Heartland Staff

Rev. Alex Thornburg

Reverend P. Alex Thornburg was baptized in a Presbyterian Church when his mother found out that Presbyterians love to dance. He grew up in a suburb of Dallas, TX and learned about God’s grace from a community of faithful disciples. After finishing college and seminary, Alex worked as a pastor in Oklahoma and Wisconsin before receiving his call to Heartland in September of 2015. He is excited to be part of our community as we seek to be the Body of Christ in new and creative ways!

Alex is married to Dr. Teresa Bear, a licensed psychologist. They are empty nesters with three grown children (Joseph, Noah and Emma). Alex likes to read science fiction and fantasy novels, loves dogs and enjoys skiing.  In his free time, you can find him spending time with his wife and friends. 

Check out Reverend Alex’s Ravin’ Rev Blog.

Peter Roberts
Director of Music

Peter is a talented pianist, vocalist, composer, and improviser originally from Independence, IA.  He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor’s of Arts, a minor in Jazz Studies, and Master of Arts in Piano Performance.  Peter lives in Urbandale with his wife Joslyn, daughter Claire, and son Ellis.  

Peter is also a staff accompanist at Drake University, a studio teacher at West Music Piano Gallery in Urbandale, a commissioned composer for Bel Canto Cedar Valley, an active jazz performer and freelance accompanist in the Des Moines area.

Lynn Dennis
Interim Director of Children and Youth Ministries

Lynn Dennis joined the Heartland staff in November of 2022 as Interim Director of Children and Youth Ministries, bringing her love of children and enthusiasm to Heartland. Lynn is a life-long Presbyterian and a founding member of Heartland.  She has served as an elder, as a member of several ministries, and as a teacher of EPIC.

Lynn’s career has included being a pediatric dental assistant for 40 years. Now being semi-retired, she enjoys catering and party planning and is certified in Reiki Healing and Healing Touch.

Lynn enjoys jazz and blues music, cooking, gardening and entertaining friends and family. Lynn has one grown son, Will. He is married to his wife, Amanda. They are both employed by Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.  Will is a women’s basketball coach and Amanda is an athletic trainer for women’s soccer and softball. 

Rev. Robert (Bob) Houser
Parish Associate

As a retired pastor, Bob began volunteering in service as our Parish Associate in 2016.  Bob attended Dubuque Theological Seminary and has a Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary. After more than two decades of preaching in southwest Iowa, Bob moved into church administration and lived in South Dakota, West Virginia and Nebraska. He retired in 2014 and moved to Waukee with his wife (Thea).  It was then that they first began worshiping at Heartland.

Bob is the primary resource for the Hospitality Committee of the Board of Deacons and serves as our pastor when needed. Bob is passionate about mission work and is an active volunteer for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program. He has responded to disasters in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, California, West Virginia, Iowa, Arizona, North Dakota, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Nebraska.  Bob also enjoys spending time with his three children and five grandchildren.

Erica Button
Office Manager

Erica joined our team in 2017 with a big heart and lots of energy.  Erica has a degree in Business Administration from AIB College of Business and lives in Urbandale with her husband, Rob. They are empty nesters with three adult children (Nick, Josh and Chelsea).

Outside of the office, Erica enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, bicycling and cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes. One of Erica’s greatest joys is serving the Lord and others through her role as office manager.