First Lutheran Church Pastoral & Staff Directory

Pastoral/Administrative Staff
To call a staff member, dial First Lutheran’s direct phone number (605) 339-1983 and use the extension located to the right of his/her name.
Pastor John Christopherson Rev. Dr. John R. Christopherson
Senior Pastor
ext. 203

Pastor John Christopherson, the oldest of three children, was born at Bagley, Minn. in 1956 to parents Pastor James and Dorothy Christopherson. He spent his elementary years in the Minneapolis and Montevideo, Minn. area, and high school years in Madison, S.D.

John describes himself as being “raised up in the womb of the church.” (His father is a Lutheran pastor and his mother is a composer of church music). He has fond memories of his time at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., and during those years he attended First Lutheran Church and played in the brass choir.

His wife, Cathy, is also a graduate of Augustana College, and received a M.S.E. in School Psychology from the University of Wisconsin. They have three children, Johnny, Sarah, and Matthew.

Pastor John has a great passion for music and is an accomplished musician in trumpet and piano. His hobbies include art, golf, mountain hiking, biking, reading, skiing Big Sky, Mont., with family, and writing. He also is a published author.

Professional Background:
B. A., Augustana College, Sioux Falls, S.D., 1979
M. Div., Luther Theological Seminary, 1983
Dissertation Fellowship, Harvard Divinity School (Paul Tillich Archive), 1993
Ph.D., the University of Chicago, 1995
Pastor-Theologian Fellowship, Princeton's Center for Theological Inquiry, 1998-2001

     
Pastor Katherine Olson
Rev. Katherine Olson
Part-time Associate Pastor
Evangelism, Mission, and Outreach
ext. 214
kolson [at] flcsf [dot] org

 


     
 Pastor Lars Olson

Rev. L. Lars Olson
Associate Pastor
Adult Discipleship & Youth and Family Ministries
ext. 210
lolson [at] flcsf [dot] org

Lars Olson was born to Charles and Barbara Olson about an hour south of San Francisco, California. Along with his older brother, Sven, and his younger sister, Kari, Lars attended Los Altos Lutheran Church and the now disbanded Light of Life Lutheran.

Attending the University of California, Santa Barbara, Lars studied mechanical engineering. After a few short years working back in the Silicon Valley, he accepted a position at Mt. Cross Lutheran camp in the Santa Cruz mountains. He served there as program director for two years, before moving on to full time congregational youth ministry at Tanque Verde Lutheran in Tucson, Arizona.

After three years in the desert, Lars and Katherine both moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, to attend Luther Seminary, and were married in 2003. After an internship in Mexico City, Pastor Lars was ordained and served his first call at St. Luke’s Lutheran in Lima, Ohio. Next, the Olson’s were called to serve St. Paul’s Lutheran in downtown Toledo, Ohio. Now along with Katherine and their children, Carl, Lena, and Ingrid, Pastor Lars has been called to serve First Lutheran in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Pastor Lars greatly enjoys playing basketball and soccer, and enjoys downhill skiing when the mountains are big enough. In terms of ministry, Pastor Lars truly enjoys preaching and teaching Bible study and theology that bring the good news of Jesus Christ right into the lives of youth and adults. One of his core beliefs is that it is a grave sin to bore people with the Bible.

Professional Background:
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1996
Master of Divinity, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota.Recipient of the G.M. and Minnie Bruce Prize in New Testament

     
Pastor Barbara Wangsness Rev. Barbara Wangsness
Associate Pastor
Pastoral Care
ext. 212
bwl [at] flcsf [dot] org

Pastor Barbara Wangsness is a native of Decorah, Iowa. The youngest of three children, she was raised in a rural family that faced the hardships through the grace-gift of a strong Christian faith. She is a “cradle Lutheran,” whose Norwegian ancestors homesteaded in Minnehaha County.

