Staff | Elders | Diaconate

Staff

PASTORAL

Peter Wang

Rev. Peter Wang

Senior Pastor, Teaching Elder

A native of New Jersey, Peter came to GRC in 2004 after ministering in Delaware and—prior to seminary—working in the financial sector. He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Peter and his wife, Cedar, have three children. Peter serves as Moderator of Session.

Steve Sage

Rev. Steve Sage

Pastor of Discipleship, Teaching Elder

A native of Kansas, Steve worked in business for a decade before entering pastoral ministry in 2002, serving churches in Colorado and Michigan. He holds a B.S. in History from Kansas State University, M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, and D.Miss. from Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Intercultural Studies, where he now also serves as part-time Adjunct Faculty in the Doctor of Missiology department. Steve and his wife, Carissa, have three children.

CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

Karen Jacobsen

Karen Jacobsen

Director of Children’s Ministries

Karen came to GRC after working with children in Rwanda on behalf of Food for the Hungry. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Cedarville University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from New York University.

Youth Ministry

Drew Heftye

Director of Family Discipleship

Born and raised in southern California, Drew joined the GRC team in 2022. He has been serving in youth ministry leadership since 2013. He received an M.A. in Christian Leadership from Multnomah Biblical Seminary and is currently working towards a DMin in Youth, Family, and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary. Drew and his wife, Alexandra, have one son and you often find them on some creative, fun adventure.

Rachel Sang

Rachel Sang

Youth Coordinator

Rachel has attended GRC since 2001 when she moved to NJ from Virginia.  She enjoys spreadsheets, all things spicy, and sharing life and the love of Christ with others.  She and her husband have two children.

OPERATIONS

Laura Tretner

Laura Tretner

Director of Ministry Operations

Laura’s 30-year career at NYU included managing HR, finances, and facilities. She has been a member of GRC since 2006 and currently also serves as a Celebrate Recovery leader with her husband, Werner. Laura holds a B.A. in International Relations and French from Tufts University and an M.A. in Food and Hotel Management from New York University. 

Whitney Cordes

Director of Communications

Whitney has been a member of GRC since 2014. Born and raised in Tennessee, she spent the past decade working as a corporate graphic designer before becoming the Communications Director. She and her husband, Cliff, have one son.

Teresa Vargas

Teresa Vargas

Office Manager

Teresa has been the Office Manager of GRC since 2006. Previously, she worked in positions related to sales, management, and administration. She and her husband, Victor, are parents to four children.

Lanvi OMalley

Lanvi O’Malley

Administrative Assistant

Lanvi O’Malley has been a member of GRC since 2010. She is an avid runner, a music buff, and a fan of all things BBC.

Jessica Kern

Jessica Kern

Pastoral Assistant

Jessica began working at GRC in 2015 as a child care teacher for the women’s Bible study group. She continues that work in addition to her role as a pastoral assistant. She and her husband have two children.

Worship Ministry

Erika Bourque

Director of Worship Ministry

Erika and her family have been members of GRC since 2013.

FINANCE

Jessica Hwang

Business Manager

Jessica and her family have been members of GRC since 2018.

CELEBRATE RECOVERY

Werner Tretner

Werner Tretner

Celebrate Recovery Director

Werner has been a member of GRC since 2006. A recent graduate with a Masters in Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary, he has been active as a deacon since 2008; has led GRC’s Celebrate Recovery ministry for the past five years; and is currently serving as Celebrate Recovery State Representative for New Jersey. He and his wife, Laura, have two adult children.

FACILITIES

Ken Giles

Facility & Sunday Operations Manager

Ken is a native of Dallas, Texas, and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Finance, International Business and Supply Chain Management from the University of Texas at Dallas. He worked in operations and supply chain management from 2002 to 2019 before transitioning into facilities management for his church in Norman, Oklahoma, where he was also a ministry leader. Ken is currently self-employed as an individual retail stock trader. He and his wife, Teresa, live in Wayne with their son, Simon.

Elders

Grace Redeemer Church is a Presbyterian church whose spiritual leadership rests with the Session—a body comprised of Teaching Elders (i.e. pastors and associate pastors) and Ruling Elders. The Elders are called to shepherd the flock; to teach the Scriptures to the congregation; to guard the church from false teaching; and to demonstrate Christ-like character.

Lee Augsburger

John Chung

John Chung

John Gregory headshot

John Gregory

Mohab Hanna

Steve Hoogerhyde

Headshot of Peter Hwang

Peter Hwang

Donald Thampy headshot

Donald Thampy

Meet the Diaconate

The Diaconate is a ministry of mercy reaching out to people who are needing help amid life’s struggles, both within Grace Redeemer Church and in the surrounding community. The goal is to show others how God’s provision always imparts opportunities for change. 

Deacons and deaconesses serve sacrificially and humbly, embracing the faith and modeling Christ as servant-leader. Here are a few ways they function:

  • Organize financial assistance for basic living expenses (rent, food, medical bills, etc.).*
  • Provide subsidies for counseling services.
  • Offer prayer, spiritual guidance, and accountability.
  • Schedule meal deliveries for congregants with special circumstances.
  • Assist with Biblical stewardship and budgeting guidance.
  • Connect people with county and statewide support services.
  • Assist GRC staff in caring for the church building, and running Sunday service operations.
  • Interact with select outside ministries and coordinate support for them. 

* Because funding is limited, we direct financial support to the neediest. The Diaconate serves those in crisis and is funded entirely by GRC congregant donations. Therefore, they are accountable to the congregation to be wise stewards of the resources God has given through His people. 

John Cordova

Shelley Hahn

Gloria Huang

Gabe Naranjo

Werner Tretner

Jeffrey Wan

To reach the Diaconate, please contact us.>>

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