he received the Jean Brown scholarship and the David Stitt fellowship. During his intern year, Pastor Blake also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education as a hospital Chaplain. His Doctor of Ministry degree came from San Francisco Theological Seminary and his dissertation (entitled Recent Views of the Revelatory Character of the Bible and their Implications for its Interpretation) was awarded for its excellence.
On several occasions, Pastor Blake has served the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the General Assembly level. He was part of the task force that produced the study guide In Life and in Death We Belong to God; Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and End-of-life Issues in 1995. He also served as a mentor to young pastors in the denomination’s Excellence From the Start program in the early 2000s. As a video producer, Pastor Blake produced the Company of New Pastors, The Trinity, and the John Calvin His Life & Legacy videos for the PC(USA).
A popular teacher at Synod School, Pastor Blake has taught at the Synod of Lincoln Trails and the Synod of Lakes and Prairies Synod Schools. For the last several years he has co-taught a class on the Food and Feasts of Jesus with his wife, Susan.
Pastor Blake and his wife have two sons, who are both married and live out of state, making it harder but not impossible to spoil his three young grandchildren. In addition to occasional work in the video field, he enjoys playing trumpet in area ensembles and reading mysteries. He also roots for his hometown Kansas City Royals, and Kansas City Chiefs.
Diane DeMers and her husband, Dave Ballantine, joined Westminster Presbyterian Church in 2013. She has been working as a part-time secretary for the church office since 2016. Diane especially enjoys the friendship and warmth of the Westminster church community and the many opportunities to serve the local community as Christ’s hands and feet.
Rylee Vaughn began working as a secretary at Westminster in 2014. She has since been married in the church and brought two beautiful boys into the world, who are the lights of her life. While Rylee truly enjoys her administrative work and the close relationships she has developed, her favorite part of the job is witnessing the love of Jesus Christ being spread throughout the surrounding community.
Director of Joy Ringers
Jaron Johnson has studied Vocal Performance at Northern Illinois University. Born in California, he grew up in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois and has been granted many wonderful opportunities to pursue and share music with the community of Westminster in his short time there.
Sunday School Coordinator
I’m Kat Schnorr and I am currently serving as the Sunday School coordinator here at Westminster. I am also a teacher and live in DeKalb with my husband and two daughters. I grew up attending Westminster and served as the nursery attendant for several years prior to taking on this new role. I love to spend time with my family, going on new adventures, and trying new restaurants.
Youth Club Coordinator
Tracy Paszotta grew up in DeKalb, attending Westminster, and went through the LOGOS Youth Club program herself. She previously coordinated the program for ten years when her children were involved, and has been back coordinating it with a faithful team of adults since 2018. Tracy believes strongly in the importance of this Wednesday evening program for youth – helping them to come to know Jesus, fostering relationships with one another and the adults of the church, and learning to worship and put into practice all that Jesus taught.
Director of Chancel Choir
Robert Davis has been the Chancel Choir Director at Westminster since 2004. He holds a BME and an MA in painting from Morehead State University and an MFA in printmaking from Northern Illinois University. He is also a tenor in the DeKalb Festival Chorus and has been an instructor at Kishwaukee College and Judson University.
While curating the choral repertoire and conducting rehearsals and performances of the Chancel Choir, Robert also coordinates the annual Good Friday requiem. Requiems performed include Faure, Rutter, Berg, and selections of Verdi.