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Our Staff

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Gail Davidson

Lead Pastor

Our pastor, Gail, has an undergraduate degree in Music, Education, and English from the University of Central Florida and an M.Div. from Vanderbilt Divinity School.  She is also Board Certified as a Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and has served congregations in Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Gail loves books and kids and lives with her Preacher’s Kitty, Andy.

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Jill Forton

Associate Minister

Previously Senior Pastor, Jill is now our Associate Pastor until her retirement in June of 2024.  She holds a B.S. from Michigan State University and an M.Div. from Calvin Theological Seminary. A lifelong Disciple of Christ, Jill has a passion for finding unity in the church, celebrating our shared ministry, and seeing people grow in Christ through worship, Christian Education, fellowship events, and church camping at Crystal Conference Center. Jill and her husband Mike’s son Max, an archaeologist with the National Forest Service, and his wife Lizzy live in Tucson. Mike and Jill enjoy backpacking in the canyonlands of Utah, exploring and hiking in northern Michigan, collecting Native American art, cheering on their beloved Spartans, and walking with their dog, Jem.

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Michael Dirksen

Young Adult & High School Leader

Michael, High School Youth Leader, grew up going to Cascade Christian Church his whole life and joined the staff in 2020 when he moved back to Grand Rapids. After high school he attended Hope College, American University and the University of Illinois for graduate school (where he is finishing up his Ph.D. in Political Science). His parents Steve and Audrey Dirksen both attend Cascade, and his siblings Connor and Erika both attended here when they were growing up. Michael has worked at Hope College, Trinity Christian College, Elmhurst University, and most recently Calvin University. In what little free time he has, he enjoys fly fishing and hiking.

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Adam Carlson

Middle School Leader

Adam is our Middle School Christian Education Director and Social Media Manager. He helps Michael Dirksen run Sunday School, Youth Group, & other events for Middle/High School students and manages our Facebook, Instagram, & YouTube accounts. Adam is a candidate for ordination in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), under care at Cascade Christian and enrolled in the M.Div. program at Christian Theological Seminary. He lives in Byron Center with his wife, Andrea, where they play games (board games & video games) and cook together.

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Mark Langenbach

Business Manager

Our Business Manager, Mark, earned a Master of Business Administration degree (Cornerstone Univ., 2009) and a Master of Divinity degree (Calvin Seminary, 2013). He worked full-time in administrative roles in manufacturing companies for many years and also served as an ordained minister in Lakeview, South Dakota, for six years. Mark and his wife Dawn have two children, Michaela and Evan.

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Maria Christianson

Child Development Center Director

Our Child Care Center Director, Maria, a dedicated professional who holds a studied early childhood development and early childhood education at Central Michigan University. Go Chips! With a passion for nurturing young minds, Maria brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team. As a loving parent of two, Alex and Olivia, family is at the heart of Maria's life. Outside the childcare center, Maria enjoys the great outdoors, often accompanied by their faithful companion, Stella the dog!

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Mel Behm Jr.

Maintenance

Mel is our Facilities Manager and has a tenure of some forty years in the position.  He grew up helping his dad serve in a similar position and remains dedicated to the work of the church. You can find Mel doing ministry with the Good Ol’ Boys during the morning coffee hour.

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Liisa Erskine

Worship Leader/Office Administrator

Liisa joined the staff as worship leader in spring of 2022. She is a graduate from Anderson University with a degree in Christian Ministry and Church Music and has a passion for helping people connect to God through music and the arts. She is married to Jeremy and they have one daughter, Emerson. Together, they love cheering on the Detroit Tigers, kayaking, watching Netflix, and hanging out with their dogs, Winnie and Lucy.

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Kathy Hurd

Office Assistant

Kathy joined the staff in February of 2023 to help out with office duties and cover the phones. She as an undergraduate degree from Davenport University in Business Administration and a Master’s in Business Management from Aquinas. She attended and worked for as office administrator at Central Christian Church several years before they closed in 2022. Both Ron and Kathy worked in many capacities at Central and bring the things they learned there to Cascade Christian. Kathy has joined Soul Warmers, a knitting group, to make blankets that are donated to women’s shelters around the area. She also sings in the choir and helps with various activities around the church.

Our Church Board:

Dana Froumis

Adam Homan

John Duchon

Terri Wing

Diane Phelps & Debbie Jones

Ethan Andserson

Chris Noordyke

Mark Hammonds

Lori Powers

Kim Armour

Adam Homan

Dan VanVeghel

Gail Duchon

Steve Dirksen

Aubrey Partak

Ron Hurd

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