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.
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.
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. Currently, he serves on their Board of Directors and also chairs RMN’s Transgender Ministry.
Stephanie Coltvet Erdmann
What is your favorite story in the Bible?
Mark 4:35-41. In tumultuous times, it's good to know that Jesus isn't sleeping, but is in the same boat with us after all.
Pastor Stephanie Coltvet Erdmann - a Minnesota native - grew up in Rochester, attended Concordia College in Moorhead, and Luther Seminary. Prior to being called to serve as pastor with ECLC, she ventured West to serve Grace Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Washington (not Iowa) before returning to Minnesota to serve Transfiguration Lutheran in Bloomington. Stephanie loves God and loves people, which is a fantastic combination for pastoral ministry. Stephanie and her husband Paul have full hands and even fuller hearts since the birth of twins August and Madeline in 2014, and Miles in 2016. Her favorite travel adventures include volunteering in a remote village in Nepal and hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. Her eclectic musical interests have led her to play violin with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, fiddle on the side, and become a founding member of the Current.
What do you like about the second Wednesday of the month?
Every second Wednesday 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.
How did your vocational search end up with the ordained ministry?
As a high school kid from a small town in Iowa, I had no idea I was on a "vocational search." I thought I wanted to be a pop music singer or an architect. But I couldn't play the guitar very well and my little high school gave me no background in math or physics. So I wandered off to Wartburg College and wandered into a double major of psychology and Greek. Now what do you do with that? You go to seminary, I guess. Which is what I did, although not very excited about being a parish pastor. I almost left after my second year, when the seminary leaders had the good wisdom to send me to intern in campus ministry at Iowa State. There I found my niche in the church and my vocation.
I have been, for the most part, a career campus pastor, serving on the campuses of the Universities of Miami, Pittsburgh, South Dakota State, Michigan and Minnesota. Campus ministry ironically was a place where I would help lots of young adults work through their own vocational identities. It's God's sense of humor--and affirmation, I guess. Later on I served the ELCA as a national staff person with responsibilities for campus ministries across the country. Now, in semi-retirement, I am listening again to the call to serve the church as an interim pastor in congregations. ECLC is a great place to live out my vocation as pastor, worship leader, and teacher. It is, indeed, good to be here!
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.
HIGH SCHOOL YOUTH MINISTER
What part of youth ministry excites you the most?
High-school youth are naturally faced with the question, "What do I want to do with my life?" As their senior year comes and goes, the question gets asked, "What do I do now?" One of my passions in youth ministry is vocational formation: being in solidarity with young people as they discern the meeting place of their gifts and the needs of the world. As young people eventually move beyond church walls to their "what do I do now?" place in life, my hope is that they have come to realize God is calling for them.
J.D. Mechelke grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota. he is currently living in Minneapolis and attending Augsburg College for his Bachelors in Youth and Family Ministry. His hobbies include back country camping by canoe or in the mountains, reading literature and nonfiction, and being a theology nerd. J.D. particularly enjoys the study of Latin American liberation theology along with the theology of death and dying. J.D.'s sister and parents now live in Englewood, FL. He is lucky enough to visit them on occasion, escaping to a more tropical climate.
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.
Retired • August 2017
The ECLC community has been blessed by the ministry of Pastor Erik Strand. We wish him a joy-filled retirement full of books, travel, and extra time with his family - especially his grandchildren.
ECLC Lay Leaders - COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
February 2017 - January 2018
Faith Formation: Adults
Children & Youth
Worship, Art & Music