Pilgrim Practices Shared Ministry

We affirm that each member of this community is a minister both within and beyond the walls of the church, which we affirm in baptism.  We partner with one another and with the wider ELCA to walk together in this journey of faith. We agree to share the decision-making responsibilities of being a church, as well as the joy of serving in mission, side-by-side. We welcome all to become involved through the use of their abilities, time, and resources.  Every program, group, or emphasis within our congregation is sustained by the involvement of the ministers of the Pilgrim community.

Staff 

The Rev. Carol Tomer, Lead Pastor

Pastor Carol Tomer, Pilgrim's Lead Pastor, has served at Pilgrim since December 28, 1998, following earlier pastoral positions at the International Church of Stockholm (Sweden), Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA), Gethsemane Lutheran Church (Seattle, WA), and Holden Village (Chelan, WA).  A native of Park Ridge, Illinois, Pastor Tomer's degrees are from Luther College and Harvard Divinity School (where she was awarded second place in Billings Prize Competition in Preaching), with additional study at Luther Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary.

 

Before ordination, Pastor Tomer taught at Golden Valley Lutheran College, served on the staff of American Lutheran Church Women (coordinating the Woman to Woman program, of global woman church leaders visiting ALC districts), was a campus minister at University Lutheran Church at Michigan State University, was special assistant to the Director of Radcliffe College Career Services, and did her seminary internship at St. Olaf College and St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield, MN. She has done research on alternative Christian communities in Scotland and England, chaired the Synod Worship Committee of the Northwest Washington Synod of the ELCA, and has served on the Board of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, the Planning Team for the 2004 ELCA Clergywomen Head of Staff Academy, the training team for the new ELCA Worship Book in the Saint Paul Area Synod, and the St. Olaf College Church Relations Advisory Board.  She has been Co-President of the Lutheran Network for Inclusive Vision, President of the board of Lutheran Campus Ministry of Minnesota, dean (for 6 years) of the South Central Conference of the Saint Paul Area Synod, as well as serving on the Saint Paul Area Synod Council and Synod Executive Committee, the Synod Consultation Committee, the board of the Minnesota chapter of Interfaith Power and Light (formerly Congregations Caring for Creation), the Wisdom Ways Celtic Soul Advisory Circle, and as a member for over 25 years of the Luther College Alumni Board.   She currently serves on the Luther College Twin Cities Lunch Connection Planning Team, the Nominating Committee of the Minnesota Council of Churches, the Saint Paul Area Synod Mission Strategy Committee, and the Board of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

 

In recent years, she has written "Images for Preaching" in the Augsburg Fortress resource Sundays and Seasons, and a few articles for Lutheran Women Today, including a piece titled "Act Boldly in Contemplation" in the March 2006 issue. She is the recipient of a Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Endowment, in support of her own sabbatical as well as the congregation's renewal, and was chosen for a "Writing and the Pastoral Life" week at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research. She was the chief "architect" of the two Worship Renewal Grants that Pilgrim received in 2002 and 2003/04 from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and was a co-leader of the team representing Pilgrim in its selection for and participation in the Yale Congregations Project. Her interests in contextually-based creative liturgical design have included arranging eucharistic settings for particular festivals and seasons and being co-creator of the Celtic and Nordic contemplative evening services, as well as Nordic Morning Prayer, offered at Pilgrim.  For several years, she has created a "Faith Goes to the Movies" Epiphany Sermon Series, connecting current movies to the appointed scripture texts, and recently created the “Faith Goes on a Local Pilgrimage” Summer Sermon Series.  She regularly leads pilgrimage groups to the Iona Community in Scotland (led the fourth group in summer, 2016) and to Holden Village in Washington State. She feels blessed to serve a congregation with the mission of being "a home for hungry minds and souls," for she has a special commitment to those who live prophetically, yet with some sense of exile, at the edge of the Christian tradition. Some of her other joys include singing (she sang with the Weston Noble Alumni Choir, summer, 2015), flute playing, dancing, hiking, traveling, and always, shared laughter!

