What is your greatest musical passion?
Fostering a deep sense of community through song. While classically trained, my chosen style of church music builds on traditional hymnody, but is also heavily influenced by world music, folk and blues idioms, and the compositional style of Marty Haugen and Bret Hesla.
Paul has worked his entire life to overcome the trauma of being born in Fargo, North Dakota. Being largely successful in pursuing a "normal" life following such humble beginnings, Paul credits family and friends with bringing him into the real world. Yah, sure, you betcha! Paul has a degree in Music Education from St. Olaf College and a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Minnesota.
Nina graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Teaching. She later earned her Masters in Education from Hamline University. Nina teaches math at her alma mater, Hopkins High School. The best part of her job is talking with kids and helping them with life, and of course the math!
She lives in Golden Valley where she enjoys yard work and house projects as well as hockey, broomball, kickball, hiking, and visiting friends.
Music Leader & Choir Director
What is your favorite book of the Bible?
The Psalms remind me of the range of emotions that people have experienced throughout human history - rage, joy, doubt, fear, hope, grief, and love. Worship allows us to bring any (or all!) of those feelings and the wide range of hymnody we utilize - with the poets and composers from throughout the ages and around the world.
Melissa serves as the organist and choir director at ECLC helping members make a joyful noise. She chairs the music department at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and enjoys a robust free-lance life as performer, composer, and writer. Mostly, though, Melissa is a wife to Sam and mother to three beautiful, wonderful, so good, very rad boys around whom her world revolves.
Interim Associate Pastor
What’s your favorite season of the church year?
I love Lent, the 40 days leading up to the celebration of Easter. I appreciate both the opportunities for prayer in solitude and the getting together in community for soup suppers and special worship services. I often find Lent to be a time for returning to what matters most.
Pastor Jay, originally from the southwest Minnesota town of Willmar, is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead and Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He has served as pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Vincennes, Indiana and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. His spouse, Kristen, works as a family medicine physician with North Memorial Health, and they have two daughters, Beatrice and Malena. They love living in the Longfellow neighborhood of south Minneapolis, and Jay takes delight in his daily drive along Minnehaha Creek all the way to church. When not working, he enjoys drumming, visits to the dog park, and helping his daughters with piano practice.
Director of Finance & Administration
Why do you like the field of science and religion?
I think that our Sunday theology should take into account the reality of our Monday-Saturday lives, which are saturated with science and technology. For example, consider the evidence for evolution. If nature does in fact reveal a God who works through deep time and messy, often painful processes, then perhaps we ought not subscribe to a prosperity gospel that offers a god of instant gratification.
Kristian is the steward of ECLC’s financial, information, human, and physical resources. He enjoys being the staff liaison to several committees, as this allows him to get to know ECLC members as real people, not just names in a database. He’s a graduate of Central Michigan University, Luther Seminary, and Metropolitan State University’s College of Management. A member of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, Kristian has long been involved in efforts for LGBTQ inclusion in his denomination through Reconciling Ministries Network, and the United Methodist Alliance for Transgender Inclusion.
What do you like about the second Thursday of the month?
Every second Thursday of the month, following ECLC's weekly bible study, we're all invited to the bible study lunch. Not only do I get to enjoy a delicious home cooked meal, but it's also an opportunity to sit down and talk with the members of the church. I often find myself learning about the history of the congregation and its founding members. And I get to take home leftovers!
As ECLC's Custodian, Isaac keeps the church tidy and clean; sets up for regular functions and special events; and whenever he gets the chance, especially enjoys working alongside ECLC members doing indoor and outdoor projects. Isaac is an avid sports fan, originally from Niagara Falls, New York. He returns to New York regularly to visit family, friends, and the Maid of the Mist.
What brought you to ECLC?
Working with children and families is one of my passions in life and I am thankful for the opportunity to continue that work here at ECLC. The families have been so warm, wonderful, and inviting. It's truly been a pleasure as I begin to get to know everyone.
Jessica graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a Bachelor of Science in Ethnic Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. She currently works with teen parents through Intermediate District 287, helping to secure child care so they can earn their high school diploma. She previously served as a preschool teacher with the Early Learning Center at Transfiguration Lutheran Church in Bloomington. Jessica lives in St. Louis Park with her boyfriend and their two cats. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, camping, and spending time with loved ones.
What do you love most about serving at ECLC?
The people! Members are so genuine and generous and really make me feel a part of this community. I enjoy visiting with the members who meet during the week for bible study, quilting, or even those just gathering at ECLC for carpools to volunteer elsewhere. It is remarkable how much is going on at ECLC during the week. One of my favorite activities is the bible study lunches and listening to the members talk about "the good old days."
Lisa is the Office Manager in the ECLC office Monday through Friday, answering your phone calls, assembling the worship bulletins, sending e-mail announcements, and a host of other tasks that keep ECLC running smoothly. Lisa grew up in and loves Minneapolis, but doesn't love the parking (especially in the winter) so she lives nearby in St. Louis Park with her family.
Mission & Ministry Developer
What is your favorite Church holy day?
They're all holy, but I get so excited for Reformation Sunday. We are always reforming as people of faith and it's inspiring to recognize that...plus, who doesn't love belting out the traditional Martin Luther hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God?
Lauren is a Diaconal Minister called by ECLC to engage our congregation in ministry in the world through justice, service, and advocacy. A native of Detroit and graduate of St. Olaf College and Luther Seminary, Lauren's passion is transformational relationship through outreach. When she isn't engaging in advocacy with the congregation, she is at home with her wife advocating for their children to eat their vegetables.
Director of Children & Family Ministries
Why is it important for every generation to worship together?
Worship is the heart of who we are, how we learn, and what we do as a community of faith. Being mindful of the priority of worship gives us permission to engage every generation to be the church in all its forms. Not only do we worship together, we learn and serve together as well.
Kelly is the proud mom of three "almost all grown" kids. She is a creative thinker, teacher, curator, and designer of faith formation; called to walk alongside ECLC children, youth & families. Kelly is also passionate about the ministries of online engagement, and spiritual care, with a fondness for Mexican coffee, non-fiction, and community-building arts. She enjoys the energy of the city and quiet early mornings at the cabin; experiencing new people, cultures, and traditions; and new ways of learning. She is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas, with studies at Texas Lutheran University, Golden Valley Lutheran, and the University of Minnesota.
What book, other than the Bible, has had an impact on your faith?
Many years ago I read, “Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras,” by Diana Eck. It introduced me to a way of understanding God that transcends any one religious tradition.
Growing up in the small Canadian border town of Littlefork, Minnesota Jeff learned the gift of story-telling, which he brings to his preaching. He loves learning about the ways God works in people’s lives. Jeff has served small churches in rural areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and he also served several years at a large inner city congregation in Minneapolis. Brief forays in professional fundraising and in social work round out his expertise. A life-long learner, he continues to explore interests from learning to teach yoga and meditation to taking up the accordion, which is his latest project. Jeff and his husband, Mark, have two grown children, three-grandchildren, and a cabin in the woods of Wisconsin where they love taking their dogs for an overnight get-away.
ECLC Lay Leaders - COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
February 2018 - January 2019
Faith Formation: Adults
Children & Youth
Worship, Art & Music