Grace Lutheran Church • 6931 Edinger Ave • Huntington Beach, CA • 92647 • (714) 899-1700

Staff and Elders

First and foremost, we want God to lead Grace Lutheran Church.

The role of our leaders is to seek God, see where He is moving, to follow Him and bring others along.

Some people see us as only “staff” or “leadership.” Really, we’re family. How could we not be? We’ve worked in close quarters, prayed, worshipped and celebrated life together. Some of us have gone on vacations together. It is a privilege to serve alongside one another, equipping, supporting, and leading the various teams here at Grace.

Feel free to contact any of us by using our email as listed below.


Emergency Pastoral Line: (714) 899-1711


Chris Tweitmann

Senior Pastor Pastor Chris and his wife, Beth, were high school sweethearts, have been married for over twenty years, and have two teenagers, Emma and Ethan. Chris has his MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary and currently serves as one of their adjunct instructors. Chris has served congregations in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles, and Seattle, WA. Prior to becoming a pastor, Chris worked in business management and human resources for AMC Theatres. Chris enjoys the gift of Sabbath by reading, watching and talking about movies, listening to music, enjoying the beach, and sharing good conversation about life, faith, and Jesus.


Jon Alexanian

Associate Pastor of Student & Family Ministries Pastor Jon is a Huntington Beach native who married his wife, Melissa, in 2010 and enjoys flirting with her in his free time. Jon is a graduate of Biola University (BA in Biblical and Theological Studies, ‘08) and Talbot School of Theology (M. Div, ‘15). Having served in student ministry for over 10 years, Jon has a great passion to help students and their families grow in their understanding of who God is and what He has done for them, and to help them embrace the life God created and saved them for.


Reverend Van Tran

Vietnamese Outreach Reverend Van Tran has been an ordained minister over 20 years. He has his Certificate of Theological Education for Emerging Ministries from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, a BA and MA in Theological Ministry from Union University of California, a MA and Candidate Doctoral Ministry Degree from Newport University of California. Van Tran has served congregations in Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, and Westminster. Van Tran and his wife, Bai, have been married over forty years and have one son, Hac. In 2010, Van Tran was elected Bishop of ELCCVA for a six-year term, and in 2013 he was elected President of the Vietnamese Inter-faith Council in American for a two-year term.

Ministry Staff


Lisa Bari

College Ministry Lisa is a full-time occupational therapist, a career that has given her the right balance of patience and empathy needed to disciple college students. She is happy to call Huntington Beach home, and loves hosting students at her place to watch The Walking Dead.


Margie Clark

Administrative Assistant Margie graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a BS in Business Administration. She and her family have been members at Grace since 1996. Margie lives in Huntington Beach with her husband, Ralph. Together, they have two adult children, Adam and Jennifer. In her free time, she enjoys bike riding at the beach, kayaking and being involved in her small group Bible study. She has worked at Grace since 2012 and loves her job and the Grace community she serves.



CHOIR DIRECTOR Kjersti has been attending Grace for a decade. She currently serves with the Worship Team, Choir, and the Wedding Ministry. Kjersti grew up in the Midwest as the oldest of 4 children and is now an aunt to two precious nephews. She currently works as an Elementary School Music Teacher and is a director and teacher at an arts camp for 7th-8th graders. During her down time and summers, she enjoys traveling, reading, movies, Disneyland, attending live performances and spending time with friends.


Mary Taylor

High School Ministry, Administrative Assistant Mary became a member at Grace in 2011 and married her husband, Steven, that same year. Their daughter, Abigail, came along in 2015 and instantly became more popular than either of them at church. Besides working in the front office, Mary oversees the high school youth group.