Married to a Lutheran pastor who was born in Colombia, she speaks of the joys and challenges of being a bi-cultural family and of the richness available in the diversity of cultural interactions.

Pastor Barbara rates the following areas as high priority: preaching, worship, leadership, ministering in crisis and visitation. All of these complement a pastor who is called to serve First Lutheran Church in the area of Pastoral Care.

Along with her husband, the Rev. Natanael Lizarazo, they are the founders of two ministry organizations whose focus is formal education, international relationships, Christian leadership development and church growth in Colombia. The ministry organization in the United States is Leadership & Development LIZWAN Inc. In Colombia, the ministry organization is The Emmaus Road Foundation.

Pastor Barbara and her husband, the Rev. Natanael Lizarazo, have a daughter Liz.

Professional Background:
B.A./Physical Education, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, 1971
M. Div. Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa, 1988

     
Pastor Jim Christopherson Rev. James Christopherson
Visitation Pastor
ext. 202

Pastor Jim Christopherson calls Valley City, N. D., his home town. He graduated from high school and attended one year of college in Valley City before attending Augsburg College and Seminary (now Luther Seminary). He served three parishes in Minnesota (Bagley, Minneapolis, and Montevideo) and three in South Dakota (Madison, Canton, Our Savior’s in Sioux Falls).

He and his wife, Dorothy, joined First Lutheran Church and he is currently serving as a visitation pastor. Duties as a visitation pastor include visiting hospitals and sometimes visiting members in nursing homes and in their own homes. He also leads Bible Studies, text studies and sometimes presides at a worship service and help serve communion. He is willing to serve wherever needed.

If you were to ask him, “What is your favorite part of ministry at First Lutheran?”, he would say, visitation ministry is number one and a very close second would be leading Bible Studies.

Professional Background:
Augsburg College and Seminary, Minneapolis, Minn.
M. Div., Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

     
Pastor Dave Johnson Rev. Dave Johnson
Senior Pastor Emeritus ext. 202
 
     
Pastor LeRoy Nevin Rev. LeRoy Nevin
Visitation Pastor
ext. 202

Pastor LeRoy Nevin was born in Cumberland, Wis. to his parents Samuel and Gertude Nevin. He spent his six elementary years at Clinton rural school, his junior high years at Cumberland and graduates from Barron High School.

He was blessed by his Christian higher education at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minn. and enjoyed singing in the Augsburg choir and male chorus. As a pre-seminary student, he graduates from Augsburg and enrolled that fall in Augsburg Theological Seminary in Minneapolis. He loved the Biblical and theological studies with such a close relationship with faculty and 30 fellow classmates!

His wife Elaine and he started dating in high school, and after her graduation, she later became the bookkeeper for the national Augustana Lutheran Church office in Minneapolis, Minn. They were united in marriage in July of 1955 in Cumberland, Wis. Elaine enjoyed Augustana very much, until their first child was born. Now they have four children: Philip, Joyce, Paul, Joel and three daughter-in-laws. They also are blessed with six grandchildren, whom they love.

Both of them enjoy their membership and ministry at First Lutheran Church, visiting with their families in Sioux Falls, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. and with their relatives in Wis. In their free time, they enjoy reading, visiting, traveling, attending school, church, music and sports events, plus church worship with their children and grandchildren.

Professional Background:
B.A, Augsburg College, Minneapolis, Minn. 1956
B.Th., Augsburg Theological Seminary, Minneapolis, Minn. 1959
M. Div., Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. 1964
CPE, Clinical Pastoral Education, Lutheran Hospital, La Crosse, Wis. 1987

     
Pastor Franklin Pudas Rev. Franklin Pudas
Visitation Pastor
ext. 202

Pastor Franklin Pudas was born at Sebeka, Minn. and raised at Cloquet, Minn. near Duluth. He is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead where he majored in music and sang in the Concordia Choir. His seminary training was at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.

He married Marit Running at Decorah, Iowa in 1957. They have two sons, Jonathan and Joseph, four grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.

