Meet Grove’s Staff

Rev. Gary Knerr : Lead Pastor

Rev. Gary Knerr

Lead Pastor

Grove welcomed Pastor Knerr in July 2016. He came to Grove from Christ Church in Lansdale where he was Pastor for 12 years.

Pastor Knerr holds a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary with a concentration in preaching. He enjoys parish ministry and loves teaching. Among his additional interests are mentoring young pastors, teaching sacramental theology and reading all things Wesleyan.

In addition, the pastor is a self-professed Anglophile and also enjoys a lot of varied interests including walking, driving, history, genealogy, removing snow, tending the lawn, washing cars, and being with family. He has been a volunteer fighter and officer in the fire service for over three decades. Pastor Knerr lives in East Fallowfield with his wife of 28 years, Debra. They have two daughters, Kira and Krista.

His favorite Bible verse is Philippians 2:12 “work out your own salvation.” He believes that Christ’s love changes each of us, profoundly. Helping persons know Christ individually and in the faith community, then making him known through words and actions, is his calling for “such a time as this.”

Email: PastorKnerr@GroveChurch.org    Phone: 610-696-2663.

Rev. Diana Esposito : Youth Pastor

Rev. Diana Esposito

Youth Pastor

Rev. Diana Esposito joined the Grove Church staff as Pastor of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in June of 2016. She oversees all of the Grove Youth Ministries activities including

  • Appalachian Service Project
  • Mission Blitz for Middle School students
  • weekly fellowship gatherings
  • the Confirmation Program
  • Sunday School Program for Middle School and
  • Sunday School Program for High School students.

She is also responsible for the Young Adult Ministry fellowship dinners and service projects.

Diana graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary with a Master of Arts in Religion and a specialization in Youth and Family Ministry. She is a Provisional Deacon on the path to be ordained as a Deacon in Full Connection in 2018. She is active in the Eastern PA Conference of the United Methodist Church serving as a counselor and program director at Camp Innabah and a Campus Minister at Open Door Christian Community which is a Wesley Campus ministry at Drexel University. Diana has worked in youth, young adult, and Christian Education ministries for more than half her life.

Diana is married to Andrew Esposito and they have a daughter, Amelia. She enjoys crafts, sewing, relaxing with friends and family, nature hikes, camping, and working with youth and families.

Email: Diana@GroveChurch.org   Phone: 610-696-2663

Linda W. George : Associate Pastor

Linda W. George

Associate Pastor

Pastor Lin was appointed to Grove Church in November 2013. Prior to joining the staff at Grove Pastor Lin served locally as pastor at Romansville United Methodist Church and Evansburg United Methodist Church. She also continues to serve the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church where she has fulfilled the role of Southeast District Resource Assistant since 1996.

She completed the Course of Study program at Wesley Theological Seminary as prescribed by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry – Division of Ordained Ministry. In addition, she has studied Business Administration and Accounting at both Pennsylvania Institute of Technology and Immaculata University.

Pastor Lin’s three main spiritual gifts are pastor, encourager, and teacher. Her ministry passion is Christian spiritual formation and development for everyone. Pastor Lin believes belonging to a solid faith community nurtures people in their spiritual journey and in their day to day living. Pastor Lin lives in Downingtown. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, walking, gardening, interior decorating and reading in her spare time. She is the mother of two adult children, Allison and David.

Pastor Lin’s Life Verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” —Proverbs 3:5-6

Email: PastorLin@grovechurch.org   Phone: (610) 696-2663

Marilyn Schneider : Deacon Intern

Marilyn Schneider

Deacon Intern

Marilyn Schneider, a candidate for ordination as a deacon in the United Methodist Church, in serving in a year-long internship with Grove Church for the 2015 - 2016 school year. Marilyn is a student at Lutheran Theological Seminary here in Philadelphia, and is at Grove to gain experience in the local church.

Marilyn and her husband John are members of St. Matthew’s United Methodist Church in Wayne. She has served an internship there, but is at Grove to gain experience in a church other than her home church.

Marilyn retired from a career in chemistry, including research at the USDA and college teaching. She felt God’s call to ministries of social justice. She currently serves as chair of the Eastern Pa. Conference’s Prison Ministry team. Here at Grove, she serves in worship, helping us understand the role of the deacon in the worship service, and in outreach ministries, especially creating opportunities for us to be involved in prison ministry. She will preach several times over the year.

Patti Klotz : Director of Christian Education

Patti Klotz

Director of Christian Education

Patti & her family joined Grove Church in 1992. In 1998 she became Christian Education Director. She oversees all of the educational programs at Grove for children & adults. Among these programs are Sunday School classes, Vacation Bible School, Advent Workshops, Christmas Programs, Academy of Learning, Disciple Bible Studies and both Adult & Family Ministries. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from West Chester University in addition to an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.

In her spare time, Patti enjoys spending time with her daughters, throwing pottery, and taking her pit bull, Murray, on long walks.

Email: Patti@grovechurch.org   Phone: (610) 696-2663

Melissa Bechtel : Director of Grove Preschool

Melissa Bechtel

Director of Grove Preschool

Melissa joined the Grove Church staff as Preschool Director in May of 2013. She oversees Grove’s thriving Preschool Program which has been serving the local community since 1968.

Melissa is a graduate of West Chester University with a Master’s degree in Education. Prior to becoming the preschool’s director, Melissa taught for the Unionville-Chadds Ford school district and at a preschool in Malvern.

