Staff Board of Directors Curriculum Development Team Visioning & Design Task Force


Jay Beech – Executive Director from September 2013-April 2017
Jay Beech has long been recognized for his creative blending of musical energy and theological substance, and his ability to lift up ancient traditions within a modern context. His published works include hymns, liturgies, camp songs, musicals, and anthems which are sung each week in congregations throughout the United States. Jay is also the owner of BaytoneMusic.com, an online company that provides downloadable music resources for worship. He served on the music staff at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, MN for sixteen years and is a graduate of St. Olaf College.

Board of Directors

Kelly Chatman Roland Martinson Mark Ramseth Ann Svennungsen
John Christopherson Brenda Moore Dee Pederson

Kelly Chatman
Kelly ChatmanPastor Chatman serves Redeemer Lutheran Church, a vibrant, multi-racial ELCA congregation in North Minneapolis, and is director of the Redeemer Center for Life. He is also Advisor to the Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod ELCA, and previously served as their interim Director for Evangelical Mission. Kelly served five years as Director for Youth Ministries for the ELCA, and has served congregations in Washington, DC and Portland, OR.

Kelly’s passion is for liturgy that is powerful, welcoming, and communicates belonging.

John Christopherson
John ChristophersonJohn Christopherson currently serves as senior pastor at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD. He did his undergraduate studies at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, and received his M. Div. from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. His post-graduate work includes a dissertation fellowship at Harvard Divinity School, a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago, and a Pastor-Theologian Fellowship at Princeton’s Center for Theological Inquiry. John has served congregations in Chicago and Bozeman, MT, taught and served as Lutheran Campus Pastor at Montana State University, and worked as a hospital chaplain.

John is an accomplished musician on trumpet and piano, and he continues to “seek creative ways in which music can be played upon as an amazing instrument for Christian evangelism, molto vivo.”

Roland Martinson
rollie1Roland Martinson is retired from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN where he had served since 1977 teaching as professor of pastoral theology and ministry, children, youth, and family ministry, and most recently serving as academic dean. Early in his ministry he served congregations in Glendale, CA, and Fargo, ND. He holds degrees from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, Luther Seminary, and San Francisco Theological Seminary. A beloved speaker and author, Rollie helped to transform youth and family ministry in the Lutheran church and beyond.

“Because Spirit-filled, engaging worship is at the heart of faith and life, the Church needs faithful, competent, passionate Christian leadership discovering how to move well together with God and God’s people in these changing times.”

Brenda Moore
brenda_mooreBrenda Moore is passionate about faith, family, and philanthropy. Her experience spans 30+ years of professional resource development, campaign fundraising, asset stewardship, and philanthropic consulting work, primarily for ministry and church-related organizations. She is the owner of Brenda Moore and Associates LLC, an independent financial development and consulting firm, and has previously served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, and as a Gift Planner for the ELCA Foundation. Brenda holds degrees from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School.

Her avocation as a part-time church musician/worship leader began at age 13 playing piano/organ duets with her grandmother, and she has more recently she served as contemporary worship leader.

Dee Pederson – Chair
Dee PedersonDee Pederson is the Lead Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Cloud, MN where she has served since 1988. She also served congregations in Washburn, WI as a lay minister, Spicer, MN, and in Seoul Korea. She is a graduate of Luther College in Decorah, IA, and received both M.Div. and D.Min degrees from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Dee has served on the ELCA Church Council and Executive Committee, and chaired the churchwide task force, Living into the Future Together: Renewing the Ecology of the ELCA. She is deeply committed to ministry in the community and work that reaches across cultural boundaries, and has received an award from the St. Cloud chapter of the NAACP.

“I’m excited to be part of this collaboration that will serve God’s mission by supporting the worship life of congregations. It is in these local congregational contexts that we are joined to the Triune God and to one another, made new, and sent into God’s world.”