Pastor Pudas served as parish pastor at Rosholt, S.D. for ten years and at First Lutheran Church in Mitchell, S.D. for sixteen years before moving to Sioux Falls in 1984. He served as a Charitable Gift Planner with the ELCA Foundation and as an interim Associate Director of the Foundation in Chicago.

He has been active in Boy Scouting serving as a scoutmaster in Mitchell. Other community activities have included singing in choral groups, Rotary Club, and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation as regional trustee and local support group leader. He and Marit enjoy classical music events and museum hopping during their travels. In addition, they enjoy flower gardening and biking.

After attending Gloria Dei Lutheran Church for twenty-five years where they were charter members, they transferred their membership to First Lutheran Church in 2009 when Pastor Pudas joined the staff as a Visitation Pastor.

Professional background:
B.A., Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.
B.Th, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.
M.Div., Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

     
Austin Nickel
Austin Nickel
Pastoral Care Associate
ext. 202

Responsibilities: Visit members who are unable to leave their homes, visit those who are in the hospital, and other pastoral care work as needed. 

 

     
Marilyn McNeill Marilyn McNeill
Church Administrator
ext. 236
mmcneill [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: I direct the non-program functions of the church, including financial management, human resources, facility/property management, office administration and the radio and television broadcasts.

Background: I grew up on a farm in White Lake, S.D., with eight brothers and sisters. I have two adult children and a precious granddaughter. I enjoy reading and walking.

Favorite part of my job: The people I get to work with—the members and the staff. I especially like the variety in my position.

     
Debbie Garcia

Debbie Garcia
Pastors’ Secretary
ext. 202

dgarcia [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: As secretary to the pastors, I assist in planning for worship, arranging for meetings and scheduling visits to the hospitals. I coordinate the prayer chain, the wedding calendar, the Information Desk volunteers and the greeters. Serving as the staff secretary for the Adult Discipleship, Media Ministry, Outreach, and Pastoral Care Boards and the recording secretary for the Church Council is also a part of my responsibilities.

     
Youth, Family & Young Adult Ministries
To call a staff member, dial First Lutheran’s direct phone number (605) 339-1983 and use the extension located to the right of his/her name.
Erik Aamlid Erik Aamild
Director of High School & Middle School Ministries
ext. 235
eaamlid [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: I work with all things related to high school and middle school youth activities.

Background: I grew up in Sioux Falls, attending First Lutheran Church. I studied elementary education at the University of Sioux Falls, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 2009. I was a camp counselor at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp at Flathead Lake, Mont., for two summers and worked most recently as the director of youth ministry at Christ Lutheran Church in Whitefish, Mont. I love outdoor activities, hanging out, and helping lead kids in the adventure of faith.

     
Marnie Dahle Backer Marnie Dahle Backer
Director of Family & Young Adult Ministries
ext. 204
mdbacker [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: I work with all things related to youth and young adult ministries, including family ministry.

Background: I grew up in the great North Dakota small town of Mohall and the capital city Bismarck. But my true North Dakota home is Lake Metigoshe where my parents and grandparents each had cabins that we spent a lot of time at growing up. We moved to Sioux Falls when I was a junior in high school. I graduated from Washington High where I first met my husband, Jeff. Jeff and I have been married since 1995 and we have 2 amazing boys, Harrison and Finnigan. I went to Augustana College where I then worked for 11 years as the director of outreach ministries. Since 2001, I have worked at First Lutheran. I love music (James Taylor especially!), being outside, reading, being at the lake, and spending time with friends and family.

Favorite part of my job: My favorite part of my work at FLC is the people for sure! There are so many interesting dynamics in the life of one person. Helping them to move through their journey knowing that God is with them wherever they go is amazing.

