Meet the Elders

Rick Cummins

Rick Cummins grew up in a small community in western Nebraska and was blessed to be part of a strong Christian family. At a very young age his parents instilled in both him and his sister the importance of walking with God. In 1995 he started attending Cherry Hills and quickly connected with Dick and Marica Schultz. Rick had the great opportunity to serve on the worship team with them for close to 20 years. During his time at Cherry Hills, he has also been a small group leader and has led several Discover the World trips to Eastern Europe. After a 22-year career as a VP in the corporate world, Rick recently left that role and has begun to pursue a small business venture of his own. Cherry Hills has been Rick's home for 25 years and he is excited about the future of the ministry. “I am reminded often that we are (I am) broken people in desperate need of a Savior. God is good and he is relentlessly pursuing us. He has great plans for His church. I am so excited to see Him raise up a new leadership team and begin to lay out the next steps for the future of Cherry Hills.”

Gavin Drake

Gavin and his wife Rhianydd have been attending Cherry Hills Community Church since 2010, when a combination of work and God’s calling on their lives brought them and their two young children (Caleb and Holly) 5,000 miles from the U.K. to Colorado. “That first Sunday we walked in the building we knew we had found our spiritual home." Within the first month of being in Colorado they both attended the membership class and were welcomed as members. His young children have grown into flourishing teenagers with Caleb a freshman at UNC and Holly a freshman at Mountain Vista High School. During the past decade at Cherry Hills, Gavin has served on the Alpha leadership team, led small groups, been a part of the choir leadership and chapel vocal team. He is blessed to have spiritual gifts in administration, wisdom, discernment, leadership and apostleship. In a work context, Gavin is currently the Chief Marketing Officer for a California-based software company and has spent the past 25 years in a variety of marketing leadership roles. Gavin’s prayer is that this next chapter of Cherry Hills will bring even greater Kingdom fruit, the unity to which Jesus calls us all in John 17, and that this local church would be a light to all in Highlands Ranch and beyond.

Jim Gordon

Jim and his wife Linda have been members of Cherry Hills for over 35 years. Linda and Jim have been happily married for 44 years. They have two grown children, Michele and Chris, both married and living in CA. They have been blessed with 7 wonderful grandchildren; their eighth is due at the end of December. Jim is a retired attorney, having practiced law for 43 years. At Cherry Hills, Jim has been an usher for many years. Linda serves weekly at Manna. Together, they’ve helped with numerous Thanksgiving and Christmas outreaches. Prior to Covid-19, they also served monthly meals at His Love Fellowship, an inner-city church providing for the needs of the homeless and less fortunate. With a group of men called Tender Warriors, Jim has also enjoyed cleaning yards and making home repairs for numerous widows and elderly church members. Attending Tuesday morning Bible studies with some of those men has deepened Jim’s faith even more. Over the past 20 years, Linda and Jim have been blessed to be a part of 3 different Small Groups, both of which have grown their faith immensely. “I’m still learning to trust the Lord in all things, rather than myself or others. While greatly saddened by recent developments at Cherry Hills, I’m also deeply committed to healing and unifying His church. We have a rich, wonderful history, rooted in the Scriptures, constant prayer, serving others and sharing the Good News. I truly look forward to helping however I can to restore our beloved church.”

Luke Jessen

Luke and his wife, Danyel, have been married for 22 years. They have three birth sons (Dylan 18, Connor 16, Lincoln 14) and one daughter (NiNi, 11) who joined their family through adoption. They are a very active family, enjoying traveling, surfing, skiing, and hiking. Luke’s family has continuously attended Cherry Hills since 2004 and have been active members for the last 14 years. During that period, they have grown to love Cherry Hills, its congregants, and its mission. Their entire family’s spiritual walk with Jesus has grown through serving in and being involved in numerous Cherry Hills ministries such as Bible Blast/Biz, AWANA, Sunday school (Young Families), Bible in One Year, MOPS, Small Groups (leader for 12 years), Love in Action, short-term missions (Juarez) and the Friends of Adoptive and Foster Families section community. Luke’s spiritual giftedness is evangelism, and he has a passion for apologetics and sharing the Gospel. Professionally, Luke has worked in healthcare sales (Pharmaceutical/Diagnostics) for the last 20 years, both as a successful entrepreneur and for large corporations. “I believe in Cherry Hills Christ-centered mission to my core and am excited to see how God continues to use Cherry Hills as a light for the lost.”

