Pastors and Elders
Duane Emry: Lead Pastor
Duane’s favorite thing to do is hang out with his wife, kids and dogs. A close second is hanging out with his church family. As he likes to say, “Being a church family means we must live life together.” And now that phrase, “live life together” has become YCC’s mantra.
After high school, Duane enlisted in the Air Force and spent six years serving as a navigation systems specialist and then an avionics technician, even working on the “Doomsday plane,” the E4-B. When he got out of the service, he began a career as an investment advisor. He was happy with the work, but three years later, God gave him a gentle kick in a different direction.
He was laid off at the same time as a friend asked him to join his fledgling men’s ministry. He worked as an administrator for that ministry before moving into youth and then worship ministry. Slowly, God guided him into seminary and then into his current position as Lead Pastor at Yamhill Christian Church.
Although Duane grew up in Tigard and graduated from Tigard High School, he earned his B.A. from Southern Illinois University and a M.A. in Economics from the University of Oklahoma. Then in 2010, he earned a second M.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary in Portland.
Looking back on his life, Duane admits that he didn’t choose ministry, it chose him. But, he can’t think of anything he’d rather do. “Ministry,” he says. “Is possibly and probably the most rewarding job you can do.”
When Duane has free time, he LOVES watching sports on television. He also likes to build things, especially big things like home remodeling projects and adding rooms to his house. Besides that, he likes golf and loves coaching and playing soccer. But at the end of the day, it’s all about hanging with his family; his wife, Kelly; his kids, Iyana, Bella and Ian; and the family’s dogs, Marvin, and Junior.
Jim Ramos: Associate Pastor
In November 2010, while sitting in a coffee shop in Sisters, Oregon, God called Jim to change the focus of his ministry from youth to men. His assignment: to transform the lives of men and those they love, because when a man gets it—everyone wins. Following that epiphany, he resigned from his associate pastor position and launched The Great Hunt for God. His most recent venture is The Man Card Podcast. Today The Great Hunt for God/ Man Card Podcast has impacted men not only in Oregon, but numerous other states, and countries as well.
Jim and Shanna came to YCC battered and broken after twenty-five years in ministry. They visited YCC and soon felt that this was a place where they could find comfort and healing. Before long, they decided to make YCC their home church.
In 2016, Jim felt a call to return to local church ministry and accepted the part-time associate pastor position at YCC. Jim Graduated from Morro Bay High School (1984).He has a BS in Psychology from Santa Clara University with a Minor in Business Management (1988), done course work for his Master of Divinity degree at George Fox Theological Seminary, and is the author of several books including a favorite among men, The Field Guide: A Bathroom Book for Men. He’s a credentialed Director for Youth for Christ (1989-95), was ordained in the Church of the Nazarene in (1995-2012), founded The Great Hunt for God/Man Card Podcast (2011-present) and was commissioned as a minister at YCC in 2016.
When he isn’t juggling his many responsibilities at The Great Hunt for God, podcasting with his latest venture, or serving at YCC, you might find him hunting and fishing with his sons, working out in the gym, or hiking with Shanna. He and Shanna love sipping coffee with friends, eating at one of their favorite local restaurants, searching for Goodwill treasures on a luxurious date night, or relaxing at their time-share on some tropical beach in February as far from the Oregon gray as possible.
Bryant Ashton: Youth Director
More information coming.
John Koppen: Elder
John was born in Chicago and lived in Northern Illinois until he was eleven. In 1959 his family moved to east Portland when his dad was transferred west. He spent his teenage years in the Boy Scouts of America, including two summers on the National Training staff, training the cream of the crop of Scouts from across the nation.
He graduated from Portland State University with a B.S. degree in Philosophy and Psychology. After college, he worked as an administrative assistant for a church, a bank officer, and a coin dealer. He wanted to raise his children in the country, so in 1977, he moved his family to Yamhill and went to work as a mill worker for Stimson Lumber Co. in Gaston. He retired from Stimson after 31 years.
John and Beverly have been married for 47 years. Together they have raised four children and were the foster parents to many more. They have been attending Yamhill Christian Church since 1981, and John has been in a leadership role for nearly all those years. For the past 31 years, he has led a monthly worship service at Friendsview Retirement Community in Newberg.
For three years, he and Beverly have spent one term each year teaching at Indian Bible College in Flagstaff, Arizona. Today, John enjoys spending a lot of time with his wife, kids, and their 15 grandchildren. When he isn’t with his family or helping out at the church, he enjoys traveling with Beverly, camping, canoeing, Lionel trains, writing poetry, and is a history buff. He is also the nation’s foremost author and historian on Boy Scout neckerchief slides.
