What is your greatest musical passion?
“Fostering a deep sense of community through song. While classically trained, my chosen style of church music is influenced by world music, folk and blues idioms, and the compositional style of Bret Hesla, Ray Makeever, and Marty Haugen.”
When not leading music at ECLC, Paul loves semi-retirement with spouse Margot, is an involved grandpa, an avid cyclist, and dabbles in wood working and sourdough bread baking.
How did I end up at ECLC?
It is a long story. The short version is my wife Connie, and I bought a condo in the Twin Cities for our daughter while she was in grad school. We would come up and spends weekends with her. While here, one of our customers invited us to go to church with her at ECLC. From the moment we walked in the door, we knew we were home. If you want the longer version just let us know and we would love to share. Connie at a local coffee shop and me at one of my favorite local breweries.
We love to spend our time cooking, going on walks with our English Doodle, exploring the Twin Cities food scene and exploring the north shore.
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 a local 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.
What do you like about the second Thursday of the month?
“Every second Thursday 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.
What is your favorite biblical image?
“One of my favorite biblical images is the great cloud of witnesses from Hebrews 12. For me, the great cloud represents the many witnesses in our lives who keep us afloat, who buoy our spirits in times of sorrow, who point us in the right direction, who cradle us and provide stability during the storms, who remind us to work together, and who equip us for each new adventure. I’m delighted to be among the great cloud here at ECLC!”
Anna Helgen received the Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in 2016 and the Bachelor of Arts degree in math and religion from St. Olaf College in 2009. She served previously in youth ministry at Christ the King, White Bear Lake, and at St. Timothy, St. Paul, and most recently served as an associate pastor at Mount Olivet, Minneapolis. Anna’s love for people and for creation was shaped while working as a camp counselor at Christikon near Big Timber, Montana, and as a canoe guide at Wilderness Canoe Base near Grand Marais. She feels a profound sense of God’s call to serve others and seeks opportunities to form relationships and build community. She currently lives with her husband and two children. Anna loves canoeing in the Boundary Waters and spending time with her family at Lake Kabekona.
Can you share a little about your background?
I am a cradle Lutheran and a lifelong "church kid." I grew up at Augustana Lutheran Church in West St. Paul and spent most of my time as a kid at church (outside of school and sports). I attended Luther College in Decorah, IA where I studied history, political science, and international studies and graduated from Luther Seminary in June 2022 with a Master of Divinity and a concentration in congregation and community care. I have over a decade's worth of experience in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry, with a special focus working with youth ages birth-sixth grade. I recently moved back to Minnesota after a year of living in Vancouver, WA, and am thrilled to be back in the Midwest. I have two dogs (Soeli and Kyrie), am obsessed with baseball, love to do puzzles, and my favorite hobby is drinking coffee. I am so excited to join the team at ECLC and get to know each of
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.
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 Deacon called by ECLC to engage our congregation in ministry in the world through justice, service, and advocacy. Originally from suburban Detroit, and a 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.
What book, other than the Bible, has had an impact on your faith?
“Many years ago I read, “Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras,” by Diana Eck. It introduced me to a way of understanding God that transcends any one religious tradition.”
Growing up in the small Canadian border town of Littlefork, Minnesota Jeff learned the gift of story-telling, which he brings to his preaching. He loves learning about the ways God works in people’s lives. Jeff has served small churches in rural areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and he also served several years at a large inner city congregation in Minneapolis. Brief forays in professional fundraising and in social work round out his experience. A life-long learner, he continues to explore interests from learning to teach yoga and meditation to taking up the accordion, which is his latest project. Jeff and his husband, Mark, have two grown children, three-grandchildren, and a cabin in the woods of Wisconsin where they love taking their dog for an overnight get-away.
Meeting with Staff: Our staff work various schedules which include include meetings off-site, evening meetings, and weekends. In general, most staff are available during building hours: M-Th from 9AM to 3PM and Friday from 9AM - Noon. If you need to meet outside these hours, please email the staff person you would like to meet with directly.
Faith Formation: Adults
Children & Youth
Worship, Art & Music