Mark Ramseth
RamsethMark Ramseth recently retired as President of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH. Previously he served as bishop of the Montana Synod, ELCA. As a parish pastor he led congregations in California, Washington, and Idaho, and developed a mission congregation in Billings, Montana. He was on the board of regents of two ELCA colleges and served as chair of the board of an ELCA seminary. In recent years he has been a commissioner with the Commission for Accreditation of The Association of Theological Schools. He is by avocation a cellist, performing with the Marin, CA and Billings, MT symphonies.

“Liturgy and the music of the church continues to be a critical place of entry for faith discovery, formation, and maturity.”

Ann Svennungsen
Ann SvennungsenAnn Svennungsen serves as bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA. She has previously served as president of Texas Lutheran University and as president of The Fund for Theological Education. Ann also founded and serves as director of The Presidents’ Pledge Against Global Poverty—an initiative inviting university presidents to pledge five percent of their annual income to combat global poverty. She was a Resident Scholar at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research at Saint John’s University. As a parish pastor Ann served congregations in Iowa and Minnesota, and as interim college pastor at St. Olaf. Her imagination for innovative ministry helped birth The Center for Worship & Music Studies through partnership with the Minneapolis Area, Southwestern MN, and South Dakota Synods.

“Music is vital – in worship, in our articulation of the good news of Jesus. Yet, as musical styles expand, we look for wisdom from the new Center for Worship & Music Studies, supporting the church as it seeks high quality music with theological integrity that invites the participation of all.”

Curriculum Development Team

Elizabeth Damico Kae Evensen Dirk Lange Chad Winterfeldt

Elizabeth Damico
Elizabeth DamicoElizabeth Damico is a gifted preacher and musician who serves as Pastor of Worship, Music, & the Arts at Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park, MN. She comes to the Twin Cities after serving as Pastor at Holden Village in Washington state. Elizabeth is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and of Luther Seminary in St. Paul.




Kae Evensen
Kae EvensenKae Evensen is one of the mission developer pastors at Mercy Seat, a unique new ELCA congregation in northeast Minneapolis. She writes a regular column for workingpreacher.org, is a published author and poet, and an adjunct professor of homiletics at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Kae previously served parishes in the St. Paul area and worked as a curriculum developer at Augsburg Fortress. She is a graduate of California Lutheran University and Luther Seminary.

“In Word and Sacrament, in story and song and liturgy, I am drawn through a particular worshipping community into the eschatological assurances of God, which transcend time and space. In the proclamation of Christ, we are undone, renewed, and transformed to live as an ordinary people in the world who bear the extraordinary promises of God.”

Dirk Lange
Dirk LangeDirk Lange’s ministerial experience has covered a wide spectrum of activities, but all under one umbrella: liturgy in the lives of people. He is currently Associate Professor of Worship at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN and has written extensively on the topic of liturgical theology including Trauma Recalled: Liturgy, Disruption, Theology (Fortress Press, 2009). For almost twenty years, he was a brother of the Taizé Community (France) and has served congregations in Atlanta, GA, and Philadelphia, PA. Dirk studied under Gordon Lathrop, Don Saliers, and Mark Jordan.

Chad Winterfeldt
Chad WinterfeldtChad Winterfeldt is a lifelong organist and church musician who serves as Cantor of Christ Chapel at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. In that role, he works with the Chaplains’ Office team to integrate faith and spirituality into the fullness of learning and life.  He is an active leader in the American Guild of Organists and the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. Chad served previously as Director of Music at First Lutheran in St. Peter and as Associate Organist for Christ the King Lutheran Church in Houston, TX. He holds degrees from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, Yale University, and The University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Chad is passionate about connecting historic liturgical patterns with the many diverse ways that music enlivens, invites, and deepens our participation in worship.