John’s heart is for service and mentoring of others in the family of God. He believes there is no retirement in the service of the Lord and wants to give his life away investing in others. John’s life verse is “What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26a)
Eric Jochim: Elder
Eric Jochim describes himself as a hands-on kind of guy. This ‘can do’ attitude revealed itself early, during his middle grade and high school years. While living in the Bay Area, he worked as a janitor for his parents’ travel agency, a mechanic for their limousine service and as a baby sitter for his younger brother and sister. During school breaks, he worked on his grandparents’ ranch (no electricity!) and his great aunt’s ranch. When he was only thirteen, he bought and rebuilt a military Jeep, which was the same car he used for his behind-the-wheel driver’s test when he was sixteen. In high school, he also ran cross-country; his team ranking second in the nation.
In 1967, he moved to Corvallis to attend Oregon State University. Motivated by the high cost of out-of-state tuition, he graduated in four years and earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering Technology. After graduation, he took a job with Baker Rock and he, along with his wife, moved to Beaverton. In 1974, he started his own company, Columbia Excavating. Ten years later, he sold Columbia Excavating and started a new company, Northwest Earth Movers, which he sold in 1990.
After all that, it was time to move back to California. He bought land near his great aunt’s ranch and went to work helping his brother, Brad, start Piranha Propellers, a propeller manufacturing company. Piranha Propellers, which uses their patented, replaceable-blade technology, is still in business today. During those years, he bought a D Sports Racing car, learned to drive it and raced in the 1993 Sports Car Club of America’s national finals. He also helped build the Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California.
After twenty years of living single (he divorced in 1973), he met Marla on a blind date. Their mutual interest in horses led to a second and then a third date. They were married in 1994. Eric returned to Oregon and the couple started attending YCC, Marla’s home church. In 2011, Eric and Marla started talking about adopting more children (Marla has two boys from her first marriage). In 2014, they were blessed by the addition of two girls, Keyandra and Aumi, to their family.
Eric admits that the girls’ arrival has changed his life. Before they came, his priorities were construction, the ranch, riding horses, reading and Marla (not necessarily in that order). After the girls came, his focus changed to his new responsibilities as a father, his walk with the Lord, and his new responsibilities as an elder. As an elder, he hopes he can help the people of YCC share the biblical message of Christ and strengthen their walk with the Lord.
Brandon (BJ) Talbott: Elder
As a boy, BJ’s world was dominated by kites. His parents dragged him to every kite flying competition they could find and he spent most weekends on the beach watching colorful pieces of fabric flap in the wind. He was flying his own kites at a young age and before long was handling his favorite kind, the two-lined stunt kite.
BJ grew up in rural Manning and graduated from Banks High School where he enjoyed playing football and wrestling. His family attended Cornelius Christian Church where is mother played the piano, his grandmother played the organ, and his dad sang during worship services. As a teen, he struggled with the hypocrisy he saw in the lives of the people in the church and in his own family. Although he never doubted God’s love for him, he had issues with the local church and eventually walked away from it all.
In 1986, after watching the movie Top Gun, he fell in love with fighter jets. From that moment, his dream was to fly. Immediately after high school, he joined the Navy. He signed up for the Naval Air Crew Program and, after training, he was assigned to fly as an air crewman in the S3B Viking aircraft. He was deployed twice to the USS Abraham Lincoln which was stationed in the Persian Gulf. Between deployments, he married his high school sweetheart, Suzanne.
He left the Navy in 2001 and returned to Manning where he and Suzanne lived in the Talbott family home. Their son Dustin was born there in 2002. A few years later, he and Suzanne bought a house in Vernonia where they raised cows and horses. That is where the couple welcomed their second son, Connor, in 2007.
After leaving the Navy, BJ worked at various jobs before landing a position as a patrol deputy for the sheriff’s office. Eventually, he was promoted to patrol corporal and then to detective. In 2012, he moved his wife and kids to a 46-acre farm in Yamhill and they joined our YCC family.
As an elder, he hopes to bring a new, younger perspective to church leadership. His even-tempered personality and ability to see both sides of an argument will help people feel that they are being heard. He has a heart for those who had experiences with the church but, for whatever reason, turned away. He hopes that his life story will help others understand that coming back to God leads to relief and joy. His message is that God doesn’t expect his people to be perfect and neither should the church.
When he isn’t at work or caring for things around the farm, BJ loves being outside, hiking, hunting, coaching his boys in sports, or just soaking in all of God’s beautiful creation.