Pastor Jen Rome, Pastor of Next Generation Ministries

Jen Rome comes with joy and excitement to join Pilgrim Lutheran Church as Pastor for Next Generation Ministries. She has 17 years of experience in bringing people of all generations to deeply experience and creatively connect with God, the world, and each other.  She studied English at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, attended Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, and received her Masters of Divinity Princeton Theological Seminary in 2000. She previously served as Pastor for Children, Youth, and Family with Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Eagan, Minnesota for nearly 17 years. Nationally and locally, she presents and leads workshops on cross-generational, multi-sensory, interactive faith formation for church professionals and lay leaders. She and her husband, Zach, along with their two daughters, live inter-generationally with Zach’s parents in a duplex in the St. Paul.  Their family shares the love of geeking out about things that express our passions and bring joy.  Jen entertains herself by walking instead of driving as much as she can, making things beautiful, and reading children’s and adolescent literature.

Pastor Lynn Peterson, Pastor in Residence

Pastor Lynn Peterson loves sharing the journey of faith, life and service with Pilgrim’s welcoming community. She has shared pulpit and worship at Pilgrim for two decades, and now, as Pastor in Residence, partners in Pilgrim’s pastoral care ministry. Lynn was born and raised in Minneapolis. She graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Human Biology. Education for marginalized learners, global living and justice work have been commitments throughout her life and ministry; wilderness times and places are her joy and passion. Prior to attending seminary, she worked with Outward Bound Schools and the National Youth Leadership Council, consulted with the ALC in leadership training and experiential education, traveled in Africa and Central America and studied liberation theology/work in South Africa. She graduated from Luther Seminary and was ordained in 1988. She has served lively congregations in Washington and Minnesota, always with an emphasis on global mission, community and justice ministries. After serving congregations for 25 years, she embraced a call to Community Emergency Service, an emergency resource center for Minneapolis’ multi-ethnic, poverty-challenged Philips neighborhood. She has raised her daughter, adopted from Cambodia, as a single mother.  In her retirement, she shares her home with her daughter and new grandson. She still delights in all things outdoors, especially kayaking and canoeing. She loves gardening and enjoys working part time at Bachman’s Garden Center. Her passion for global mission continues in her work as President of the Board and mission trip leader with Lutheran Health Care Bangladesh in rural southern Bangladesh. She treasures family and friends, solo times, prayer and poetry, and, of course, God’s wild places.

Paul Stever, Music & Chancel Choir Director, Organist

Paul Stever comes from Scottsdale, Arizona, where he began piano study with his grandmother at the age of eight. As a junior in high school, he received a scholarship for organ study from the Central Arizona chapter of the American Guild of Organists. These intensive studies, combined with a love of church music and choral music, led him to attend St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where he completed BM degrees in Church Music-Organ and Vocal Music Education. He studied organ at St. Olaf with Catherine Rodland and John Ferguson. Since then, Paul has received an MM in Choral Music Education from Arizona State University, a Choir Master (ChM) certificate from the American Guild of Organists, and an MM degree in Organ Performance, with a Certificate in Liturgical Studies, from Colorado State University. He has been the Music Director, Chancel Choir Director, and Organist for Pilgrim Lutheran Church since July 2012. He also enjoys cooking, yoga, and playing with his daughter Emily.

Josh Moss, Director of Faith Formation and Shared Ministry

josh.moss.ffsm@gmail.com

Josh Moss comes to Pilgrim Lutheran Church as our new Director of Faith Formation and Shared Ministry. He is a distributed learning student at Wartburg Theological Seminary and a candidate to be rostered as a deacon in the ELCA. He grew up in southern Appalachia and the spent much of his free time in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee.  Josh completed his BA at Maryville College where he studied 18th and 19th century American literature, and has also completed graduate work in Organizational Development and Leadership. Prior to starting seminary, he had a career in commercial banking and training. Since starting seminary and before coming to Pilgrim, he has worked as an intern at Bethany Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, as an intern chaplain at Abbot Northwestern Hospital, and most recently as a career consultant for people with cognitive disabilities with Kaposia, Inc. Josh lives in West Saint Paul with his partner, Brian, who serves as Faith Formation and Communications Coordinator at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Eagan, and their nephew Trent. In his spare time, Josh enjoys hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities (as long as it’s not too cold), and calming down with yoga and lifting weights.