     
Nancy Henrichsen Nancy Henrichsen
Director of Children’s Ministries
ext. 238
nancyh [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: I am responsible for FaithWalkers (Sunday school), which takes place on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. (FaithWalkers are 3-year-olds through fifth-graders.) I also work with Marnie and Melody in Family Ministry, helping to organize activities that reach across age boundaries. Melody and I team with Irma Rodriguez to provide nursery care for infants through 2 year olds.

Background: I was raised in Rapid City, S.D., and graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. with degrees in theatre and elementary education. I indulge in music, travel and theatre in my spare time.

Favorite part of my job: Since my two children are raised, it’s especially fun for me to continue to watch young children grow and change. I love singing with them!

     
Irma Rodriguez Leon Irma Rodriguez Leon
Nursery Attendant
ext. 228

Responsibilities: Provides childcare in the nursery during worship services on Sunday mornings.

Background: I am a native of Colombia. I am a mother and grandmother and work as a nanny during the week. I also work part-time with Hispanic ministry at Augustana Lutheran.

Favorite part of my job: Being a part of the FLC community.

     
Kristy Zuraff Kristy Zuraff
Administrative Assistant
ext. 228
kzuraff [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: Mailings related to events, room reservations, camps and event registrations, entering attendance for confirmation and FaithWalkers, scheduling acolytes and meeting minutes.

Background: I grew up in Sioux Falls. I’m married to Paul Zuraff and have two sons, Joshua and Shawn. We also have three dogs Shade, Kayle and Tucker, and a cat, Maggie Mae. I like to cook, read, travel, and go boating and camping. I also enjoy going to wineries.

Favorite part of my job: My favorite part of being here is working with all of the great people, staff and volunteers. Everyone is so nice and would do anything for you.

     
Financial Services
To call a staff member, dial First Lutheran’s direct phone number (605) 339-1983 and use the extension located to the right of his/her name.
LaVonne Wolf LaVonne Wolf
Financial Specialist
ext. 211
lwolf [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: I work with all things related to finances, such as contributions, memorials, yearly pledges, radio and television sponsorships and all functions pertaining to accounts payable, general ledger, and payroll-related items.

Background: I grew up in Minnesota in a rural farming community. My parents gave me the foundation for my faith and my Christian upbringing. My husband, Don, and I have passed this foundation off to our three children who are all married and starting families of their own. My hobbies include reading and putting together scrapbooks for my three grandchildren.

Favorite part of my job: The interaction that I get to have with so many wonderful church members. This church is such an awesome place, and the potential for its continued growth due to the loyalty of each and every member is amazing. The staff is very dedicated to working hard for the church and its many ministries. With God’s blessings, First Lutheran Church will flourish. It is a great blessing for me to be a part of it.

     
 
   

 

     
Media Ministries
To call a staff member, dial First Lutheran’s direct phone number (605) 339-1983 and use the extension located to the right of his/her name.
John Cerwinske John Cerwinske
Soundboard Technician
ext. 213

Responsibilities: Takes care of soundboard for Sunday morning services.

     
Raelynn Coldwell

Raelynn Coldwell
Communications Assistant/Graphic Designer
ext. 213
rcoldwell [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: I work on the weekly bulletins.  I also help with the annual report, devotionals, brochures, posters and more. I also prep the weekly worship service broadcast and schedule our broadcast volunteers. On the electronic side, I work on First Lutheran’s website.

Background: I graduated from Mount Marty College with a bachelor of arts degree in graphic design with a minor in business. I am from Rapid City, S.D. and enjoy outdoor recreational activities such as running, snowboarding and frisbee golf.

Favorite part of my job: I have had a passion for involvement within the church from a young age starting in my home parish and continuing into the many fulfilling life experiences in college and now into the professional working world. It will be exciting as I get to know this community. It is a huge gift, as all things are, from God.

     
Kathy Hein Kathy Hein
Broadcast Technical Director
ext. 213

Responsibilities: Directing the weekly broadcast on KSFY and KELO-FM, including working with volunteers who operate soundboards and cameras and announce, and placing the computer graphics on screen. Also, publishing the weekly YouTube video.

