Keith Koch: Pastor Keith grew up in East St. Louis in a strong Southern Baptist tradition and did his undergraduate work at Baylor. He did his graduate work at Princeton and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1980. He served as pastor at a yoked upstate New York pair of congregations (3 years), in Philadelphia (9 years) and in Wichita (10 years.) He then felt called to interim work and has been at churches in Hutchinson, Gardner, Wamego and Overland Park. Currently, Keith is retired, but he is willing to come out of retirement to help us make this transition from designated pastor to interim pastor because he says, he knows us and likes us and feels his particular training and skills are a good fit for this time of transition.
Keith lives in Olathe with his wife, Karen. He has two married children and two grandchildren. He will be in a part time position here at Westminster – in Topeka on Sunday and then during the first half of the week. But as he points out, Olathe is an hour away and if he is needed for pastoral care he is committed to coming promptly.
Jim Owens: Parish Associate Born in Clearwater, Florida and raised in Tarpon Springs, Jim earned a B.A. in Religion, German, and Speech at Florida Southern College in Lakeland and an Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ in 1970. Ordained 1974, Jim served The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury before completing a Doctorate of Ministry Studies at McCormick Seminary in 1987 thereafter he moved to Topeka. Westminster is delighted that Jim is now our Parish Associate.
Paul Evans: Parish Assistant Born in Newport, KY, Paul grew up in Stratford, Conn., graduated Cum Laude from Maryville (Presbyterian) College in 1962, and earned an M.Div. in 1965 and a TH.M. in 1969 from Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ. Ordained in 1965, he served in Presbyterian Churches in St. Paul, MN, Minnetonka, MN, Tribes Hill, NY, Rapid City, SD, and in Topeka he was pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church from 1987 to 2007. Paul is an accomplished vocalist, and he is the keyboardist for Temple Beth Sholom.
Rob Hobgood: Choir Director
Originally from Raleigh, NC, Rob Hobgood received a Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music and
Organ Performance from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA, followed by a Master of Music degree in Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College of Rider University. At Wesminster, Rob studied organ and conducting and performed with the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of Maestro Michael Tilson Thomas at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, as well as with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the direction of Sir Roger Norrington at Carnegie Hall in New York. Rob is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Church Music degree with concentrations in organ performance and choral conducting at the University of Kansas where he studies with Michael Bauer.
Prior to moving to Kansas in August 2017, Rob served as Music Director and Organist at Covenant
Presbyterian Church, Cherry Hill, NJ for seven years, where he oversaw adult, children’s, handbell, and
contemporary music ensembles. Rob conducted the Covenant Community Chorus which sang for annual
Reformation Day services, Holy Week services, and a 9/11 Memorial Service featuring Howard Goodall’s
Eternal Light: A Requiem. Rob also served as Assistant Music Director at Tenth Presbyterian Church,
While in NJ, Rob held several positions in the SouthWest Jersey Chapter of the American Guild of
Organists including Sub-Dean and Dean. He also led the committee involved with planning an upcoming
regional convention. Rob has also worked with Doyon Virtual Organs, a virtual pipe organ installer based in Dover, DE with contracts across the country. In 2014, Rob had the opportunity to travel to Oxford, England for a ten day conducting masterclass where he studied with James Whitbourn and James Jordan, and attended workshops with Edward Higginbottom, Stephen Darlington and Daniel Hyde.
Becca Nyman: Youth Coordinator Becca is our Youth Coordinator here at Westminster. She helps with all youth activities here. Becca was born and raised in the Kansas City Metro. She currently is a sophomore at Washburn University and is looking at obtaining a degree in Public Admin with a certificate in nonprofit management and a minor in leadership studies. After college Becca wants to work for a non-profit organization that emphasizes in work with underprivileged youth.
Roger Elser: Communications Specialist
Brian Vawter: Custodian
Brian was born and raised in Topeka. He is a graduate of Topeka High School. He works full-time at Logan Junior High School. He also works part-time at Second Presbyterian Church and at Westminster. He is married to Nancy and has two children, Heather and Clayton..
The Church Session
Becky Sullivan (2020) (Clerk of Session)
Steve Bergstrom (2020)
Jean Ann Emig (2020)
Connie Wood (2021)
Josh Svaty (2021)
Sharon Read (2021)
Roy Sullivan (2021)
The Board of Deacons
Lynn Boddington- Chair
Carolyn Wadley (2021)
Martha Gabehart (2022)
Caryl Hines (2022)
Janice Kivett (2022)