Gail Theodoseau

Administrator, Orange County Care Connections Outreach Gail and her husband, Philip, moved to California in 2010 after residing in Vermont for thirty years. Gail has a degree in Elementary Education and has worked as a tutor in math and reading as well as enjoying a twenty-year career in community banking as a branch manager. Gail has a passion for serving others and saw the move to California as an opportunity for a career shift to nonprofit work. She experienced a personal connection to dementia when a family member was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Gail worked at Alzheimer’s Orange County as a volunteer and staff member on the Helpline and as Support Group Coordinator. She believes strongly in the mission of Care Connections and is proud and happy to be a part of this ministry of Grace Lutheran Church.


Beth Tweitmann

Children & Family Ministries Beth has been married to her high school sweetheart and best friend, Pastor Chris, for over 20 years. Together, they have 2 kids. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Liberal Studies and an elementary teaching credential. After teaching for several years in the public schools, God called her into Children's Ministries, which she has been doing for about 18 years in several different church settings. She loves writing fun, energetic, and creative lessons for kids that make them excited to learn about God.


Betty Wardle

Office Manager Betty and her husband, Mark, have been members of Grace for a decade. She began volunteering in the office as a way to meet people at Grace. That led to a part-time and then a full-time job in the Grace office. She and Mark are the parents of two grown children, Ashley and Ethan. With an empty nest, she and Mark enjoy time at home by the pool with extended family and friends and traveling whenever they can.


Megan Williams

Worship & Jr. High Ministry Megan is an Orange County native who graduated from Concordia University, Irvine, in 2011 with a degree in Music and Worship Arts. She was proposed to and later married here at Grace, and has found deep friendships and community here. She loves to encourage others to grow in their gifts and to use them to give glory to God.


Drew Williams

Tech & Jr. High Ministry Drew is married to the love of his life, Megan, and still hasn't figured out why she agreed to the prospect in the first place. He graduated from Concordia University, Irvine, in 2010 and has been a part of the Grace family since 2007. Drew is a life-long student, and loves helping others follow Jesus in every aspect of their lives.


Rick Wisser

Facilities Rick and his wife, Kathy, have called Grace home for many years. In addition to serving as an all-around "handy-man" for the church, Rick also loves talking with everyone who comes to the church campus. You'll usually find him either up a ladder doing some skilled work, or in conversation and sharing the love of Jesus with anyone he meets.


"An Elder, then, must be above reproach..."


Marlin Golnitz

Council President Marlin and his wife Shirley have been members of Grace for over 25 years. After a 28 year Air Force career followed by 10 years as an Executive Director with the Boeing Company, Marlin is enjoying his retirement by investing in many activities. He sings in the Grace choir and previously served on many boards and committees. His hobbies are skiing, traveling and photography. He is also an avid runner and enjoys being Mr. Fix-it around the house. He is also very active in a Koinonia small group and frequently leads the bible study.

Linda Apple

Elder Linda has been attending Grace since her two children, Lindsey and Austin, were students at Grace School. She was raised in the Catholic faith but she has developed a deeper faith during her time attending Grace. Linda is a consultant to businesses in the area of process management, organization development and training/development. She also has her license in financial services. At Grace, Linda has been co-leading and organizing Disciple classes and assisted with funeral support, campus cleaning and decorating.

John Galli

Elder John has been a member of Grace since 1998. He attends with his wife Cynthia and their two wonderful children, David and Mary, who were brought up in Grace Sunday school, confirmation and youth programs. John graduated from the United States Naval Academy where he majored in Oceanography. He enjoyed a 20 year career flying the A-6 Intruder and F/18D. He is currently a pilot at Delta Air Lines. He recently received a Masters of Organizational Leadership from Biola University, which was a study of organizational Leadership from a biblical perspective. John serves at Grace as an usher and member of the communion team. He has been active in Disciple classes as well as a weekly men’s group. He has been active in Cursillo for 7 years and has also participated in Kairos prison ministry.

