In a word, to be an elder at Spring Valley means to be a “Shepherd.” The elders at Spring Valley are guys who truly love Christ and Christ’s people. They are teachers, leaders, and equippers of the church. If you’re looking for a church where the pastor does all the work, Spring Valley is probably not the church for you. The elders are the first line which demonstrates Christ’s command for all of us to be ministers. They are peers with the pastor, making decisions together, leading together, pastoring together. Member families and individuals at Spring Valley are assigned an elder/shepherd who keeps in regular contact. Our elders are a resource for you - to ask questions, to lend a listening ear, to offer advice when sought. It gives all of us at Spring Valley a rich reservoir of people to call upon and depend on. The Ruling Elders of this church are chosen from qualified male members of the church, elected by the congregation, and ordained and installed by the Session.
Rev. Jon Nielson, Teaching Elder and Moderator
Pastor Jon accepted the call to be Spring Valley's Senior Pastor in 2017. Pastor Jon earned a BA in English literature at Wheaton College in 2005 and received his Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in 2010. He expects to receive his Doctor of Ministry from TEDS this year. He was ordained in the PCA (Chicago Metro Presbytery) in 2010. Jon and his wife, Jeanne, both grew up in the Chicago suburbs with Jon’s parents still living in Wheaton, and Jeanne’s parents still living in Arlington Heights.
From 2015 to 2017, Pastor Jon was the student ministry director at Princeton University for Christian Union. Before that, he was high school and college pastor at College Church in Wheaton for six years. From 2005 to 2009, he was in residency training at Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, where he became assistant pastor.
Jon is married to Jeanne, and they have four daughters: Adelyn, Averie, Emilie, and Lucy.
Ron Walkup, Ruling Elder and Clerk
Ron Walkup, has been a resident of the Chicago area his whole life. He came to faith in Jesus Christ in the mid 1990’s and has been a member at Spring Valley since 2000. He is married to Sonya, and they have two children, Anna and Noah. Ron is an electrical engineer by degree and writes software for electronics for his livelihood.
Ron has been an elder at Spring Valley since 2006. Ron speaking of his role as elder says, “I am grateful for the call to be an elder here and also humbled by the responsibility. 1 Peter 5:1-11 is the passage I should be looking to more and more and praying through as I continue this role. It stresses the need to be reliant upon God’s grace to lead God’s people willingly, and eagerly but not in a domineering way. Additionally, these verses call me to humility and prayer. And regarding prayer, it is very encouraging to know that the people of Spring Valley are regularly praying for me and the other elders. We cherish these prayers knowing God is using them to help us fulfill our calling.
Kent Cochrum, Ruling Elder
Kent has been a member of Spring Valley since 2017 and an elder since 2019. He and his wife Cindy were drawn to Spring Valley Presbyterian Church because of the strong biblical teaching and the deep relationships among the community of believers here.
Kent has lived in the Chicago area since moving from Austin, TX to attend college in the 1980's. He received a bachelors degree in music from Wheaton College and masters degree in music from Northwestern University.
As an elder, Kent enjoys studying God's Word with others. He serves on the music team, helps co-lead a community group, and occasionally teaches in the Adult Sunday school class.
"One of my greatest joys is joining with God's people as we serve the Lord, are transformed by His Word, and raise our voices together in response to His goodness."
Kent is married to Cindy and they have four adult children and three daughters-in-law. He works as a sales manager and residential mortgage originator at CIBM Bank in Wheaton, IL. When he's not working, Kent enjoys traveling, hiking with Cindy, and finding unique coffee shops.
Pablo Herrera, Ruling Elder
Pablo has been a member of Spring Valley since 2007 and an elder since 2009. When he came to an understanding of the Reformed Faith, he searched for a church that shared those beliefs and found Spring Valley on the internet. He and his wife Angela stayed at Spring Valley because of the sense of community and emphasis on expository preaching.
Pablo is from River Grove (a Chicago suburb). He and Angela were married in 2006, and have two children, Isabel and Stephen. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Trinity International University in 2007, and was licensed to preach in July of 2017 by the Chicago Metro Presbytery. He is currently pursing his Master’s degree through Reformed Theological Seminary. In his free time, Pablo enjoys weight training, martial arts, reading all sorts of genres, listening to good old thrash metal, movies, apologetics, and spending time with his wife and kids. He also loves food and cooking, especially Mexican food, pizza, and steak.
“As an elder it is my role to shepherd the flock. I do this by being in constant communication with those whom I have oversight and in discipleship. I regularly pray for the flock of God and make myself available to the needs of the people. I also love the opportunities to preach.”
Contact Pablo at pablo.herrera@springvalleypres
Gary Templin, Ruling Elder
Gary originally discovered Spring Valley Presbyterian via the PCA online Church Directory. He first visited Spring Valley in 2007 and joined as an active member in 2008. He says that he fell in love with the church’s commitment to the Gospel, Biblical Understanding and Truth.
Gary is a graduate of Washington (DC) Bible College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a Master's of Divinity. He has diverse ministry experiences, including Instructor in Communications and Doctrine at The Korean American Educational College in Chicago, Grief Share Program Leader, and currently Mentor with The C. S. Lewis Institute Fellows Program in Chicago.
His Elder Role responsibilities include: Oversight of Small Group Bible Study and Children’s Christian Education.
“True, effective and enduring discipleship making is all about relational investment around God’s Word in the spirit of accountability, which ultimately must begin with our own daily personal relationship with the Triune God.”
Gary is a lifetime resident of Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is the “ultimate” Cubs fan, having attended least one game a year at Wrigley Field since 1965. He is founder and operator of Windy City Hitman Entertainment since 1989.
Kevin Todd, Ruling Elder
Kevin came to Spring Valley in the summer of 2017 with his wife Brenda, and they soon both joined as members, as did their daughter, Grace. He became an elder in early 2019. Kevin is a transplant from Minnesota (which has "real winter") and married Brenda, a Wheaton native, 30+ years ago. They have three adult daughters (Jessie, Blythe, and Grace) of whom they are reasonably (and justifiably) proud. Kevin is a partner in the Chicago law firm of Hoogendoorn & Talbot.
"As a new elder at Spring Valley, I look forward to joining in the good work that so many have faithfully built and nurtured over the years. I want to see the Kingdom expand through justice, mercy, love of neighbor, sound theology, and fidelity to the Word, and for these to be living realities for and through the people of Spring Valley." He's amazed that the creator and sustainer of everything so loved us that in eternity past he declared us to be his own. A favorite passage of Kevin's is Colossians 1:15-20 which captures the simple and compelling beauty of Jesus and the Gospel.
In his spare time, Kevin enjoys anything outdours (especially cycling, and hiking with his kids and dog Strider), travel, reading, U2, folk/lyric-driven music, and good conversation - especially if it involves pizza and craft beer.
Noah J. Toly, Ruling Elder
Noah has been a member of Spring Valley since 2007, and an elder since 2012. On finding Spring Valley, Noah says, "We used the PCA directory to find Spring Valley, and it was Spring Valley hospitality that made us stay."
Noah is originally from Southern California, and has been married to Becky since 1999. They have three children, Joe, Ben, and Rose. Noah is the Director of the Center for Urban Engagement and an Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Politics & International Relations at Wheaton College. In his free time, Noah enjoys fishing with his kids, golf, and photography.
“One of the most important and rewarding roles of the session is to oversee how all of the pieces that contribute to the spiritual life of the church are coming together to make a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.”
In addition to serving as an elder, Noah occasionally teaches Adult Sunday School. He has also been involved with small groups and the Missions Committee.