Meet Our Leadership

The Staff

Eric Hause – Lead Pastor (
ERIC HAUSEEric Hause serves as Lead Pastor at Bethel Grove.  Eric, a San Diego native, came to Bethel Grove via Denver Seminary in 2001. Eric has discipled teens at BG through Sunday School, middle and high school youth groups, missions trips, service projects and through one-on-one relationships. In addition, Eric brings musical gifts and technical skills that are a blessing to the church office and other BG gatherings. Eric is married to Mary and has a daughter Mattie.

Santosh Ninan – Associate Pastor (
SANTOSH NINANSantosh has been associate pastor at BG since 2013. He is married to Felicia and they have three young children. He has been involved in a variety of ministries from leading Bible studies with medical students in Bangalore India to directing a meal program for street youth in Vancouver Canada. He enjoys reading, good coffee, and movies. He was born in Vellore India and raised in Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada. Before coming to BG, he and his family lived in Vancouver Canada. He holds an MDIV from Regent College.

Jeff Thompson –Youth Pastor  (
Jeff serves as the Youth Pastor at Bethel Grove. He is married to Rachel and they have two young children. A Tompkins County country boy, Jeff grew up in Groton and his first job was at the Pyramid Mall. Jeff is passionate about teens discovering Jesus and the plan He has for their life. He has worked with teens in ministry through small groups at his house, one-on-one discipleship, Sunday school, youth group, backpacking trips and mission trips. He enjoys Christian Apologetics, Star Wars and spending time with his family. Jeff is currently pursuing an MA in Christian Apologetics at Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity.

Dee Dee Smith – Administrative Assistant (
Dee Dee SmithDee Dee grew up in nearby Watkins Glen and came to Bethel Grove via Cornell in 2000. Her boundless energy keeps the church office running smoothly, even on the busiest days. Dee Dee excels at matching up resources with needs, and helping newcomers become a part of the life of the church.

Amy Bach – BG Kingdom Kids Coordinator (
Amy Bach

Amy grew up in Vestal, NY and moved to Ithaca in 1983 to continue her career in Special Education.  She graduated from Bloomsburg University, PA with a BA in education and later received her MA in education at SUNY Binghamton.  Amy brings skills of teaching, leadership, and communication to BG. She enjoys sharing her gifts of encouragement, listening, organization and compassion with the children and families she works with.  Amy is married to Randy and they have two college-aged sons, Nathan and Christopher. Amy enjoys walking her dog, cross-country skiing and reading books for her book club.

Rachel Thompson – Administrative Assistant (Kingdom Kids)
Rachel Thompson serves as the Administrative Assistant for Kingdom Kids. Rachel has a BA in counseling and has worked with children for 16 years. She and her husband, Jeff, have two lovely children of their own. Rachel also works with a global nonprofit called Jesus’ Economy, that creates jobs and churches in impoverished countries. Rachel loves being a part of God’s plan through His church. She is a Colorado native who loves snowboarding, playing guitar and piano, and hiking.

Barb Roman – Bookkeeper (
barbBarb has been managing the church finances at Bethel Grove since 2005. She quietly stays behind the scenes doing the payroll, paying bills, and keeping BG functioning smoothly in the most practical of ways. Barb is married to Rich and they are the parents of three grown sons and have two grandchildren.


The Elder Board                               

Robert Jewell – Chairman (

bob-jewelBob came to faith as a young child and grew up in Elmira Heights, NY.  He and his family have lived in Ithaca for 30+ years.  His initial study after High School was for a pastoral and teaching ministry, but life took another path.  He is currently employed by Community Bank, N.A. as a Trust Officer and Financial Planner.  He started in consumer banking working for a savings and loan, and managed the downtown office of Ithaca Savings and Loan.  He became interested in financial planning when the bank started to offer financial services.  He has received his designation as a Certified Financial Planner.  In the past few years, he has been a leader in Good $ense financial classes which emphasize Biblical principals in financial management.  He is always glad to talk about financial challenges that face all of us.  Also Bob has served on the Elder Board for six years.  His personal interests are various and include waterskiing, music and bow hunting.

Yrjo Grohn – Elder (

yrjo-grohnYrjo and his wife Kaisa have been members of Bethel Grove for 20 years.  Yrjo has served three terms as Elder and was chairman of the Elder Board for his recent term.  Yrjo is a Professor of Epidemiology and the Chair of the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at Cornell.  He continues to run his annual “downhill” Steamtown marathon with the theme “It is not the distance which “kills” but the speed.  Take time whatever you do.”Keith Kaiser – Elder (


Keith is married to Jennifer and they have three wonderful children: Andrew, and twins, Christopher and Meghan.  Jenifer and Keith began attending Bethel Grove in 2001.  Being part of a small group at BG, mentored and discipled by pastors and church members, Keith was baptized at BG 8 years ago.  He holds degrees, from bachelors to PhD, from three universities and has taught public schools in California, Wyoming, Florida and New York.  Currently he is a Professor of Music Education at Ithaca College, serving as the Chair of the Music Education for the past 12 years.  Keith desires to connect his professional interests in teaching and leadership with the spiritual foundations as represented by Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

David Larson – Elder (

david-larson David grew up in Lewiston, New York and is a graduate of Virginia Tech and Grace Seminary.  David has served for more than 25 years with International Students. Inc. (ISI) in Buffalo, New York, Tucson, Arizona as well as in Ithaca, NY since 2009.  While in Tucson, he also served as pastor of Craycroft Baptist Church for five years.  David is married to Beth, a graduate of Houghton College.  She is part-time campus staff with ISI and also homeschools.  David and Beth have been married for 27 years and have six children.Aloja Airewele – (

aloja-aireweleAloja and his family have lived in Ithaca for the past 17 years.  Peyi, his wife, is a full Professor at Ithaca College.  Olutale, their oldest child, is 24  years-old and works in Los Angeles.  Osaba, 19 years-old, just finished his second year at Cornell.  Yolore (17 years-old) is a junior at Ithaca High School and their niece, Oreofe, who is eighteen is attending Ithaca College this year.  Aloja and Peyi have decided to commit themselves to being members of Bethel Grove Bible Church after many years of attending, because of their conviction that this is a fellowship striving to know and do the will of God in Christ Jesus.

Jeff Ives – Elder (

jeff-ivesJeff grew up in San Diego and came east to do graduate work in exercise neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts.  While there he met and married Stacy, and they have been married for 28 years.  They came to Ithaca when Jeff was offered a faculty position at Ithaca College.  Over time they have enlarged their family by birth and adoption to six children:  Whit, Zack, Sam, Abby, Cassie and Ellie.  Stacey has been involved in the children’s or young adult ministry since first attending BG, and Jeff has previously been an elder for six years.  They routinely meet young adults and couples to mentor and provide a safe haven.  Both of them are grateful for BG and the love they feel and the steadfastness in holding to the Word of God.

Doug Stauffer – Elder (

doug-staufferDoug was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to a Church of the Brethren family, but spent most of his growing up years in Indiana.  He moved in Ithaca in 1979 to attend graduate school at Cornell (in Chemistry).  After finishing, he got a job with an Ithaca software company, and has been there ever since.  He has been attending BG since 1987.  He is married to Donna, and has four children; David (21), Daniel (20), Rebecca (17) and Rachel (1996-2003).