     
Bryce Jarrett Bryce Jarrett
Broadcast Technical Director
ext. 213

Responsibilities: Directing the weekly broadcast on KSFY and KELO-FM, including working with volunteers who operate soundboards and cameras and announce, and placing the computer graphics on screen. Also, publishing the weekly YouTube video.

     
     
     
Dave Palmer David Palmer
Broadcast Technical Director
ext. 213
Responsibilities: Directing the weekly broadcast on KSFY and KELO-FM, including working with volunteers who operate soundboards and cameras and announce, and placing the computer graphics on screen. Also, publishing the weekly YouTube video.
     
Kerrie Vilhauer Kerrie Vilhauer
Communications Coordinator
ext. 252
kvilhauer [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: I edit and design First Lutheran’s monthly newspaper, the First Word, and work on other print pieces such as bulletins, the annual report, devotionals, brochures and more. On the electronic side, I work on First Lutheran’s website and Facebook page. We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to get the word out!

Background: I grew up in Sioux Falls and had a five-year stint in St. Cloud, Minn., before coming back home. I love to cook (I have a drawer full of spices to prove it) and spending time outside. I’m married to another communicator, Corey, and we have two children (three if you count the terrier). 

Favorite part of my job: I’m in awe of the many caring and wonderful people who call First Lutheran home. I enjoy getting to know the many volunteers who work so hard in service to the Lord.

     
Joe Ward Joe Ward
Broadcast Technical Director
ext. 213
Responsibilities: Directing the weekly broadcast on KSFY and KELO-FM, including working with volunteers who operate soundboards and cameras and announce, and placing the computer graphics on screen. Also, publishing the weekly YouTube video.
     
Outreach Ministries
To call a staff member, dial First Lutheran’s direct phone number (605) 339-1983 and use the extension located to the right of his/her name.
Linda Carpenter Linda Carpenter
Visitor/Volunteer Coordinator
ext. 231
lcarpenter [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: I coordinate volunteers for a variety of First Lutheran and community activities. In addition, I organize and lead the new member Discovery Orientations. If you’re interested in membership at First Lutheran, please contact me; we would love to see you around the church!

Background: I was born in Des Moines, Iowa, later moved to Estherville, Iowa, and then Montgomery, Ala. I have two children, Amber and Hunter and a step-son, Cory. My husband, Scott, is in the Air National Guard. My hobbies are exercising, riding on the motorcycle, sitting outside on the patio and spending time with my family and friends.

Favorite part of my job: Feeling like part of a big family with my co-workers and members of the church. I really like working with all of the wonderful and friendly members. I enjoy being a part of all the volunteering that happens here and the impact it makes at First Lutheran and in the community.

     
Pastoral Care Ministries
To call a staff member, dial First Lutheran’s direct phone number (605) 339-1983 and use the extension located to the right of his/her name.
Paula Bartels Paula Bartels
Parish Nurse
ext. 234
nurse [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: the parish nurse serves as an advocate for parishioners, encourages healthy living, body, mind and spirit.

Background: I grew up on a farm south of Spencer, Iowa with my parents and one younger brother, Paul. I received my RN training from Sioux Valley School of Nursing and completed the Parish Nurse Course at Augustana College in 2005. My husband is Lowell and we have three adult children and three young grandsons. I enjoy nature and the outdoors, going for walks, listening to good music, reading and people.

Favorite part of my job: Getting to know the people and staff at First Lutheran, and working with so many talented volunteers!

     
Arlene Bich Arlene Bich
Wedding Coordinator
ext. 202

Responsibilities: The wedding coordinator has an initial meeting with the couple to discuss the arrangements and to give them a tour of the facilities. She conducts the rehearsal. On the day of the wedding she checks  that the sanctuary is prepared, assists with last-minute details,  and ensures that the ceremony occurs as planned by the couple.

