Pastor Chris Christopher arrived in January 2016. He holds a Master of Divinity (Class of 1994) from the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. He is married to the lovely Theresa Russ Christopher and together they have two children, Ada and Charlie. Here are some fun facts about Pastor Chris: (1) His favorite movie is “The Wizard of Oz,” (2) his favorite songs are “It’s Only the Beginning” by Chicago and “What a Wonderful World” by Lewis Armstrong, (3) his favorite scripture is Micah 6:8, (4) his favorite candy bar is “Kit Kat,” and (5) he enjoys pineapple or banana ice cream. When asked what he loved about Grace, he said it was our “excitement for the future!” We are so thankful to have Pastor Chris with us! He can be reached in the church office at 504-482-4994 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Director Kirsten Wee has been a lifelong member of Grace. In January 2017 she joined the Grace team as the temporary youth director. She graduated from Loyola University of New Orleans in 2014. In the interim she spent a year with Young Adults in Global Mission in Mexico City and a year with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Washington D.C. (1) She loves any movie that can make her laugh. (2) She loves Disney songs and 80s and 90s music (3) Her favorite scripture is Micah 6:8. (4) Her favorite candy is Sno-Caps (5) She prefers frozen yogurt to ice cream. Kirsten’s favorite part about is Grace is it’s welcoming family-like atmosphere. Kirsten can be reached at email@example.com.
Kim Ely, our Church Administrator, coordinates with our Pastor and the entire team to ensure that administrative functions of the congregation are properly addressed. She is also responsible for all bookkeeping duties for Grace. Kim works hard on preparing the bulletin, special announcements, Executive & Council meeting monthly financial reports, and other documentation as needed. She also serves as the point of contact for facilities reservations including volunteer groups & Youthworks. Kim is married and has two children and loves to spend time with her family and their puppy, “Lucy!” She is a valued member of our team. Kim can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 504-482-4994.
Church Council Executive Team
John Lewis, our council President, is the chief executive officer of the congregation is empowered to act on its behalf in such matters of business transactions requiring legal authority. He has the primary duty to supervise the business affairs of the congregation and to assure the continuity of the spiritual programs of the congregation through active participation of the membership. John presides at all meetings of the Congregation Council and attends, at his own discretion, any meetings of the committees. Additionally, he supervises the procurement, maintenance, and review of all applicable congregation insurance policies. (1) John has two favorite movies… “Star Wars” and “Patton,” (2) his favorite song is “They All Asked for You” by The Meters, (3) his favorite scripture is Romans 5:3-5, (4) he prefers bacon to candy bars, and (5) his favorite ice cream flavor is pistachio almond. His favorite thing about Grace is that it’s a “very friendly, welcoming congregation- a big family” and he hopes that this year his team will define and clarify the mission of Grace so that we are all empowered and motivated to share God’s gifts of unconditional love and grace.” John can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
Our Vice President, Karen Hazlaris, presides at meetings of the congregation and the Congregation Council in the absence of the president or at the president’s request. Karen presides over, or is a member of, any specially formed committees directed by the president. She oversees the role of the Board of Evangelism with regard to the congregation’s public relations and also reviews the Articles of Incorporation, the Constitution and Bylaws of this congregation annually to keep the president and the Congregation Council appraised of desired or necessary changes, additions or deletions, and shall be prepared to resolve any Congregation Council or congregational action in conflict with existing and Bylaws. Here are some fun facts about Karen: (1) Her favorite movie is “While You Were Sleeping,” (2) her favorite hymn is “Now Thank We All Our God,” (3) her favorite scripture is “Romans 8:38,” (4) she loves Peanut M&M’s, and (5) her favorite ice cream is coffee-flavored! When asked what she loves about Grace, Karen said “The love and spirit of the congregation.” This year she is hoping to encourage as many as possible to actively serve on God’s team! Karen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Secretary, Sue Pundt, records proceedings of each Congregation Council meeting, of all special called meetings of the Congregation Council, and all meetings of the congregation. She also acts as the custodian of the congregation’s archives and oversees the safe storage of all papers and documents of interest and value pertaining to congregation and Congregation Council actions. Other responsibilities include the oversight of the Grace Infant Care Center (GICC) and authorized signatures list. Some fun facts about Sue are: (1) Her favorite movie is “Grand Canyon,” (2) her favorite song is “Hallelulia” by Leonard Cohen – the Shrek version sung by Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, Kurt Nilsen, (3) her favorite scripture is John 13:34-35, (4) her favorite candy bar is any that is dark chocolate with orange and (5) her favorite ice cream is Haagen Dazs Rocky Road! She tells us she loves “the fact that Grace is like one big family. Over the years I have watched babies being baptized, grow up in the church and start off into adult life. Grace is very nurturing and welcoming. It’s a great foundation for young people to have. Grace serves as a home church for many who have moved to new homes throughout the world. They are always welcomed back at Grace for a visit or to reconnect.” Regarding our council, Sue said “You never know what opportunities may pop up. As secretary of the church council, I believe that we have some very creative and energized people on our team this year. I’m excited to see what new ideas they may have for our Grace family as well as for our community.” She can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
Our Treasurer, Justin Jones, is responsible for safe keeping and proper disbursement of all money belonging to the congregation. He provides monthly financial reports to the Congregation Council and additional financial reports to the congregation periodically throughout the year. He also maintains all applicable congregation insurance policies and, as a member of the Finance Committee, assists in the annual review of the adequacy of all congregation insurance coverage Some fun facts about Justin are: (1) His favorite movie is “Casablanca,” (2) his favorite song is “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2, (3) his favorite scripture is Romans 14:7-8, (4) his favorite candy bar is “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup,” and (5) his favorite ice cream is “Mint Chocolate Chip!” He tells us he loves the friendly, easy-going nature of the members of Grace and notes that it feels very much like the churches he attended as a child. Justin can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Caring Ministry Team is made up of devoted and caring members of our congregation who minister to those members of our community that either cannot make it to worship for communion; or are in need of pastoral care due to some painful circumstance in their life (i.e. grief, brokenness, or illness). The team is led by Bob Lewis.Every Caring Minister receives training from the pastor and the Council member responsible for this ministry. Currently Bob is that person. He coordinates visits with the pastor and our Caring Ministers.If you know of anyone needing spiritual care, please contact either the pastor or Bob for more information. We will be glad to visit and offer the grace of God to those in need. Bob can be reached at email@example.com or (504) 330-3803.
