Rev. Dr. Craig Howard

Transitional Presbytery Leader

Phone: (314) 772-2395 x 110
Office Hours: Please call or email to confirm Craig's weekly schedule.

Staff Duties

Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Transitional Presbytery Leader, Giddings-Lovejoy

Craig is a native of Chicago’s south suburbs. He completed his undergraduate work at DePaul University, and earned the M.Div and D.Min degrees from McCormick Theological Seminary. Before coming to St. Louis, Craig served as Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships (Presbytery Executive) for the presbytery of Milwaukee.

Craig’s first career was in business, as owner and operator of a State Farm insurance agency for 20 years. After being called to ministry, Craig served McCormick Seminary as Director of Recruitment and Admissions. Craig later served McCormick in fundraising as Chief Development Officer. After relocating to Madison WI Craig worked as a Major Gifts officer at Beloit College in Beloit, and as Mission Advancement Director at Bethesda Lutheran Communities in Watertown.

In pastoral ministry, Craig has always served bi-vocationally, doing fundraising or admissions work while in pastoral ministry. Craig has served several racial ethnic churches including Latino, African American, Korean, and Euro American.

As Transitional Presbytery Leader, Craig has implemented a new Presbytery structure including hiring a new staff. He has realigned budgets and helped the presbytery becoming financially stable. Craig was instrumental in negotiating the sale of the presbytery building and property in Tower Grove area, and moving to its new location in Creve Core. Furthermore, Craig has guided the presbytery in changing the structure of Presbytery Gatherings, making them more engaging and inspiring. As a result, attendance has increased, and more congregations are represented. Craig and the new presbytery staff is committed to serving the entire presbytery, including churches in Illinois, southern Missouri, St. Louis metro, and the city of St. Louis.

Craig’s spouse is the Rev. Marilyn Gamm, who is also a pastor of two congregations in St. Louis (Union and Pacific). Craig has two adult daughters, both living in Chicago.



Rev. Vanessa Hawkins

Designated Associate Presbytery Leader

Phone: (314) 772-2395 x 221
Office Hours: Please call to confirm Vanessa's weekly schedule

Staff Duties

Rev. Vanessa Hawkins

Vanessa is originally from Henderson, North Carolina. She earned a BA in English/Media Journalism from North Carolina Central University; a MA in Christian Education from Union Presbyterian Seminary; a M.Div. from Johnson C. Smith Presbyterian Seminary; and a Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction from San Francisco Theological Seminary. Currently she is pursuing a Ph.D. at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, in Interdisciplinary Studies/Practical Theology.

Her experiences as a student at Union Presbyterian Seminary and as a mission partner at a South African Anglican seminary helped her to grasp that spirituality is a significant factor in congregational development. She believes that it is the discerning congregation—the one who risks following the blowing of the Spirit—who becomes a vibrant, relevant, and life-giving ministry for their members and surrounding communities.

Over the years, Vanessa has served as a Presbyterian campus minister, mission partner, pastor, and staff at denominational and presbytery levels. She comes directly from New Hope Presbytery where she served as the Associate for Nurturing Ministries. The focus of her work was spiritual nurture of presbytery leaders (pastors, session members, and educators). In this position, Vanessa established and supported fellowship gatherings, retreats, and new pastor support groups as well as produced introductory videos on the role of spiritual practices in the life of congregations.

Rev. Joy Myers

Stated Clerk

Phone: (314) 772-2395 x 123
Office Hours: Mondays and Thursdays 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Staff Duties

Rev. Joy Myers

I have spent a lot of time volunteering in my life…most of it with the denomination in one way or another.  Married for 47 years, my spouse, Ron, retired from the Illinois Toll Highway Authority when I received a call to be Associate Pastor in Edwardsville, IL.  A late bloomer, I graduated from college in 1989 with a teaching degree and again in 1996 with a Master’s degree in Education.  Going to Seminary in 1997 and graduating from McCormick Theological Seminary in 2000 beginning work as Associate Pastor at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva, IL.  I was actually ordained before graduation!

I’ve spent time as a timer and record keeper for my children’s swim team breathing in chlorine!  I’ve served on boards of directors for several organizations and currently serve on the board at Uni-Pres Kindercottage in East St Louis.  Ron and I served as Foster parents through the Dept of Children and Family Services in Illinois and adopted two children.  Our daughter lives in Southern Missouri after losing her husband of 20 years in 2015.  Our son died in 1995.

Leigh Porter

Office Manager

Phone: (314) 772-2395 x 112
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Staff Duties

Leigh’s brief biography…

I was raised in the Baptist faith tradition.  I have, over the years, taught Sunday School and other classes to children, youth and adults.  I met my husband, Lee, at the church I grew up in.  We have been married for 28 years.  We have two boys, Tim and Patrick.  Tim is a college student at Murray State University in Kentucky and Patrick is a high school student.  We live in Webster Groves.

Prior to coming to the Presbytery, I worked in a church for eight years.  I love this work and look forward to getting to know you!

Janice McMillen

Communicatons Associate

Phone: (573) 578-3960
Office Hours: Deployed - At the office on Thursdays, but available by call/text/email any time.

Staff Duties

Janice’s brief biography…

As a life-long Presbyterian, I  am a member at Steelville Presbyterian, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis. In my home church, I have served as a Deacon, Elder, Clerk of Session, Youth Leader, and led mission trips. At the Presbytery level I have served on Congregational Development, Committee on Representation/Nomination, and others.

I am married to Marty and am blessed to be the step-mother to Kasey and step-grandmother to Kamden. I also work at Three Rivers Publishing, Inc. based in Cuba, Missouri and handle circulation for three periodicals and one standard. I love to meet new people, visit new places, and most of all I love to serve our amazing God in whatever way called to do so.

The Communication position is a part-time flexible schedule, so it is best to try to reach me by email at or by call or text.