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OUR STAFF

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Laurie Johnston

Lead Pastor

Pastor Laurie (Rowley) Johnston was born in Bloomington, Illinois, but moved to Kansas when she was  9 years old. Her father, the late Rev. Edward Rowley, pastored many United Methodist Churches in Sterling, Hutchison, Hays, and Wichita, Kansas. Laurie graduated from Hutchison High School in 1981.

In 1985, Laurie obtained her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from The American University in Washington D.C.  In 1987, she attended Princeton Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey.  It was there that she met and married her husband, A. Kirk Johnston, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In 1990, both Laurie and Kirk graduated from Princeton Seminary with their Masters of Divinity.

After Seminary, Laurie and Kirk were ordained in the PC(USA) and were a clergy couple at the First Presbyterian Church in Mansfield, Ohio.  In 1992, Laurie and Kirk moved to Paola, Kansas where Kirk was called as Pastor to the Paola Presbyterian Church.  In 1998, Laurie began pastoring part-time at the Hillsdale Presbyterian Church.  Since 1998, the church has grown from 30 members to over 200 members. Currently, both Kirk and Laurie have transferred their ordinations to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Laurie is a loving mother and grandmother. Her oldest, Lindsey, serves at Hillsdale as a worship leader and regularly attends with her wonderful husband, Dustin, and their two boys, Reagan and Wesley. Her middle, Luke, serves at GlenHaven Church as their pastor and is a loving husband to his wife, Jamie, and father to their three girls, Norah, Emmi, and Lucy. Her youngest, Ian, also serves as an ordained pastor in the EPC and is a loving husband to McKayla, Hillsdale’s youth director.

Marjorie Powell

Office Administrator

Marjorie was born and raised in Paola, KS. She was married at a very young age to her late husband, Greg Powell, also from Paola. Their three children were the fourth generation to graduate from Paola High School. They continued to reside in the Paola community until 2013 when they moved to Gardner, KS.

She spent most of her adult life working in finance.  She retired in December 2013 after working almost 12 years for Spring Hill USD 230 as Bookkeeper for the district. In 2014 she became the Administrative Secretary to the Pastor.

Marjorie was raised in the Methodist Church in Paola where she continued as a member until 2009 when the Lord led both her husband and herself to the Hillsdale Presbyterian Church, where they became members.  Her family, which includes several grandchildren, keeps her very busy.

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Cynthia Schmidt

Director of Children's Education

Cynthia was born in Cherokee, IA, but moved to Kansas when she was 2 years old. She grew up in the Shawnee Mission area and graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School in 1978. She completed a BFA in Graphic Design from Kansas State University in 1983. After returning to school, she received my teaching certification (K-12 Art) from Ottawa University in 1992. 

She taught Middle School Art (grades 6-8) in the Spring Hill School District from 1994-2002. From 2002 to the present, she has been self-employed as a ceramic artist, independent art instructor and contract picture framer, as well as the art teacher at Compass Christian Academy. 

She has lived in the Hillsdale area since 1990 with her husband, Chuck. In 1995, her son, Carl, was born; he currently lives in Wichita, KS. She began attending Hillsdale Presbyterian Church in 2001 and became a member in 2004. During her time here at HPC, she has taught Sunday School and Confirmation Class, participated in a variety of adult Sunday School classes and bible studies, been ordained as an elder, and volunteered in numerous youth activities and programs. 

 She enjoys nature, music, dancing, reading, creating, and teaching. 

Renee Avenaim

Director of Frontier Kids

Renee Avenaim was born in Lee’s Summit, Mo. Her husband Dan and her two daughters, Alex and Erin, moved to Paola in 2001. They began attending Hillsdale Presbyterian Church in 2002 and she became a member in 2004. During her time at HPC, she has volunteered in the daycare, as a Sunday school teacher, and as a Vacation Bible School leader.

 

From 2007 to 2017, she volunteered at Lighthouse Presbyterian Church in the Wednesday evening Kingdom Kids program and organized and built props as well as helped in the Living Nativity Play for 8 of those years.

 

In 2017, Renee was involved in starting the Frontier Kids Program at
HPC. Renee has been the Frontier Kids director for the last five years and was ordained as an Elder and Deacon from 2018 until 2023.

 

Renee’s life has been truly a blessing serving the Lord and working
with the volunteers and most of all the children at Hillsdale Presbyterian Church.

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McKayla Johnston

Director of Youth Ministry

McKayla grew up in Paola, KS, and began attending Lighthouse Presbyterian Church in her freshman year of high school. It was there that she began to walk with Jesus, eventually feeling a call to special needs and youth ministry.

She initially went to Johnson County Community College to study special education and soon became the EnCompass Special Needs Ministry Coordinator at Lighthouse after serving as the Youth Coordinator for a few years. After working as a para for a brief time, she quickly realized that the school system was not where her mission field was, but rather the church. She then transferred to Spurgeon College in Kansas City, MO, and received her BA in Christian Ministry while working at GlenHaven Church as their Youth & Connections Intern.

 

Following her graduation in May 2022, McKayla married Ian Johnston in June 2022 and moved to Leawood, KS, where they happily reside. In January 2023, she excitedly began her work at Hillsdale as the Youth Ministry Director leading youth in worship and lessons on Wednesday nights and during Sunday School.

Jen Skinner

Worship Leader

Jennifer Skinner is our worship leader at Hillsdale Presbyterian Church.  Jennifer (Jen) has a love for music that began at a young age when she first sang the song, “He has the whole world in His hands” for her Mom and Dad to record at the age of 18 months old. Coming from a Christian musical family, she has learned to play multiple instruments and has a passion for music ministry.  Jen asked Jesus into her heart at the age of 5 when she felt a calling to do so with the song, "Just As I Am." That song will always hold a special meaning in her heart.

 

 Throughout her years, she has spoken Christ through music by being involved in leading a youth choir during her early 20’s and continuing to growth in her love of the Lord and praising him through music ministry.  Music is her way of deep worship and she finds a deeper relationship with God through both the lyrics and the blended sounds of musical tones.  

 

She enjoys selecting the worship music each Sunday and leading the worship team in a way that encourages each member to grow spiritually and as leaders in the church.  Outside the church, Jen works as a chiropractor and counselor, homeschools her daughter, enjoys spending time outdoors camping and playing with her family, and is blessed with deep friendships that bring fun and additional meaning into to her life. 

Water Ripple

Photo Coming Soon

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Angie Freeman

Custodian

Angie has been a lifelong resident of Spring Hill. In 1985, she married her husband Craig. She became an active member at Hillsdale Presbyterian Church in 2016. Angie enjoys participating in the Prayers and Squares ministry here at Hillsdale. In her spare time, Angie enjoys spending time with her grandson, sewing, and quilting.

OUR ELDERS + DEACONS

Maintenance + Grounds 

Finance + Stewardship

Fellowship + Evangelism

Missions

Worship + Music

Adult Education

Youth Education

Deacons

  • Glenda Watkins, Donna Powell, Dennis Powell, Sarah Hays, Kim Springstead, Trisha Reeves, Joy Rose, Charlie Birmingham 

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