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.


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.

Maggie Priola, Children's Choir Director

Maggie is originally from Rockford, IL. She graduated from Luther College in Decorah, IA with a bachelors degree in Vocal Music. She is now happy to be Saint Paul resident and has loved working and worshipping at Pilgrim for the last two years. She has a strong background in vocal, choral, and liturgical music as well as musical theatre. With her musical background, she directs children's choirs, teaches voice, and informally writes music. She is also in the final stages of completing her masters degree in Counseling from Saint Mary's University. She loves to spend her free time connecting with people, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, writing, dancing, laughing, and practicing yoga.

Pamela Erwin, Interim Director of Shared Ministry

Pamela has taught youth and family ministries, biblical and theological studies, as well as serving as a college administrator and church staff member, and now is on a journey of phased retirement. She has enjoyed bringing groups of students to some of the contemplative evening worship services at Pilgrim. She is drawn to the salt marshes of the deep south and loves to spend time exploring the marshes through the lens of a camera or painting and sketching the wildlife there. Together she and spouse Thomas Becknell enjoy biking the many trails of the Twin Cities and summer picnics; taking in live theater at one of the many Twin Cities venues; or listening to music at the SPCO, the Dakota, or one of the local clubs. Looking forward to experiencing the “sanctuary” called Pilgrim Lutheran—to experience the presence of God, to contribute to and be nourished by this community of hungry minds and souls, and to learn better how to live as a pilgrim on this earth.

Alex Theship-Rosales, Director of Children, Youth, & Family Ministries

Alex joins the Pilgrim community with an open heart and mind. He is a recent graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College where he studied Environmental Studies and Religion. Ministry encourages and calls to him and has been a formative part of his story. Growing up in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and being Confirmed at Mount Calvary Lutheran in Excelsior, he has been a high school Peer Minister, Sunday School teacher, Summer Camp Counselor, and Mission Trip participant. One summer, he served as a Children, Youth, and Family Ministry Assistant at Mount Calvary, where he collaboratively developed curriculum, planned events and activities, and all around had a golden time. After college, he participated in the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) service year program, where he lived and learned in Rwanda. Alongside his role as Director for Children, Youth, and Family Ministries at Pilgrim he will be studying ministry and theology at Luther Seminary.


Woven into ministry, Alex is passionate about the union of spirituality and ecology alongside intersectionality-grounded climate and environmental justice. Moreover, he enjoys any activity outdoors. He is an avid cross country runner and also loves to hike, camp, swim, go for long strolls, and bike. Sustainability is a meaningful and fun process for him as well, and he has ongoing projects to live an increasingly plastic-free lifestyle and craft his own household products. Alex also deeply values creativity and art and enjoys creative writing, reading, drawing, painting, practicing his euphonium, and video editing.

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 enjoys putting 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 three young children, Lola, Ellie, and Rory, with her spouse, 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

Congregational Council 

Tim Dykstal, President, Executive Team

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.

Tim Moore, Executive Team

I have been attending Pilgrim with my family since 2012. My wife Britt and our three children live in the neighborhood and are as active as we can be with kids & family programming on Sundays and during the week - and there is always more we wish there was time for. Pilgrim, in its wealth of opportunities through shared ministry, has brought us into relationship with wonderful people and has been central to our growth in faith and life. I have been part of the church council in the past, various bible study programs and educational forums, worship music, and various ministries outside the walls of the church. In my free time I enjoy outdoor sports (mostly as coach/supporter with the kids these days) and getting in over my head with house projects.

Karla Leitzman, Executive Team

Photo and bio coming soon!

Jason Hendrikson, Treasurer, Executive Team

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.

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.

Lois Wintersteen, At-Large Member

My husband, Richard, and I moved to the Twin Cities ten years ago, primarily for access to live symphony concerts and live theater. I have lived many places over the years, including all regions of the U.S. and 8 countries overseas, the latter mostly in Africa. I have belonged and worshipped in many churches over those years! We joined Pilgrim in 2016 for several reasons: It is a RIC and Caring for Creation church, blended services, commitment to global mission & justice issues, good music and thought-provoking, relevant preaching.

I am a retired psychiatric social worker, having worked both in-patient and out-patient with adults. I now volunteer as a tutor with Literacy Minnesota, as an observer in juvenile immigration court with AMMPARO, and support ISAIAH with Capitol hearing presence. I am also on the core committee for ISAIAH at Pilgrim.

I spend my summers in northern MN at a cabin on a lake and cherish that time. In addition to the music and theater I also like to travel, walk, swim, read, enjoy ethnic food, attend lectures at AAUW, and play bridge. I try to keep in touch with many far-flung friends as well as our family of three adult children and five “twenty-something” grandchildren.

Matt Spindler, At-Large Member

My family and I started attending Pilgrim the Summer of 2018. Our first service was a Sunday morning service in the basement, set up to escape the heat, and our second service was the Blessing of the Animals outside on Prior. The love, joy, and playfulness we experienced at those two service convinced us that this was a church for us! My wife Kate and I have already made deep friendships here and it brings us immense joy to watch our children, Ivy and Magnus grow to see Pilgrim as a safe place where they can go to feel loved and have fun. Since joining I have enjoyed working with the Worship, Music and Evangelism committee and rediscovered my love for singing in a church choir on Sunday mornings. In my day job I work as a Product Manager as a standardized testing company. I am excited to bring my professional training and passion for problem solving to Pilgrim by serving on the Congregational Council. In my free time I enjoy running slowly, and finding ways to slow down and enjoy our beautiful world.

Timothy Bell-Kemp, At-Large Member

Photo and bio coming soon!