Meet Our Staff
Reverend Joanna D’Agostino
Rev. Joanna D’Agostino has been the Senior Pastor of Lakewood Congregational Church since June 2018. In addition to leadership, preaching, and pastoral care, her ministry has been focused in Restorative Justice work and prison ministry — formerly practiced in Wisconsin state prisons — ministry and advocacy for and with the LGBTQ+ community, and support for the United Church of Christ’s Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM). Joanna is a member of the Lakewood Ministerial Association and Lakewood Area Collaborative, and serves on the Nominating Committee for the Living Water Association.
She previously served for six years as the solo pastor of the First Congregational Church of Ripon, Wisconsin. She received her Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, and a B.A. in creative writing and French language from Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. She was ordained by the Living Water Association (formerly Western Reserve Association) of the United Church of Christ in August 2012. Joanna originally is from Berea, Ohio, and both she and her husband have deep roots in the greater Cleveland area. They have three children, Evelyn, Amos, and Suzette, as well as a pit bull mix and two cats. Outside of ministry, Joanna’s interests include art, animals, and spending time with family, friends, and neighbors, often on her Lakewood porch.
(216) 221-9555/Cell (920-376-1117)
Karen Lee started attending LCC with her family when her daughter, Veronica, enrolled in Haynes Nursery School. Since then, she has enjoyed participating in many volunteer opportunities from VBS to the Youth Musicals and eventually volunteering in the office. Eventually, that volunteering lead to a position as Assistant Office Manager and in 2018 she became the full time Office Manager. Karen has a BA in Directing, an MFA in Stage Management, and served as an Equity Stage Manager and Director until deciding to stay home with her daughter.
(216) 221-9555 ext. 101
Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries
Rachel is a life-long Ohio resident. She was born in Athens and grew up in Logan, Middletown, and Findlay, as her family followed her father’s career as a pastor. Growing up, church ministry was always a part of Rachel’s life. She chose to follow her calling into professional ministry in 2001 when she chose to major in Youth Ministry at Ohio Northern University.
It was that God-inspired energy that carried Rachel successfully through 14 +years of professional youth ministry at United Methodist churches in Findlay, Lima, and Rocky River. Most recently, Rachel worked at OhioGuidestone with young children who have mental and behavioral health challenges.
Rachel and her husband Chris live in Lakewood their two children, David and Lilly, and their two rescue dogs. Rachel enjoys music, crafting, thrift shopping, and spending time with her family, especially camping and family trips to Canada.
She is passionate about the full inclusion of all people in the church, including people who are LGBTQ or have any type of special needs. She is overwhelmed by the wonder, majesty, and love of God and wants everyone to feel that they are deserving of that same love.
Director of Music
Ben Malkevitch is a choir director, organist, pianist, and composer who does a wide range of work in the Northeast Ohio area. Some of his specialties include opera and musical theatre, as well as both secular and sacred choral repertoire.
Highlights of recent engagements include preparing CityMusic Cleveland’s chorus for its performance of Verdi’s Requiem and playing for several choir concerts in the Lakewood City Schools system. This fall Ben will be chorusmaster, vocal coach, and rehearsal pianist for Opera Western Reserve’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth.
Ben is a staff pianist at Baldwin Wallace University and is the collaborative pianist at Temple Emanu El. He also teaches private piano, voice, and cello lessons at Lakewood Music Academy. Ben has a Masters of Music degree in Collaborative Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Virginia Weckstrom, and he continues his organ studies with Lakewood Congregational Church’s emeritus music director Lloyd Max Bunker.
Since joining the Lakewood Congregational Church community as Music Director in 2016, Ben has written choral anthems to inaugurate the fall season at Lakewood Congregational Church. When he is not making music, Ben enjoys raising his son, Toby, going on adventures with his partner, Kate, playing word games and enjoying all that the Cleveland area has to offer.
(216) 221-9555 ext. 108
Patti Dobro joined the Lakewood Congregational Church staff in 2008. She lived in Lakewood for 47 years, raising 3 children while being active in the community as an officer and board member of the Junior Women’s Club of Lakewood (now Lakewood Women’s Club), Lakewood Hospital Women’s Board, and Lakewood PTA Council.
Patti also served as a regional chairwoman for the annual WVIZ televised auction. Patti and her husband Terry live in the West Park/Kamm’s neighborhood with their dog Lady and cat Cleopatra. She enjoys planning their “bucket list” travels as well as spoiling her grandchildren.
Lakewood Congregational Church
1375 West Clifton Boulevard
Lakewood, OH 44107
Phone: (216) 221-9555
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