Staff Directory

The St. Luke staff is committed to serving members, guests and the greater community.  

How can we serve you?

  • Heidi johnston


    Pr. Heidi is the daughter of a retired Army Chaplain and mental health counselor - an upbringing she credits with helping her sink down roots, make meaningful connections, and bloom where she’s planted. Growing up, she was spiritually fed and nurtured by the Lutheran fellowships at various Army installations in Tennessee, New Jersey, South Carolina, Kansas, California, Georgia, and even overseas in Aschaffenburg, Germany.

    Pr. Heidi received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater from Syracuse University in 2004.  With a strong sense of call to use her gifts for the glory of God through parish ministry, Pr. Heidi went on to divinity school in 2007. She first attended the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now part of United Lutheran Seminary), and then went onto Union Theological Seminary in New York City where she earned a Master of Divinity. Pr. Heidi completed field study at parishes in New York City and central Texas before being ordained in the New England Synod on January 28, 2012.

    She served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Quincy, MA for over nine years. During that time, Pr. Heidi and Faith Lutheran journeyed together to become a more expansively welcoming congregation with a heart for Jesus-led engagement in the community. Pr. Heidi is grateful for such a positive first call, and is equally honored to lead the ministry team at St. Luke Lutheran Church.


    In addition to ministry, Pr. Heidi is passionate about her role as wife and mother. She and her husband, Ben, live with their two sons, Oliver and Wesley, in Sterling, CT.

    Pastor Heidi's emergency phone number: 860-617-9343

    Email Pastor Heidi

  • Kathleen BartKowski

    PARISH ADMINISTRATOR & Organist/ Accompaniest

    Kathleen holds a Master of Music in Piano Accompanying from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Connecticut.  She is the accompanist for the Vernon Chorale and is  frequently invited to accompany choral festivals, musicals, and other school ensembles.  

    For over thirty years, Kathleen has served churches throughout New England as organist and choir director. At this time, she is the Organist and Celebrate Accompanist for St. Luke Lutheran Church in Gales Ferry, Connecticut. She has  served as a Member-at-Large on the Connecticut ACDA Executive and the New London American Guild of Organists Boards. Her professional achievements are recognized in Who’s Who in America.

    In July of 2016 Kathleen expanded her role at St. Luke by becoming our Parish Administrator.

    Email Kathleen

  • Gina Williams

    Director of Music

    Gina Marie Williams is the Director of St. Luke's extensive music program. She studied Music Education at the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and the University of Rhode Island. She is an accomplished flutist who also performs on clarinet, oboe, bassoon and saxophone. She is founder of the Ledyard Community Band and the Thames River Big Band and is a founding member of Celebrate! our contemporary praise band.

    Over the past fifteen years, Gina has prepared numerous instrumental arrangements for our Senior Choir including arrangements for handbells.  "All tolled," we have about 58 ringers and 45 singers who work with Gina to praise God through music.

    Gina lives in Ledyard and has four grown children.

    Email Gina



    Diane has 15 years of accounting experience in non-profit and government organizations. She worked at the City of New London, CT; the Memorial and Library Association of Westerly, RI (Westerly Library and Wilcox Park;) and the Fishers Island Ferry, a District of the Town of Southold, NY.


    She is Assistant Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Riverside Park Conservancy; and Co-Chair of the Hodges Square Village Association, both New London not-for-profit organizations in her neighborhood. She is a long-time volunteer at the Habitat for Humanity of Eastern CT ReStore. Diane also serves at the New London Meal Center with St. Luke outreach.


    Diane joined St. Luke Lutheran Church in 1983. She raised her three sons, Kristian, Karl and Kurt Balinski in this congregation. Granddaughters Emilee Balinski and Hailey Salen are baptized members of St. Luke.

    Email Diane

  • Jacque Loftus


    Jacque lives in the Gales Ferry area with her husband, three kids, and a pet bunny. 

    Her youngest was born with Down Syndrome, and she is an active volunteer with the Down Syndrome Association of CT.  

    On the side, she is a self-published author, under the pen name, Lori Jophiel. She is still currently writing and hopes to continue to publish novels throughout her lifetime. With that, she has gained a lot of knowledge on graphic design, social media presence, marketing, and website management. 

    Jacque is also a military wife and acquired a foundation with communications, event planning, and guidance, while she was first Treasurer, and then President, of the Family Readiness Group attached to her husband's US Naval Submarine.  She was also able to take training courses with the boat's Ombudsman on handling delicate matters with appropriate sensitivity and care. 

    Those skills followed her to Connecticut and assisted her while volunteering with her past church, volunteering with DSACT, as well as helping to build a following on social media for her author page. 

    Jacque joined St. Luke Lutheran Church in the spring of 2022. She transferred from Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Groton, CT.  Her and her children made the change to find an accepting place, that would also bring them closer to God. They felt at home from Day One at St. Luke Lutheran Church and are incredibly thankful for the St. Luke Family to have welcomed them in. 

    As the Communications Coordinator, she manages the St. Luke website, social media accounts, midweek updates, and more!