Visioning & Design Task Force

Jay Beech John Kerns Christian Scharen Tom Witt
Sonja Hagander April Larson Mark Strobel

Jay Beech

Rev. Dr. April Ulring Larson
April1April Larson holds the distinction of being the first woman to serve as a bishop in the ELCA, being elected in the La Crosse Area Synod in 1992. Prior to that time she had worked as a school music teacher, parish pastor, and bishop’s assistant. April brings a passion for music, congregational ministry, and has a deep love for the people and music of the global church. After completing her call as bishop, she served as senior pastor at First Lutheran in Duluth, MN. She has now retired with her husband, Pastor Judd Larson, to her childhood home of Decorah, IA. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Wartburg Seminary.

John Kerns
kernsey2“Kernsey” has been the Minister of Music at Spirit Garage, the Church With the Really Big Door, in Minneapolis since it began in 1997. A truly ground-breaking ministry, The Spirit Garage worships in The Music Box Theater on the south side of downtown, combining a love of Jesus, their neighborhood, rock music, and hot coffee. Kernsey shepherds three worship bands that play for their very edgy liturgical services each week. Under his leadership, their community has produced several CDs of original music, a Christmas concert DVD, and plays community concerts all year-round.

The son of a school music teacher and the grandson of a dance band leader, Kernsey is a gifted multi-instrumentalist. With musical influences ranging from Led Zepplin to Ben Folds to Tower of Power, he also leads his own modern rock outfit, Kerns and the Hemispheres, playing clubs, events, and showcasing his unique songwriting style and arrangements.  He is as comfortable gigging with Jonathan Rundman as he was singing in the choir at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, where he studied jazz guitar and music theory, graduating with a B.A. in Music Performance.

Sonja Hagander
sonja1Rev. Sonja Hagander is the Lead Pastor and Director of Campus Ministries at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN. She brings deep passion for helping young adults explore Christian vocation, creating lives of faith and service. She has also led several interfaith initiatives at Augsburg, the ELCA’s most diverse college. In that context, she plans and leads worship each week in a challenging but very energizing urban multi-faith community. She has served as Pastor-Theologian at the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton University, and as Chaplain and emcee to the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza Conference which hosts more than 1,000 pastors and youth leaders. Sonja holds degrees from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, Luther Seminary, and University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Tom Witt
witt2Tom Witt is a gifted and innovative keyboardist, serving as worship and song-leader for a wide variety of Lutheran and ecumenical events. Sharing his passion for music from the church all around the world, he was a founder of the ensemble, Bread for the Journey, and has served as musician-in-residence at Holden Village. Tom has been a key leader for many ELCA Global Mission events, and has helped mentor many young musicians. With Marty Haugen, Mary Preus, Susan Briehl, and Benjamin Stewart was part of the Living Liturgy teaching team that led worship and worship workshops across the United States. Tom is co-author with Susan Briehl of Holden Prayer Around the Cross: Handbook to the Liturgy and his recording of creative hymn improvisations, Dusting Off the Green Book, is widely known and appreciated. Tom currently serves as  music coordinator at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, MN.

Rev. Dr. Christian Scharen
Scharen1Christian Scharen serves as  the new Vice President for Applied Research at Auburn Seminary in New York, NY. Most recently he was Director of Contextual Learning and assistant professor of worship at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. He previously worked as Director of the Faith as a Way of Life Program at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture and as Assistant Professor of Congregational Studies and Practical Theology at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT. Chris has a deep love for creative innovation in worship and exploring the relationship between liturgy and culture as evidenced by two of his book titles, “One Step Closer: Why U2 Matters to Those Seeking God” and “Broken Hallelujahs: Thinking Popular Music Through the Cross.” He holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, and Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Rev. Mark Strobel
StrobelMark Strobel serves as a pastor in the Eastern ND Synod. He has brought his long-standing commitment to parish ministry and expertise as a worship planner and preacher to his writing for The Liturgical Press, Sundays and Seasons, and Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Mark has led many workshops on worship and has taught in the Leadership Program for Musicians. He is a graduate of Wartburg Seminary, in Dubuque, IA, and holds a degree in Liturgical Studies from St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN. In a previous life he was a DJ at a rock music radio station.