Pastors & Staff

Joel Esala

Senior Pastor

Reverend Joel Esala graduated from The Ohio State University in 2001, where afterwards he served as a college minister for 3 years. He earned a Master of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in 2007 and a Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2008. He served as the Director of Youth and Family Ministries at Trinity Episcopal Church in Solebury, Pennsylvania from 2008-2009 and as an associate pastor at Heritage Christian Church from 2009-2013. Joel became the Executive Director of Family and Children's Ministries at Central College Presbyterian Church in Westerville in 2013 and was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in May 2016. In November 2017, Joel accepted a call as the pastor of the Circleville Presbyterian Church. After three fruitful years in Circleville, Joel accepted a call as the Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church. He and his wife, Sarah, have been married for over 20 years, and they have a  teenage son. Joel enjoys good books, yoga, St. Louis Cardinal Baseball, The Buckeyes and a hot sauna. 

Janice & Don Hilkerbaumer

Parish Associates for Pastoral Care & Visitation

Don and Janice joined the staff of Covenant Presbyterian Church in June, 2022 as Parish Associates for pastoral care and visitation. Janice and Don met at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary where they were married and answered their calls into ministry. For over fifty years they have served churches in Illinois, Iowa and Ohio. They are blessed by their two children, Jason who is the lay pastor of two churches in Missouri, and Beth, a Presbyterian pastor serving a church in Portsmouth, Virginia. They also treasure the time they spend with their two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Don loves to cook, tend his “crop” of vegetables, and play golf. Janice enjoys sewing, gardening and reading. They are grateful to be a part of this church family.

Erin Wise

Director of Children & Youth Ministries

Erin has been an active member of Covenant since her family moved to Columbus when she was 1.  She volunteered with the Children's Ministry program for 10 years before officially joining the staff in 2014. She received a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Miami University and her Master of Arts degree in Teaching & Learning in 2001. Erin loves getting to teach and learn with our youngest members from birth through 12th grade. (And she loves grownups too!) She currently teaches Spanish & movement monthly to preschool students in Dublin and Jazzercise at the Dublin Jazzercise Fitness Center. In her free time, she enjoys reading, walking her dog Max, and spending time with her husband, Michael, and their three children, Natalie, Adrienne, and Owen. 

Cherie Brooks

Director of Music and Technology

Cherie is the Director of Music & Technology atCovenant. She is happy to call Covenant her first fully accepting LGBTQIA+ church home. Cherie is also the Choral Director and Performing Arts Department Chair at Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, OH. She has been a music teacher since 1994, teaching as an Elementary Music Specialist (Keystone Central School District, PA), a middle school vocal director (Zanesville City Schools and Delaware Schools), and a high school vocal director (Olentangy Local Schools). Cherie grew up as the daughter of Rev. H. Raymond and Ethel Brooks, singing and playing the piano in church. She is a proficient vocalist, pianist and director, and loves working with the wonderful musicians at Covenant. Cherie and her wife, Loni, have been married since 2013, and have daughters Sydney and Bri. Cherie enjoys bike riding, gardening, painting glass bottles and spoiling the family pets. Cherie began her work with us in October of 2013. 

Katie Wynkoop

Assistant Director of Music & Organist/Pianist 

Katie Wynkoop has been at Covenant since July of 2011. At Covenant, she is the organist and choir accompanist. Katie received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education Degree from Capital University in 2013. In 2016, she received her Master’s in Music Education and Kodály Certification from Capital University. Katie is the K-5 elementary music teacher at Westfall Elementary School in Williamsport, Ohio. She also directs a 4th and 5th grade choir and is a Student Council advisor. Katie also serves on the board for Tri-City Kodály Educators, the local Kodály chapter, as well as the Organization of American Kodály Educators, the national group. During the summer, she teaches at Capital University for the Kodály Institute at Capital teaching in the Level III Elementary Track. In her spare time, Katie likes to read, play board and card games, shop, watch TV, spend time with her family, and with her dog and cats, Izzy, Liza, and Lucy.

Brian Biller

Media Specialist 

Brian Biller completed his B.A. with a degree in Music Education at Heidelberg University in the spring of 2011 and immediately began working for reputable companies in the production industry managing equipment maintenance, logistics, show flows, crews, and audio engineering. He had taught Instrumental Music and Audio Engineering/Production as Village Academy's Instrumental Music Director for 5 years and was a founder/owner of Platinum TDM from its inception in 2015 until leaving to pursue his own path in Oct. of 2020. In his own time, Brian loves going to concerts, both to enjoy and to run audio! He also enjoys Ballroom dancing and swimming in his free time. Brian joined Covenant in the summer of 2021.   

Caroline McGeoch

Director of Covenant Children's Center

Caroline received a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, obtained her early childhood teaching license through Ohio Dominican University, and completed her MA in Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. Caroline became interested in how children learn when she and her husband Peter were raising their 3 sons. She has worked as a teacher for over 18 years, and has been the Preschool Director and an after school program site supervisor since 2011. She loves the opportunity to serve children and families in the welcoming environment provided by the Covenant community. Caroline began her work with the Children's Center in April of 2012.

Jennifer Stephens

Office Manager

Jennifer Stephens has lived in the Columbus, Ohio area almost her whole life, except when she graduated from Bible College at World Changers Bible Institute (valedictorian) in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1995.  She has served on the staff, elder boards, and managed offices at various local churches in Central Ohio.  
Missions, street ministry, communications, graphic design, and keeping things organized are all passions of hers.  Her four children aged fourteen to twenty three keep her on her toes.  She resides with two of the youngest children in Westerville.  
When she isn't parenting them, she loves to read, hike, boat, and be by the water.  She joined staff here in August 2023.

Tanvi Bhomik

Financial Administrator

Tanvi graduated from Rutgers University in 1999 with a BS in Business Management and a minor in Spanish. She received her Certificate of Accounting Concentration from Columbus State Community College in 2012 and has been working in the Accounting/Finance field for the past 7 years for various non-profit organizations. She lives in Columbus Ohio with her husband and daughter. Some of her hobbies include practicing yoga, spiritual meditation, cooking, and going on nature walks with her family. 

Nancy Davidson

Bell Choir Director

Nancy Davidson has been a member of Covenant since 1975 and director of the Campanile Handbell Choir for the past 10 years.  She has directed the Adult Handbell Ensemble for more than 20 years and enjoys ringing as much as directing.  She likes attending National Handbell Seminars and District Handbell Festivals as there is always something new to learn. A graduate of Westminster Choir College, Nancy received a Bachelor of Music degree with a major in Organ and a minor in Voice.  She retired from Chemical Abstracts Service after 31 years where she enjoyed her work as a UNIX System Administrator. Nancy is married to Robert who taught general music and choir and coached girl's and boy's track and cross country in Upper Arlington for 28 years.  They have one daughter Nicole who is married to David Spry and they have three children, Christopher, Nina, and Isabel.

Brian Ball

Weekend Custodian

Brian first came to Covenant Presbyterian by way of a friend's invitation. He found the people friendly and joined our church. Brian likes to spend his free time fishing, hiking and backpacking anywhere. He works for a local landscaping company where he enjoys all of his work. Brian has been our Sunday Custodian since June of 2006. 

Joanne Pratt

Wedding Coordinator

Joanne is a member of Covenant and lives with her husband, Lind, in Hilliard. Her older daughter, Amy, works as a Public Defender for Missouri. Her younger daughter, Katie, is a junior at West Virginia University studying Dietetics and Nutrition. Joanne has been Event Planning for over twenty years. She enjoys baking, sewing, reading and hiking.