Meet Our Staff


Debra Hoertel

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Greetings! I am Debra Hoertel; on January 24, of 2018, my husband Joe and I were married 30 years. We have two grown children. Katy works two jobs; she is a nanny and a massage therapist. Robert presently works in construction, but is going to Bible college this fall. They both reside in Highland IL.

I was raised in the Minneapolis area. I have four siblings: one sister and three brothers. My father was tired of shoveling snow so when I was fourteen years old my family moved to San Diego California. I completed high school in San Diego and after graduating I went to work at a guest ranch in Tucson Arizona. It was during my time in Tucson that I earned a certificate in Optical Dispensing; I made, fitted and adjusted glasses and contacts in that industry for 13 years. It was especially fulfilling to work with low vision patients.

Joe and I met on a blind date through some mutual friends. We settled in San Diego and had our two children. We always knew we would move back to the Midwest. In 1995 we relocated to Belleville IL, where Joe was raised. We moved to Highland IL in 1996. When both the kids were in school I went back to school to earn a Bachelors degree in Information Systems. While I was in school I worked at Scott Air Force base and when I graduated, I segued into a different job at the Air Force base. I was called into ministry from that job. I have served a variety of churches since saying yes to ministry. Serving in ministry without a doubt is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done.

I love preaching and teaching the Word of God. Researching for sermons and Bible studies energize me. I love to practice various types of prayer: lectio Divina, meditation, extemporaneous as well as written prayers. I have a deep love for Hymns; they express so much wonderful theology, but at the same time, today’s Christian music touches my heart. Teamwork in worship planning is a great way to offer varied and creative ways to worship God.

My hobbies and interests include painting; I am mostly self-taught. I work in oils and acrylics; I love florals in particular. I am a voracious reader of real books and audio books. Other than the Bible and Christian classics, I like to read historical novels. Yoga and walking are my exercises of choice; they clear my mind and keep me moving.

Lauren Cranmer

Lauren Cranmer

Youth Director
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Lauren is a graduate of East Alton-Wood River Community High School and went on to further her education in General Studies at Lewis and Clark Community College. Lauren is currently taking online courses at Grace Bible College. Her main focus is in Human Services, but her ultimate goal is to reach out to others by obtaining a certification in Biblical Counseling. Lauren and her husband are active members in the community, and Lauren has served as a Girl Scout leader for the past three years. She has actively volunteered during bell ringing season for the Salvation Army and has volunteered with various organizations that are involved in community outreach. Lauren enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family. During the warmer months, she and her family enjoy camping throughout the summer and on weekends.


Joe Hanfelder

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Joe Hanfelder has been the custodian at St. Paul UMC since 2008. A retired owner and operator of convenience stores, he has been married to his wife Judy for fifty years. They have three daughters and six grandchildren.


Lois Mitchell

Administrative Assistant
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Lois has been on staff since January of 2005. Prior to St. Paul she served Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia as resident director, director of student activities, assistant director of residence life, and associate for Baptist Campus ministries. Lois is an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from SIUE and a Master of Arts in Religious studies from Central Baptist Theological Seminary, in Kansas City, Kansas. An Alton native, her hobbies include writing, singing, creative digital media design, photography and cooking.


Cherilyn Trusty

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Cherilyn Trusty is a musician from Southern Illinois. She was raised in a musical family, and along with her 2 brothers learned to play piano and other instruments at an early age. As a teenager, she began accompanying youth services and choirs at the Assemblies of God church her father pastored.

Trusty’s family moved to Belleville, IL where she studied harp with St. Louis Symphony player Albertina Weygandt. Cherilyn began her professional career providing dinner music at various venues in the area, including the Grand Hall at Union Station in St. Louis, and the Alton (IL) Holiday Inn. Cherilyn’s vocation expanded to pit orchestras, and since 1994 she has played with various acts such as the Rockettes, Manhattan Transfer, and Barry Manilow. In 1999, Trusty became the harpist for the St. Louis Muny Opera, playing through 2017.

Interspersed with these adventures, Trusty served as a music teacher in the St. Louis Schools Visual and Performing Arts Program from 1985 to 1995. In 1995, she began her ministry at Elm St. Presbyterian Church in Alton as organist and choir
director. Then in 2018 Cherilyn began her music ministry at St. Paul UMC.

Trusty enjoys educating and presently she teaches music at her studio in Edwardsville, IL. She is blessed to be wife to Terry, and mom to Tyler.


Iris Uzzell

Prayer Ministries
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Iris has been a member of St. Paul for nearly fifty years. A graduate of Roxana High School, Iris attended IUC. Married to John, Iris is the mother of three sons, grandmother of nine, and great grandmother of three. She leads the Prayer Ministries of St. Paul, is active in the worship choir, and teaches the Wesley Sunday School Class.