Brian Hauptmann

Elder Brian was born, raised, and still lives in the city of Long Beach. He is the proud product of the public school system and believes that just like in his faith, “you get out of it what you put in to it”. He is retired from the Long Beach police department. He says that now that he is done serving the public he can spend more time serving his Creator. He was baptized, confirmed, married, had two sons baptized and confirmed at St Luke’s in Long Beach. In the church that his father helped build, he served on council for several years in different positions. Brian and Dori have been married for 31+ wonderful years and have two sons Joshua, 28 (recently married in October) and Steven, 25 (living in Texas). They joined Grace in 2012 and instantly felt at home. Activities at Grace have included organizing a team for a church softball league, Cursillo, 2 years of Disciple, men’s small group, communion server, making soup for Lent soup suppers, chili competition, and activities with the college group. He is also active with the Long Beach Band of Brothers men’s ministry. While he continues to work on his personal relationship with his Savior he feels compelled to take others along on the journey. While he acknowledges that he is more connected to men’s ministry than “church” ministry, his desire to serve The Kingdom inspired his willingness to accept this call.

Eric Johnsen

Elder Eric was born of missionary parents (Pastor Paul and Joyce) and lived in Japan until the age of 6. His family lived in Nebraska and then Orange, CA before moving to Huntington Beach and becoming members of Grace. Eric earned a BA degree from California Lutheran College in 1980 and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of DeVry University in 2002. He has worked in the insurance industry for over 25 years, the last 15 years with the CA Department of Insurance as a field examiner. Eric met and married his wife Cherie at Grace. Their two adult children, Nick and Kaycee, were both baptized and confirmed at Grace, and Cherie is a teacher at Grace School. Eric co-founded Bluegrass Light, and has led worship at Grace for over 2 decades. He also sings in the Choir.

Christine McGraw

Elder Christine grew up in South Orange County and has been a Lutheran all her life. She and her husband, Duncan, and daughters Amy and Maia, joined Grace 10 years ago. She began serving as a member of the worship team and her first experience in leadership at Grace was as a member of the Senior Pastor Call Committee which ultimately called Pastor Chris. After stepping down for a year, this will be her third three-year term as an elder serving on Council. She is also involved in the wedding, funeral and hospitality ministries at Grace, she has been part of the Lutheran Cursillo community for 20 years, she leads classes in the adult Bible education ministry - currently with Covenant, and with both girls attending Grace Lutheran School, she also serves as a chapel instructor. In addition to her main job as mom to two pre-teen girls, she has worked for 16 years as the manager of a real estate development firm doing lease administration, accounting and construction oversight and development.

Carole Ryan

Elder Carole has been attending Grace for over 25 years. She is a retired elementary school teacher, business owner, real estate broker and widow of Dave Ryan, once Grace’s Patty-‘o greeter and evangelism addict. She has served on Worship and Music, Schools, Evangelism, Missions, and Prayer Ministry teams; she has taught Sunday School and has been a member of choir, Blue Grass Light, and bell choir. She also taught kindergarten music at Grace Lutheran Elementary School. Carole has two children, two step sons, and six grandchildren. Her hobbies include quilting, gardening, reading, music, and most of all studying the Bible!

Chris Toland

Elder Chris and wife Sherry have 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren and have been a part of Grace since 1972. Chris went to Arizona State University where he received a BS and Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He then served 6 years in the U.S. Army reserve, followed by a career in real estate construction lending and working with several real estate partnerships. Chris served at Grace in the 1980’s as treasurer and on the Board of Administration and Worship and Music Committee. He was head usher for several years and still ushers as a team leader at the 8:30 service.

Bob Vouga

Elder Bob retired after 52 years as teacher, school administrator and university professor. His faith in the redemption of Christ is the foundation of his beliefs. He has attended Grace for nine years, and the faith and mission statements of Grace are a perfect fit. He is involved several ministries including music, leadership Bible study, Good News, and Gideons International. He and his wife, Pam, pray daily for the spiritual growth of their seven children and sixteen grandchildren.

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