Our Christian Education Team is responsible for the educational programs of the congregation for all ages. The team is led by Sunny Dean. Currently we have classes for children ages pre-K to 12th grade on Sunday mornings during the school year. We also have an Adult Bible Study that studies the lessons assigned for that Sunday’s worship service. Periodically, we will also host educational forums on a variety of topics of current interest. Some fun facts about Sunny are: (1) Her favorite movie is “The Wizard of Oz,” (2) her favorite song is “With a Little Help From My Friends,” (3) her favorite scripture is John 3:16, (4) her favorite candy bar is “Butterfinger,” and (5) her favorite ice cream is “anything with caramel – not chocolate!” She tells us she loves the family atmosphere at Grace and is hoping to share the good news with as many people as possible! Sunny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-491-7826.
The Fellowship Team is responsible for strengthening the fellowship between congregation members spiritually and socially and the general upbuilding of mutual cooperation, trust and enjoyment among the active and associate members of the congregation. The team sponsors several events throughout the year, some strictly for adults and others geared toward the entire family. Diana Johnson leads the team. Here are some fun things to know about Diana: (1) One of her favorite movies is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” (2) her favorite song is “The Triumphal March” from Aida, (3) her favorite scripture is John 3:16, (4) her favorite candy bar is “Fanny May” (a Chicago treat), and (5) her favorite ice cream is good old Chocolate! She tells us she loves Grace because of the “feeling of a community of the faithful!” This year as Fellowship Team Chair, Diana is hoping to help Grace strengthen that feeling of community. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Mike Adler leads the Property Team. This ministry is responsible for the normal upkeep, repair and maintenance of the church property and grounds. Once a month, normally on the first Saturday of the month, we host a Grace Workday from 8:30 – Noon. Our members are encouraged to spend a few hours helping to clean the inside of the church or work on the beautiful landscaping that surround our buildings. Here’s a fun fact about Mike: He doesn’t have a favorite movie, song, ice cream or candy bar, but he does have a favorite scripture and that is Luke 6:31. You know the one… “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” As for his team? He’s hoping they can achieve “world peace and manageable gardens.” Mike can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 457-1429.
Bryan Byrne leads our Social (Outreach) Ministry Team. This servant-oriented ministry is responsible for strengthening the attitudes and deeds of the congregation in the areas of social, hunger, and justice mission directed at any needs outside of the congregation. Some other areas of mission include a partnership “Fuel the Future, Feed the Child” with First Baptist Church of New Orleans to feed hungry children in the New Orleans school system; regular collection of food for our local food pantry, Second Harvest; and days of service working with the St. Bernard Project or Habitat for Humanity building homes in the New Orleans area and Animal Rescue of New Orleans (ARNO) to help care for dogs and cats at this “no-kill” shelter. Bryan can be reached at email@example.com.
Our Stewardship Team is led by Yvonne Johnson. This ministry is responsible for initiating programs for the development of good stewardship attitudes in the members of the congregation in regard to time, talents, and treasures. The team also provides for the training and utilization of members of the congregation for the work of Christ’s Kingdom, and to ensure the financial stability of the congregation and its work through a developed program of dedicated; proportionate, first-fruits giving. Here are some fun things to know about Yvonne: (1) Her favorite movie is “Sound of Music, (2) her favorite song is “I Can See Clearly Now,” (3) her favorite scripture is Romans 5:1-5, (4) her favorite candy bar is “Butterfinger,” and her favorite ice cream is chocolate and caramel! She loves Grace because it’s like a big family where people sincerely care about you and support you. She noted that the Holy Spirit is at work here all of the time. She is hoping that the Stewardship Team can engage members to serve and give more out of desire, not duty. Yvonne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Worship Team, led by Ken and Mary Pauley, is a vital ministry responsible for planning and administering a quality worship experience; and developing and incorporating the diverse artistic gifts and talents of the congregation into our worship services. The team works in conjunction with the pastor and the staff responsible for music (i.e. organist, choir director, etc.). The congregation is currently developing a contemporary music format that will be incorporated in some of Sunday worship services. Some fun facts about this dynamic duo are: (1) Ken’s favorite movie is “Dances with Wolves,” and Mary’s is “To Kill a Mockingbird,” (2) his favorite song is “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes” and hers is “What a Wonderful World,” (3) they both love the 23rd Paslm, (4) his favorite candy bar is “Kit Kat” and hers is “plain dark or mill chocolate and NOT gooey,” (5) they both enjoy vanilla ice cream! When asked what they loved about Grace, Ken said that “Grace is a loving, caring church,” and Mary added that “Grace is family!” This year they are hoping to bring meaningful, uplifting and exhilarating worship to Grace and really challenge their team. The first task on their “to do” list is to find a new choir director! Ken can be reached at email@example.com and Mary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.