Background: My early childhood days were on up a farm, by Redfield, S.D., the youngest of seven children, until age11 when we moved into town as my older brothers took over the farm. I attended Augustana College where I met my husband, Howard. We have been married nearly 46 years, have three children, and seven grandchildren. We're an "Augustana" family, as only one son-in-law did not attend Augie.

We lived in Wagner, S.D. for 34 years, where my husband was a teacher and headcoach of basketball, track and field, and later started cross-country. I worked at the Community Hospital for 23 years.

We have found since moving to Sioux Falls, that we really have to keep a calendar for our travels, our volunteer activities (church, Augustana, Pavilion) and the many other opportunities available to us here in the city! Music has always been a part of my life and I sang four years in the Augustana Choir, and 50 years ago we toured Norway and Germany in celebration of the college's 100 Anniversary! I now sing in the Adult and Women's choirs at First Lutheran. We joined First Lutheran five years ago when we moved to Sioux Falls. I felt like I was "coming back home" as this is where I attended church during my college days!

Favorite part of my job: I enjoy my job as a Wedding Coordinator at First Lutheran. It's always such a joyful day for everyone, and it’s a great way to meet so many young people!

     
Dr. Mark Britzman Dr. Mark Britzman
Christian Counselor (consultant)
ext. 202
 
     
Jennifer Garretts-Masters Jennifer Gerrietts-Masters
Wedding Coordinator
ext. 202

Responsibilities: The wedding coordinator has an initial meeting with the couple to discuss the arrangements and to give them a tour of the facilities. She conducts the rehearsal. On the day of the wedding she checks  that the sanctuary is prepared, assists with last-minute details,  and ensures that the ceremony occurs as planned by the couple.

     
Nancy Nolop Nancy Nolop
Wedding Coordinator
ext. 202

Responsibilities: The wedding coordinator has an initial meeting with the couple to discuss the arrangements and to give them a tour of the facilities. She conducts the rehearsal. On the day of the wedding she checks  that the sanctuary is prepared, assists with last-minute details,  and ensures that the ceremony occurs as planned by the couple.

Background: I came to Sioux Falls by way of Minnesota. I'm a graduate of Drake University. I have raised three daughters and have seven grandchildren. I am a professional artist, teacher, singer and pianist.

Every wedding is creative and different and it gives me such pleasure to help couples make their day a memorable Christian experience.
At First Lutheran, I am active in choirs, circle and the bazaar.  

     
Melody Roberts Melody Roberts
Caring Ministries Coordinator
ext. 262
mroberts [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: Assist Pastor Barbara with Pastoral Care events, visitation pastors, and to oversee on-going programming.

Background: I grew up in Sioux Falls and I'm married with two children.

Favorite part of my job: Seeing all the smiling faces.

     
Property and Administrative Services
To call a staff member, dial First Lutheran’s direct phone number (605) 339-1983 and use the extension located to the right of his/her name.
     
Rick East Rick East
Custodian
ext. 232

Responsibilities: To serve the church by providing custodial services to church buildings and grounds. My main duties include taking care of the Parish Education Building, and I also work during worship on Sundays.

Background: I love fixing things, working with my hands and figuring out solutions. I like NASCAR, listening to music and fishing.

Favorite part of my job: I enjoy working with and meeting new people. I hope to grow stronger in my faith.

     
Jeff Hartnett Jeff Hartnett
Custodian
ext. 232

Responsibilities: To serve the church by providing custodial services to church buildings and grounds.  I maintain the overall church appearance both internally and externally concentrating on the sanctuary building.

Background: My hobbies include NASCAR and football.

     
Deb Koch Deb Koch
Kitchen Assistant/Custodian
ext. 232

Kitchen Assistant responsibilities: Maintain the kitchens of First Lutheran Church on a weekly basis and launder kitchen towels and washclothes as needed.

