Pastoral Staff


Drew Himes Drew Himes, Pastor
Greetings and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
I am originally from a one-stop light town in the Rust Belt of Northeast Ohio and, over my life, have lived in Vermont, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh. Prior to being called to Church of the Cross, I pastored a yoked parish in Indiana and Armstrong Counties.

I consider myself avid nerd. I’m always questing to understand and to ask and seek and to (hopefully) find the answer to about a million questions swirling through my head at any given moment. I was able to harness my love of knowledge and take the Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from Westminster College (New Wilmington, PA); the Master of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the Master of Social Work (with Graduate Certificate in Mental Health) from the University of Pittsburgh. I continued my education beyond the classroom in many arenas, but especially from the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programming and the Critical Incident Stress Foundation.

Prior to being ordained a Minister of the Word and Sacrament, I served as an adult outpatient therapist, working in a large combined mental health/addictions practice in Pittsburgh. I am also currently licensed to practice social work here in Pennsylvania.

Besides being a Pastor and therapist, I am also a firefighter and emergency medical technician. I have taught classes on addiction and mental illness to groups of police, fire, and EMS personnel, as well as clergy and church leaders.

Besides all that boring stuff, I am a lover of all things nerdy. I love reading, listening to jazz, going to plays, visiting museums, and learning about everything (except math…blech!) I enjoy a good movie, a great conversation, and time spent with family and friends. Laughter, good barbeque, and great ice cream hold a special place in my heart.

My beautiful wife, Brady, and I live here in the Erie area and we can be found bickering at each other like an old married couple or yelling at the TV while watching a competitive cooking show on the Food Network.

Jim Black James Black, Worship and Music Minister
Who am I? I’m the kind of guy who gets excited about: an answered prayer; a song that speaks to my heart; eating breakfast or dinner in the back yard; reading the right verse at the right time; a hug from a friend; hearing someone sing with enthusiasm and purpose; playing ball with my boys; walking with Peg; being licked by Cocoa (husky); a family vacation in Maine with lots of laughs, lighthouses and lobster!
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Peggy Thomson staff 2015 Peggy Thomson, Administrative Assistant
I am a charter member of Church of the Cross and was the church secretary from its beginning until June of 1995. After spending some quality time with my grandchildren, I returned to COTC as the Admin. Ass’t. in 2003. My husband, Richard, and I have two grown daughters, Cherish and Heather, and and four grandchildren, Mackenzie, Zion, Liam, and Alex–all of whom are the joys of my life. Because we have no other family in Erie, we feel blessed to be part of the wonderful church family here at COTC and count them as kin. I enjoy good Christian instrumental music, my 2 cats, working on home renovation projects, travel, and sewing.
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Karen Vandervort staff 2015 Karen Vandervort, Secretary
I am an Erie native. I have been the secretary at Church of the Cross since May, 1995. My husband, Bill, and I have a son, Matt who lives in California. I enjoy movies, crafts, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. Our dogs Benji and Winston complete our happy family.
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