Gary Klatt

Gary Klatt has been married to his wife Rita for 49 years. They have four children and ten grandchildren. Gary accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior as a twelve-year-old and was baptized in a small church in Wichita, Kansas. His father passed away when he was fourteen and as the oldest of three brothers, Gary was forced to assume a leadership role along with his mother in their family. As a college student, Gary rededicated his life to Jesus Christ. Gary is a 1968 graduate of the University of Colorado with a bachelor's degree in business (personnel management). On the day he graduated, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps and he served as a fire direction officer in Vietnam. Later, Gary obtained his master’s degree in educational administration and spent thirty years as a teacher, coach, and administrator in the Jefferson County School System at Pomona High School. Upon his return from Vietnam, Gary met his wife, and they began their spiritual journey together. Over his thirteen years at Cherry Hills, he has had great respect for the spiritual depth and wisdom of the members of previous sessions at Cherry Hills. Gary believes, “To even be mentioned in that same category is indeed humbling to say the least.” Both Rita and Gary serve as door hosts in the guest services department. They serve with the Section L ministry team and Gary teaches the men’s bible study each Saturday morning. Additionally, Gary has served with the Juarez mission’s teams and the jail ministry team. “The future for Cherry Hills is very bright and I will do my very best, with God’s help, to be a faithful servant for our Lord Jesus.”

Bill Nicas

Bill Nicas, age 59, joined Cherry Hills in 1988. During that year, he met his wife (Leigh Ann) and had a profound encounter with the Lord, His grace and the Holy Spirit at a Cherry Hills single’s retreat. In 1999, Bill had a significant brain tumor, and in the process Jesus “awakened” Bill to the reality of the heavenly realm, the brevity of this earthly life and gave Bill a call to “make the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:16) for the Lord until the day he is finally with Christ. In 2007, Bill made the most of an opportunity in oil & gas that brought the Nicases (including their children Will and Haley) back to Denver. They centered their life around Cherry Hills, Cherry Hills Christian School and Valor. Bill has served as a Section Leader, Small Group Leader, Choir Member, in Treehouse and through Love in Action, Manna and Missions. He participated in 24/7 prayer and has supported the church and other ministries. Bill has a passion for Jesus, His Great Commission and the Bride of Christ. He serves on the Board of the Global Alliance for Church Multiplication, which is bringing together churches and ministries in unity to fulfill the Great Commission in our lifetime. Bill hungers for holiness and longs for Cherry Hills to be a church where we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbor as our self. He hopes that the ashes of division will be replaced by the beauty of the Spirit’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, godliness and self-control.

Terry Steinert

Terry Steinert has been a member of God’s family since age 5, so almost his entire life has been lived out in the context of being a member of His family. This has been his foundation from which to build his own family and a business from the ground up over many years. The Steinert family came to Cherry Hills in 1990 and recognized something special that God was doing there. It is at Cherry Hills that Terry’s family was raised, and their faith became real and active as they engaged in missions, music, Sunday school, youth ministry, community life / small groups, and Terry as an elder in the 2000’s. The glue of their family has certainly been serving together in places like India, Indonesia, Juarez, and inner-city Denver. When reflecting on the future Terry states, “God is always about doing new things and I am excited about applying the experience of life in relationships, business, and ministry to follow His lead in advancing the Kingdom in and through Cherry Hills.”

Karen Tarbell

Karen Tarbell and her family have attended Cherry Hill since the mid 1980s. Karen has been happily married to Jim Tarbell for 41 years. They have one son TJ Tarbell and two beautiful grandchildren, James (9) and Kendall (8). Cherry Hills is a big part of their family. During their time with the church, Karen has participated in a number of Women’s Bible Studies and served as a co-facilitator of the Tuesday Night Women’s Bible Study. Jim and Karen were involved in Section Communities where she served as the Operations Coordinator for their Section Community, Marketplace Professionals. During the past twenty years Karen has been part of the Guest Service team serving faithfully at the 9a service. Karen is currently an elementary school principal in Littleton Public School and also spent fifteen years with Douglas County School as a middle school principal. Karen believes her love for Jesus Christ motivates her to seek this position as well as her desire to see Cherry Hills heal from the recent changes and challenges. Karen believes her work experience as a school leader will support the leadership and organization skills needed to rebuild our church.