Custodial responsibilities: Serves as an on-call custodian caring for the church building and grounds.

     
Judi Mueller Judi Mueller
Receptionist/Member Secretary
ext. 201
receptionist [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: Answering the phone, updating membership information, completing forms for baptisms, weddings and new member classes, arranging funerals, checking the newspaper for deaths and births, updating the calendar and helping members that come in with different things.

 

     
Rob Oswald Rob Oswald
Facilities Manager
ext. 232

Responsibilities: To serve the church by supervising the care and maintenance of church building and grounds, and overseeing the efficient preparation of facilities in order to accommodate the varied programs presented in the church buildings.

Background: I am an avid runner and participate in marathons.

     
 Cleo Sorenson

Cleo Sorensen
Receptionist/Member Secretary
ext. 201
receptionist [at] flcsf [dot] org

 

Responsibilities: Answering the phone, updating membership information, completing forms for baptisms, weddings and new member classes, arranging funerals, checking the newspaper for deaths and births, updating the calendar and helping members that come in with different things.

Background: Cleo loves to garden. She also loves to can and freezer her harvests. She keeps busy in the summer by facilitating a garden at Hope Care, a childcare program sponsored by Hope Lutheran Church. Cleo also likes sewing and quilting.

Best part of her job: Meeting all of the people.

     
 Pat Svennes

Pat Svennes
Receptionist/Member Secretary
Ext. 201
receptionist [at] flcsf [dot] org

 Responsibilities: Answering the phone, updating membership information, completing forms for baptisms, weddings and new member classes, arranging funerals, checking the newspaper for deaths and births, updating the calendar and helping members that come in with different things
Worship and Music Ministries
To call a staff member, dial First Lutheran’s direct phone number (605) 339-1983 and use the extension located to the right of his/her name.
Shirley Barlow Shirley Barlow
Administrative Assistant
ext. 261
sbarlow [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: I am the administrative assistant for Worship and Music, responsible for a variety of worship-related function including, but not limited to, scheduling worship volunteers and planning and proofing the bulletin.

Background: I grew up in Madison, S.D. I am married to Gary and we have two children and five grandchildren.

Favorite part of my job: The people.

     
Michael Elsbernd Dr. Michael Elsbernd
Director of Music
ext. 260
melsbernd [at] flcsf [dot] org

Responsibilities: My responsibilities include overseeing the entire music program, music staff, scheduling choirs and ensembles, working with the pastoral staff to collaboratively plan worship services, serve as principal organist at weekly and festival services, director of the Agape Ringers, Belle Campane, and Good Vibrations, associate director of the Adult Choir and develop the Piano Laboratory Program.

Background: I grew up in Ossian, Iowa, a small town near Decorah.  My hobbies include seed starting, perennial, and vegetable gardening, and biking.

Favorite part of my job: Playing the organ, conducting choirs, and teaching in the piano lab.

     
Donna Hamilton

Donna Hamilton
Carol Choir Accompanist
ext. 261

Responsibilities: Carol Choir Accompanist

Background: I grew up on a farm in the Aberdeen, S.D., area. I began taking organ lessons when I was 8 years old. I started playing organ for a church at age 15. I graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University and have 20 years of teaching experience.

Favorite part of my job: I look forward to sharing my passion and love for music with the children of First Lutheran.

     
Jerry Hanson

Dr. Jerry Hanson
Director of Music Emeritus
ext. 261

 
     
 Ali Hoffman Ali Hoffman
Bell choir director
ext. 261

Responsibilities: Director of Good Vibrations I and Belle Campane.

Background: Ali graduated from Augustana College with a degree in vocal and instrumental education. She teaches general music and band at Memorial Middle School and Patrick Henry Middle School. She also teaches voice, piano and clarinet lessons.

Best part of the job: I played in the bell choir at First Lutheran not too long ago and loved it, so I hope I can make it as enjoyable an experience as I had. I am looking forward to making music and having fun with the youth of the church while doing it!