Cathy Salin, Business Manager

Cathy joined the Pilgrim staff as Church Administrator in October 2010. As of January 2017, she holds the position of Business Manager. She was born in Minneapolis and attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Business Administration. She has had 20 years experience as an administrator in business, and is a lay leader in her congregation, serving in numerous roles at Richfield Lutheran Church. Cathy also enjoys volunteering at a neighborhood elder care facility. In her free time, she enjoys working on home projects and spending time at the family cabin her father built.

Mary Brodd, Office Coordinator

Mary started at Pilgrim in March 2019. A native of Moline, IL, she moved to Woodbury, MN, with her husband Charles when he got a job offer he couldn't refuse. They have also lived in Arlington, VA, and Moscow, USSR (as it was then). Mary worked for fifteen years as an administrative assistant at an ELCA church in Rock Island, IL, and feels right at home at Pilgrim. In her spare time, Mary attends League of Women Voters meetings, thinks about what ink to put in her fountain pen next, and is working her way very slowly through Presidential biographies.

Denika Anderson, Communications Specialist

Denika Anderson joined the Pilgrim staff in March 2019 as a Communications Specialist. She grew up in an ELCA church and, after completing her B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies at Bethel University, she attended Luther Seminary, and ultimately transferred to United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities to complete her M.A. in Women’s Studies in Religion. Denika has always had a passion for church work, and is excited to put her skills to use at Pilgrim. In addition to her work at Pilgrim, Denika is also a birth and perinatal loss doula, and advocates for birthing families through the Childbirth Collective and the Regions Hospital Birth Center Advisory Council. She has two young daughters, Lola and Ellie, with her husband, Ned. As a family, they enjoy reading, playing board games, and working with their hands on just about any project. 

Chuck Regal, Custodian

Chuck works part time as the Pilgrim custodian. He was born, raised and educated in the Twin Cities area. As he grew up, he attended Como Park Grade School, Murray High School, U of M, Northwestern TV & Electronics Inst. and was confirmed at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church on Lexington Pkwy, south of Como Park. Started his working career at the old Northwestern Bell Telephone Company (in the Tioga oilfields). From there, he went to the old Honeywell for nine years, working exclusively on the Apollo Project. His career led him to the 3M Company where he worked for thirty-three years. He worked as a Quality Engineer and the last fifteen of those years as a Metrologist. He loves the outdoors, especially the summer when he can get his custom-built fishing boat into the water. Hobbies include photography and taking care of his house and yard. He loves cars and drives two hybrid autos. He also volunteers at Pilgrim at various activities and is a member of the Properties Committee.

Dick Hensold, Composer-in-Residence

Dick Hensold plays Northumbrian small-pipes, Swedish pipes (sackpipa), Medieval great-pipes, recorder, seljefloyte, low whistle and string bass. The foremost Northumbrian smallpipes player in North America, he has taught workshops in the United States, Canada, and Northumberland. He keeps busy with weddings and funerals, and he is much in demand as accompanist, studio musician and theater musician. He is Pilgrim's composer-in-residence for Celtic services.
Photo by Jim Clifford

Maggie Priola, Children's Choir Director

maggiepriola19@gmail.com

Maggie was born and raised in Rockford, IL. She majored in Vocal Music Education and graduated from Luther College in Decorah, IA. Now a Minneapolis resident, she will be teaching music this school year at Salem Hills Elementary School in Inver Grove Heights, MN. She has a strong background in vocal/choral music, liturgical and Christian music, and musical theatre. She is also a singer, songwriter, and an informal writer. Her work can be found on her website, sharingvulnerability.com. Personally, she loves to spend her free time with her friends and family, connecting with people, listening to podcasts, doing yoga, reading, and relaxing.

