Our Staff

Trinity Lutheran Church & Trinity-St. John Lutheran School is blessed with a staff dedicated to our Lord's commission of "making disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). This page gives a brief introduction to our staff who serve the Lord at Trinity Lutheran Church and Trinity-St. John Lutheran School.



Rev. David Benning               pastorb@tsjlutheran.org 

I was born in a suburb outside of Chicago, IL the youngest of three brothers.  In the late 1980’s my father took a call to teach at a Lutheran School in Springfield, IL.  This is where I grew up going to the grade school where my dad taught and Lutheran High for high school.  From there, I went on to Blackburn College where I met my wife before going off to study at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO.  Our family loves to camp and we take our 3 kids and sometimes the goldfish camping in our travel trailer exploring all that God has created.

Jesus claimed me as a baby when I was baptized at just 1 month old.  He continued to shape me as child of God through the commitment of my parents and the blessings of Lutheran education.  But it wasn’t until I went off to study abroad in Wales during college that God would call me to be a pastor.  While I was in Wales He put me into daily conversations with people about the faith He has given me.  This has led me to continue those conversations with anyone who will listen so that I might have the opportunity to share Jesus with them.

In 2010 I graduated from Concordia Seminary and took my first call to Immanuel in Brookfield, WI.  Eventually the Lord called me in 2014 to serve at St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Berlin, IL.  While it was a blessing to come back so close to home the opportunity God gave me to pastor His people in a changing community was what brought us to Central Illinois.  With our children growing older the Lord once again saw fit to change our lives by bring us to Trinity Nashville where we pray we be able to continue His work in this new Family of Faith.  As we encourage others to have conversations with the people in their life that lead to conversations about Jesus.  Always being prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. But doing so with gentleness and respect. (Paraphrase 1Peter 3:15 NIV)



   Cheryl Zapp, Office Administrator

Cheryl has lived in Nashville all her life.  She grew-up in a family of three sisters and one brother.   She has one son, Kenny, and he blessed her with a great daughter-in-law, Taryn, and two grandchildren Elijah and Iylie Harris.  She received an Associate of Arts degree at Kaskaskia College.  All her work experience is in the clerical office environments.  She plays handbells in Trinity’s Handbell Choir.  She enjoys reading and watching the St. Louis Cardinals.  But she truly enjoys the Nashville Hornets and the Hornettes sports teams along with TSJ sports teams.  She finds the NCAA tournament highly entertaining as well.







 Janice Lange,  Kindergarten     

Janice grew up in Bunker Hill, IL.  She attended St. Paul’s College in Concordia, Mo. and then Concordia University in Chicago.  She has worked at T-SJ for 29 years teaching second grade, pre-school, and kindergarten.  She also teachs music to pre-school through fourth grade and coach scholar.  She and her husband Steve have been blessed with three sons and two grandchildren.  She enjoys sports, sewing, reading, playing guitar, and singing.  She likes working on music for children’s handbells.

 Her favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:38. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angles, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”



Dawn Mueller,  Grade 2

Dawn was born and raised near the shores of Lake Michigan.  She met her husband, Pastor Tim Mueller, at Concordia University, Ann Arbor, MI.  They married on campus the day before they graduated with their bachelor’s degrees.  Dawn certified to teach k-8th grade, began teaching third grade in St. Louis while her husband attended the Seminary.  While on vicarage in Iowa the Lord blessed them with a son, Jacob.  Returning to St. Louis, Dawn taught preschool in St. Louis.  Tim was sent to St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Minden and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Covington in January 1988.  The family grew as sons Paul Daniel and Lukas were born.  Tim and Dawn were delighted to have a Lutheran School for their sons to attend.  Dawn enjoyed her calling as a stay at home mom and also volunteered at TSJ in the library.  She was able to fill in as a teacher through the years and for one year, taught 4th grade half a day with Mrs. Lange.  As the boys grew, Dawn was called to teach preschool at Trinity in Hoyleton.  She was blessed to serve there for 10 years, 2001-2011.  She later served as International Director of Education for the Children’s Christian Concern Society, assisting with funding for Christian education for 20 countries worldwide.  One of her greatest joys was to receive an invitation to write Bible story books for Copenhagen Publishing Company in Denmark.  God’s Story for All Children’s Bible has been translated in several languages.  My Precious Bible stories, her second book published for preschoolers, has been used around the world.  She also edited and voiced three Bible story apps for them.  Presently she is working on a book to teach Christian doctrine that will be used in Asia and distributed by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation.  Traveling to see the grand-treasures, two year old Hanna, in Emma, MO and four year old Sophia with two year old brother Xavier in Vassar, MI always brings great fun and excitement.  Dawn and Pastor also enjoy participating in 5Ks and working in the garden together.  She is delighted to be called to teach at Trinity-St. John Lutheran School, working with the students in second grade.  She hopes to share with them her love of reading as they study many countries around the globe. 

Her favorite Bible verse is Psalm 23:6.  “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”         



                Tabatha Wesseln, Dept. 5-8

Tabatha (Frederking) Wesseln is the fifth grade homeroom teacher at T-SJ.  She was born and grew up in Nashville attending Trinity Church and Trinity-St. John school.  After marrying her husband John in 1978, she moved to Pinckneyville and currently resides there with her family.  She has a daughter, Mackenna, who just started the third grade, and a son, Dayton, who began kindergarten this year.  Even though they live in Pinckneyville, they still attend church at Trinity, and her children have followed their mother’s footsteps by attending school at T-SJ. Her education to become a teacher began right here at T-SJ.  After graduating from T-SJ in 1989, she continued her education at Nashville Community High School.  She moved on to Kaskaskia College and finally received her BS in Elementary Education from SIU-C.  She also received her endorsements to teach middle school classes at that time.In August 1998, she began her teaching career at T-SJ.  Her first year was spent teaching preschool and helping in kindergarten.  The following year she took over the reins as the kindergarten teacher and served in that capacity for a number of years.  When the enrollment at T-SJ began to dip, she was moved to other teaching duties which included years teaching second grade, fourth grade science, fifth through eighth grade science, and preschool.  She was always teaching something new and exciting.  After some time, she assumed the duty of fifth/sixth grade homeroom teacher and taught all upper grade science as well as Math, English, Literature, PE, and Computers to various grades.  She is currently the fifth grade homeroom teacher, and teaches all upper grade Science as well as Algebra, fifth grade Math and Literature, and first and second grade PE.  The 2016-2017 school year marks the beginning of the nineteenth year of her teaching career and nineteenth year at T-SJ. Most of her time is consumed with preparing for her teaching duties, but when she has a few spare moments she love’s spending time with her family.  Their favorite activity to do together is camping.  She also enjoys repurposing old items and loves making things out of old wood.

Her favorite Bible verse comes from Matthew 19:14 where Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  It reminds her daily of what the Lord has called her to do at T-SJ.