Rev. Lane Cotton Winn, Lead Pastor
Rev. Lane Cotton Winn became lead pastor at St. John’s in July 2017. Previously she served as the senior pastor at Pearl River United Methodist Church (Pearl River, LA), associate pastor at Aldersgate UMC (Slidell, LA) and associate pastor at First UMC of Amite, LA.
Lane earned her bachelor’s degree in communications, with a concentration in photojournalism, from Loyola University in New Orleans. Upon graduating, Lane moved to New York, where she was the staff photographer and audiovisual archivist for the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) of The United Methodist Church. She earned her master of divinity from Emory University and is an ordained elder. In August 2022, Lane earned her MBA with an emphasis in Nonprofit Church Administration from Dakota Wesleyan University.
Lane’s husband, Ben Hartman, teaches 5th grade at the LSU Lab School, and together they have a child, Julian, and a four-legged “goldendoodle,” Hagrid. Both Julian and Hagrid are kind-hearted and quite precocious. Lane and Ben share a passion for travel, an appetite for delicious foods, an ear for good music, and enjoy the company of family and friends.
Connor Dean, interim Director of Youth & Children’s Ministries
Connor Dean joined St. John’s as interim director of Youth & Children’s Ministries in January 2023. Connor graduated from Northwestern State University of Louisiana in May 2022 with a bachelor of science in psychology with a minor in Spanish. She’s enrolled in an online master’s program for nonprofit administration through LSU-Shreveport.
During her time at NSU, Connor served as an intern with the youth group at First United Methodist Church Natchitoches where she designed curriculum, coordinated events and co-directed the youth band, specializing in providing vocal instruction. As a teenager Connor served as a counselor-in-training at Uskichitto Retreat Center, the United Methodist camp for the Lake Charles District and central Louisiana. She has extensive experience leading team building challenges, small group Bible study, small group worship and more.
Connor has a calling to work with children and youth, and her undergraduate studies learning about the physical and emotional development of humans reinforced her passion for nurturing the spiritual development of young people. Connor feels most fulfilled when helping others and providing spiritual guidance. Her greatest passion in life has always been to encourage young people to live into the best version of themselves, on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
Dr. Steven Rushing, Choir Director
Steve Rushing is a native of Baton Rouge and comes from a musical family. His musical journey continued at LSU where he completed an undergraduate degree in Vocal Music Education. There he met his wife-to-be, Lois Kuyper and they moved to Iowa where they started a family and grew together in faith and their common love of music. They moved to Kansas in 1983 where Steve taught at Kansas State University.
He completed two other advanced degrees in music at Drake University and The University of Kansas and has enjoyed a career as a university professor and professional soloist in opera, oratorio, recital and musical theater. Concurrent with this career path, he has also served as choir director, conductor and soloist for a variety of religious denominations; his first position being at Winbourne United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge.
Lois, Steve and their two children Anthony and Johanna returned to Louisiana in 1992 where he served as a professor of vocal arts at Southeastern Louisiana University until 2019. He also served as the chancel choir director at First Presbyterian Church Baton Rouge for 15 years. Currently, Lois is Associate Dean for Public and Collection Services at LSU Libraries. Steve continues to share his knowledge and gifts as a music teacher at The Baton Rouge International School. They have been blessed with seven grandchildren, and their faith journey continues with close ties to their children, in-laws and grandchildren. Steve joined the St. John’s staff in November 2021.
Dr. Terry Byars, Accompanist and Praise Team Director
Terry holds a B.S. in English Education from LSU and a Ph.D. in Theatre Arts also from LSU. He is currently Assistant Professor of Theatre at River Parishes Community College. He has been the St. John’s organist since 2001.
Lynn Cooper, Administrative Assistant
Lynn, a long-time member of St. John’s, joined the church staff in August 2014 after working 25 years in the non-profit field. She has two grown sons, Paul and Jody, two daughters-in-law, Natalie and Kimberly, and four grandchildren, Kellen, Madeline, Elizabeth and Ivy.
LeAnn Davis, Manager of Finance and Facilities
LeAnn joined St. John’s staff in December 2017.
Ben Balser, Media Producer
Ben was born and raised in New Orleans, spending holidays at his grandfathers farm in Magnolia, MS, giving him exposure to both city and country life. He has been doing media production for more than 20 years. A commercial drone pilot, Apple certified Master Trainer, and formerly VP of production for a TV station and online streaming service, Ben has served in a variety of positions in the media industry. He joined our staff in September 2021.
Bill Putzig, Custodian
Bill has been attending St. John’s for more than 12 years. He maintains our facilities and grounds and helps manage set up for all of our St. John’s worship services and events since 2017. He was born and raised in Florida and moved to Baton Rouge in 1997. Bill loves to hike and has two cats!