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Congregational Council 

Tim Dykstal, President

I live a block away from Pilgrim, and was drawn to this community through the Celtic and Nordic contemplative services, the intriguing sermon titles on the church marquee, and the smiling faces coming out of church Sunday morning. In attendance with me are my wife Carrie Burke and, occasionally, grown sons Henry and Charlie. Recently retired, I spent half a career as a college teacher, and a second half as a auditor/compliance type, most recently for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.  Now, I pursue my avocations of reading, writing, biking, travel, gardening, and husbandry of all kinds. I hope to deepen my faith in a church community of fellow pilgrims.

Matt Koukol, Executive Team / Recording Secretary

I have been a member of Pilgrim since around 2005, and have served previously on the Congregational Council and Properties Committee. 

My wife, Cat, and I are two of a growing number of East-siders that make Pilgrim their church home.  The focus on social justice and care for creation are a couple of the reasons that keeps up coming across town to worship.

Professionally, I am an IS manager for Ramsey County, a position I have held for about 8 years.  In my free time I enjoy reading and playing tabletop games.  I love downhill skiing, and spending time on the water, whether swimming, kayaking, or fishing.

Jason Hendrikson, Treasurer

My family and I joined Pilgrim in 2014.  We love how welcoming the community is and all the opportunities to get involved.  Pilgrim has become a wonderful home for us.  The past 3 years I have taught Sunday School and enjoy helping on project days.  I am excited to being involved with the Vestry as Treasurer.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family at the lake, biking, reading about history and following hockey and soccer. 

Andrew Barry, At-Large Member

I have been attending Pilgrim with my wife Leslie, and children Thora and Hans since 2016. We were drawn to Pilgrim's family friendly worship, active social outreach activities, accepting culture, and involved membership. We have become increasingly involved in family learning programs, adult networking, and community engagement groups. Not least, we have made a lot of friends at Pilgrim, and feel like it is a second home. I grew up in the Lutheran Church, attending Good Shepherd church in Minneapolis with several generations of my family.  

 

My day job is as a software engineer. When I'm not doing that, I run, play ultimate frisbee, parent, and serve on the board of directors for local athletic nonprofits, and used to coach youth sports, and hope to again one day. Travel is a great passion of mine, though small children make it more cumbersome than it used to be. 

Janet Erickson, At-Large Member

To those of you who I have not met, my name is Janet Erickson. I first visited Pilgrim Lutheran in the fall of 2005, joining the following spring.  I have been in and out of the Pilgrim Church life due to my commitment to overseas work in the fall of 2009, returning in the summer of 2015 to help care for my mother and my handicapped brother.  Pilgrim was such a wonderful place to land for moments of reflection during my Stateside holidays. The reality of church life in the third world countries (Nigeria, Tajikistan, and Barbados) where I worked was very different in nature while enriching and life changing. Coming home I found myself more than not at my mother’s chapel services on Sunday mornings with the gift of staying connected to Pilgrim through the contemplative services.  With Mom’s passing this past year here I am, humbly offering to give back to this wonderful church that quietly supported my wonderings over the last several years.  My forty-year career as an educator; half of them as a teacher and the other half as an administrator; brings me now to retirement.  A good place to be.  I look forward to serving on the Vestry.

Heather Ninow, At-Large Member

Pilgrim has been my church home since 1999.  I have served on various committees and currently  teach with our 6-8 grade Pathways Team.

 

Writing, playing flute and piano and sharing time with my husband Daniel and our four elementary, middle-school, and high school age children are joys that fill my days.  My days' work also includes trading food ingredients globally.

 

One of my favorite Pilgrim memories was being welcomed warmly as a visitor.  Another enjoyable role as a Pilgrim member was preparing newsletter introductions as new members are welcomed into the Pilgrim community.  I look forward to my role on the Pilgrim Vestry and sharing time and talents with Pilgrim and beyond.

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