Covenant Presbyterian Staff

Rev. Joel A. 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 18 years, and they have a 11-year-old son. Joel enjoys good books, yoga, St. Louis Cardinal Baseball, The Buckeyes and a hot sauna.

Erin Wise, Director of Children’s & 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 with podcasts, and spending time with her husband, Michael, and their three children, Natalie, Adrienne, and Owen.

Cherie Brooks, Director of Music 

Cherie is our Director of Music at Covenant, and is happy to call Covenant her first accepting, LGBTQIA+ church home. Cherie is also the Vocal Director and Performing Arts Department Chair at Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, OH. She is in her 28th year of music education, 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 has most recently served as the Traditional Music Director/Cappella Choir Director/Pianist at the Indian Run United Methodist Church in Dublin, OH. 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 8 years, and have a 16 year old daughter, Sydney. Cherie enjoys bike riding, gardening, 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, choir accompanist, and children’s choir director. 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 a Student Council advisor. Katie also serves on the board for Tri-City Kodály Educators, the local Kodály chapter. 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 3 fur babies, Izzy, Liza, and Lucy.

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.

Laurie Johnson, Office Manager 

Laurie received her BS degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Indiana State University, Terra Haute, Indiana. Through her passion for helping people, she started her career at The Ohio State University Medical Center where she worked for 15 years. Continuing her journey to contribute her time, talents and treasure to the church, Laurie worked for the Diocese of Columbus coordinating a variety of Columbus charitable ministries. Laurie spends her free time with family and enjoys gardening and traveling. Laurie began her work with us in June of 2020.

Ingrid Smith, Financial Administrator 

Ingrid joined Covenant's staff in 1997. She received a B.A. in International Studies from The Ohio State University. Her background includes extensive work in the financial sector providing services to nonprofit organizations. Transitioning to Covenant was a perfect fit because helping others is something she finds very rewarding. In her free time, she enjoys tennis, shopping, walks, and spending time with her husband, Jamie and her extended family. Ingrid began her work at Covenant in September of 1997.

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.  

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.

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, 16; Nina, 12; and Isabel, 6.

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.