Andy Todd

Andy Todd grew up in Indiana and married his high school sweetheart, Sara. They have been married 41 years and have 2 children, Andy & Jackie, and 3 grandchildren, Arabel, Axel and Cypress. Andy and Sara moved to Colorado 25 years ago from Chicago and began attending Cherry Hills at that time. Jackie and her family also attend Cherry Hills. Sara and Andy enjoy spending time with their family and get a real kick out of their grandchildren. Andy enjoys cycling, golf, skiing, water sports and traveling with Sara. Andy has been the CEO of Xanterra Travel Collection, an international hospitality/national park/adventure travel/cruise company for the past 26 years. He has also served at Cherry Hills leading small groups, including Alpha. Andy loves Jesus Christ and Cherry Hills and believes our church is at a crucial crossroad and wants to help restore unity and peace in the church. Andy also wants to help guide and shape the future direction of our church for generations to come. Andy believes our church should be a loving community of believers with the purpose of sharing the Gospel, developing fully devoted followers of Christ and worshipping our King, all for the purpose of bringing glory and honor to God.

Jamie Whyte

Jamie Whyte is 62 years old and has been married to his wife Rhonda for 35 years. They have three children: Whitney Whyte Visser (former CHCS teacher) married to Tim; Luke and Rachel Whyte - along with four grandchildren; and Jack Whyte. Professionally, Jamie is the Chief Human Resources Officer for an oil and gas company. He has a BBA from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from University of Denver. Jamie was raised in a church home (Presbyterian) and came to faith as a young teen. He was actively involved in Young Life for many years and it served as the foundation of his faith, his spiritual practices and appreciation for humor and community. Jamie was attending Faith Presbyterian in Aurora when he heard about a new church starting that Jim Dixon was going to lead. He began attending Cherry Hills on day one in March of 1982. There was something special about Cherry Hills from the first day. It was clear that God had an anointing on the vision, the staff and the community. In his late 30’s Jamie was asked to serve as an elder, which he did for six years. Jamie and his family left Cherry Hills in 2003 to join Greenwood Community Church where their kids had become involved. They returned to rejoin Cherry Hills in May 2017. For the past 12 years, Jamie’s primary ministry has been with Marked Men for Christ (MMFC), an international ministry for men. For the past two years, he has led MMFC in Rwanda. “I am excited to bring the gifts of wisdom, discernment and administration to the church body to help in this new season.”

Dale Zwart

Dale Zwart is a Christ follower, husband, father, veteran, and a professional. As a boy, he answered an altar call to accept Christ as his Savior. He made a profession of faith and believes this is when he was saved. As a young man, Dale joined the U.S. Navy and began a lifetime of service to others. Dale studied computer science at the University of Denver and Data Science at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. He now develops Artificial Intelligence software to assist physicians making diagnostic and treatment decisions in complex diseases. Dale is married to Lori, his wife of 41 years. Their marriage has grown into a relation of love and mutual support for each other. In 2008 after returning to Colorado, Dale and Lori decided to look for a church home that met the needs of their expanding family. They found Cherry Hills to be an active Christ centered church that supports family and community. They were embraced by a small group that has produced enduring and meaningful friendships. Today, along with their four married children and 10 grandchildren, they all attend Cherry Hills Community Church. They are actively involved in church programs and ministries and have found many opportunities for service, including: the core team for the Married Life section; as Marriage Coaches for the church’s marriage ministry; Marriage Enrichment counselors; pastoral care ministry; Manna ministry; and for the past two seasons have been deeply involved in the welding and construction of the Christmas trees and figures for the LIGHT experience. Dale desires to continue to serve God in a variety of ministries as the Holy Spirit equips and opens doors.