Melissa and her husband, Todd, have 4 children ages 4 through 11 and reside in West Chester. Melissa enjoys spending time at her family’s home in Ocean City, MD, and is an avid reader.

Email: Preschool@grovechurch.org    Phone: (610) 696-8107

Mike Shoremount : Director of Traditional Music

Mike Shoremount

Director of Traditional Music

Mike joined Grove’s Music Ministry team as Director of Traditional Music in August 2014. Mike directs the Grove Tabernacle Choir (adult choir), Cherub Choir (ages 4 – 1st Grade), Handbell Ensemble, and is also the coordinator for the Arts at the Grove Concert Series.

Prior to Grove, Mike served as a paid soloist and tenor section leader with the Grace Church Chancel Choir at Grace Church United Methodist in Wilmington, DE. He can be heard on the Chancel Choir’s CD, “The Wondrous Gift is Given.”

Mike is also the Director of Bands at Bayard Rustin High School in West Chester. His broad experience at Rustin includes leading the Wind Ensemble, concert band, jazz bands, pit orchestra, and marching band, as well as several small ensembles. He is also the co-director of the WCASD 5th Grade Honors Band.

Mike is a graduate of West Chester University with a major in vocal performance and advanced vocal studies at the Manhattan School of Music. He received his teaching certification with an instrumental music concentration from Immaculata University. He also completed a Master of Music in Conducting from Messiah College. In addition, Mike is an accomplished percussionist, and has additional studies in music technology.

Email: TabernacleChoir@grovechurch.org     Phone: (610) 696-2663

Robert W. Johns : Principal Organist

Robert W. Johns

Principal Organist

Robert Johns has been serving Grove Church since 1966. “Bob” joined the ranks of Grove as assistant staff organist in 1966. After eight years of service, in 1974 he assumed the position of Principal Organist and is an essential member of the music ministry team. As both an accomplished organist and pianist, Bob accompanies worship services and the Tabernacle Choir as well as soloists and a broad range of major musical presentations.

Bob will reach 50 years of service to Grove in June 2016. Bob is a graduate of Cheyney University and holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Social Studies. In addition he studied piano with Dr. Charles Sprenkle (West Chester University) and organ with Marion Davis (First Presbyterian Church, West Chester.) Bob is employed by J W Pepper Music Company and in over 40 years with the company has held several positions including manager of the European American Music and later the Carl Fisher Music Division of J.W. Pepper, Exton, Pennsylvania. Currently, Bob is a buyer in the Inventory Management Department. In his ‘spare’ time, Bob enjoys gardening, photography, woodworking and spending time with his family.

Email: office@grovechurch.org   Phone: (610) 696-2663

Mike Hardie : Youth Choir Director

Mike Hardie

Youth Choir Director

The Music Ministry Team welcomed Mike permanently in 2014 as Youth Choir Director after serving the youth choir in the latter part of the 2013-2014 season and leading Grove’s Youth Choir on tour in June 2014. He has also been a member of Grove’s Adult Tabernacle Choir since 2012 and Grove’s Praise Band, Pieces of One, since 2013. In Grove’s 2013 production of Godspell, Mike joined a cast of twenty and portrayed the lead role of Jesus to enthusiastic praise. In the past Mike has also shared his singing talents with the congregation on occasions such as the Mother’s Day Anthem when men from the Tabernacle Choir do a special musical presentation to honor the Mothers in the congregation.

Mike has been a member of Grove since 1999. He has a BS in Music Education from West Chester University. He is employed at PJM which is a company that monitors the power grid.

In his spare time Mike enjoys spending quality time with his two children, Mikala and Tyler, and his wife Jen. As a family they enjoy traveling to Walt Disney World and the beach. He is also a group leader for Grove’s youth group (GYM). Mike is a huge fan of all Philadelphia sports teams as well as the Miami Dolphins. He enjoys singing solos and duets with his daughter Mikala and looks forward to singing duets with his son Tyler in the near future.

Email: YouthChoir@grovechurch.org    Phone: (610) 696-2663

Kenny Johnson : Director of Contemporary Worship

Kenny Johnson

Director of Contemporary Worship

The Grove Music Ministry Team welcomed Ken permanently in December of 2014 as Director of Contemporary Worship after serving as the interim Co-Director through the 2014 year. He has been a member of the Pieces of One Praise Band from its inception. Along with Pieces of One, he has provided percussion in numerous Grove drama musicals, adult choir presentations, Easter Vigils (with the Dixieland Band), and has directed special music with the “With a Little Help From My Friends” band using special instrumentalists and arrangements to instill the passion of the Lord without words.

Ken started his Methodist relationship with God both living and growing up in West Chester at the West Chester United Methodist Church. In the mid 80’s he started attending Grove and has since become deeply involved in numerous avenues of Grove ministry (i.e. mentoring, staff parish relations, sports coordinator, music ministry). He is employed at Automotive Training Center, a post secondary technical school in Lionville.

In his spare time Ken enjoys spending time with his wife Jacki and their four children, Justin, Chris, Olivia and Tyler. Music is a big part of his life whether it is playing at church, playing at local theatre, listening to Liv and Ty sing, or critiquing Justin’s new record release. Sports also have a spot in his life. He has been the sports coordinator of the Grove Sports teams for many years as well as manager and player for the Grove softball team.

Email: ContemporaryWorship@grovechurch.org    Phone: (610) 696-2663