     
Marcia Kittelson Marcia Kittelson
Organist Emerita
ext. 261

Responsibilities: Served as church organist and Adult Choir accompanist. Marcia retired June 30, 2009.

Background: I grew up in Aberdeen, S.D. I am married to John and we have two children and four grandchildren. My hobbies include travel, knitting, reading and our new puppy.

Favorite part of my job: Ministering to the FLC congregation through hymns, liturgy and organ literature.

     
Bonnie Lindgren Bonnie Lindgren
Carol Choir Director
ext. 261

Responsibilities: I am thrilled and privileged to serve as director of Carol Choir, first- through fourth-grades. We have 50 children in the choir. In addition, I supervise extended events for the choir members to socialize and to reach out to the community. I also direct the Motion Choir, a volunteer group of third and fourth grade girls from Carol Choir. Each year I write a children’s service (“From the Children”). The children deliver the message, sing the songs, take the offering, play the instruments—all the time praising the Lord and serving His people.

Background: My family lived mostly in the Minneapolis area and in Willmar, Minn. I was the fourth-born of six children. We lived a family-centered life and church was the top priority. I earned my undergraduate degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and my master’s degree from Augustana College, here in Sioux Falls. For many years I taught vocal music in the Sioux Falls elementary schools. My favorite things to do are singing, writing, walking, talking to children, and going to movies, concerts, and the theater.

Favorite part of my job: The CHILDREN, of course! I receive such joy joining with these faithful disciples to praise the Lord!

     
Paul Nesheim

Dr. Paul Nesheim
Adult Choir Director
ext. 261

Responsibilities: Adult Choir Director and Women's Choir Director

Background: Paul is also an associate professor of music at Augustana College where he conducts the Augustana Choir and teaches courses in choral conducting and methods. He and his wife have two children, Luther and Linnea. Among his favorite activities are golf, spending time with family, and reading about health and nutrition.

Comments about his job: "I have a great appreciation for the directors who have so faithfully built and nurtured the choirs and the music program over the years, and for the strong support that the music program continues to receive from the pastors, staff, and people of the congregation. I feel very blessed by and am greatly looking forward to this opportunity to help continue the wonderful legacy of music ministry at First Lutheran.

 

     
Larry Olson

Larry Olson
Contemporary Worship Coordinator
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Responsibilities: Music for the 11 a.m. worship service

     
Sue Severson Sue Severson
Accompanist
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Responsibilities: Accompanist
     
Pam Sonnichsen Pam Sonnichsen
Instrumental Coordinator
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Responsibilities: I am instrumental coordinator at First Lutheran and have been for over 30 years. It is my responsibility to contact musicians to participate in our church orchestra and brass choir, fill folders, and prepare the seating chart for the instrumentalists. I am also responsible for contacting instrumentalists for summer music. From 2006–2009 I had the privilege of directing our middle school choir, Jubilant Singers.

Background: I was baptized, confirmed and married at First Lutheran Church in Pipestone, Minn. I graduated from Pipestone High School, Augustana College with a B.A. in Music, and from the University of South Dakota with a Master's Degree in Education. I have taught vocal and instrumental music in Minnesota, California, and South Dakota. Thirty-four of those years were at Whittier Middle School in Sioux Falls. South Dakota Symphony, Rochester Symphony, Austin Symphony, and Sioux Empire Brass are among the groups that I have had the opportunity to play trumpet. I have one sister, Mary, who is also very involved in music. My husband Dave and I have five children, two son-in-laws, one daughter-in-law and seven grandchildren. I enjoy playing trumpet, swimming, reading, sewing, playing with grandchildren, and visiting with friends.

Favorite part of my job: My favorite part of the work I do at FLC is the opportunity to share life's faith journey with so many special people. It is also an honor to be part of the process of providing music which gives glory to God.