Staff and Council

Pr. Skip Wachsmann - square

Pastor Skip Wachsmann

Pastor
E-mail Pastor Skip Wachsmann

Pastor Skip is the pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church. He was born and raised in a small farming community twenty miles north of Houston, Texas, moved to Detroit in September 1976. Having completed his undergraduate work at Valparaiso University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology (1972) and his seminary education at Concordia Seminary-in-Exile, St. Louis, MO with a Masters of Divinity (1976), he was called to serve as the pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (AELC), Detroit. In 1982, Rev. Wachsmann began serving as the Pastor of Grace (ALC), St. Luke (ALC), and St. Mark’s Lutheran Churches as the three congregations worked toward merger and the creation of Genesis. He served as Interim Assistant to the Bishop (part-time) from 1999-2004 under Bishop Robert Rimbo and as Dean of Cluster 12 for many years. Pastor Skip celebrated the 40th Anniversary of his ordination on September 18, 2016.

David Pencil - square

David Pencil

Music Minister

David Pencil is the Music Minister at Lord of Life. He serves as choir director and worship leader. David leads worship from piano with a blend of traditional and contemporary music.

Tealithia Oliver - square

Tealithia Oliver

Nursery Attendant

Hello! My name is Tealithia Oliver and I am the Nursery Attendant for Lord of Life. I have been the Nursery Attendant since January of 2007. Along the way I have watched our youngest members of the church grow into wonderful teenagers on their way to adulthood. I love working with children and along the years have started a family of my own with two sons, two step-daughters, and my husband, Manuel Oliver.

My passion has always been to help others, especially children, the elderly and the disabled.

I was born in Bryan, TX, but mainly lived and grew up in Sacramento, CA, raised by my mother Wanda Williams. As a single parent, my mother showed me at a young age the importance of helping others and to be responsible. I first started helping people in high school by feeding the homeless in my community. In high school, I joined the People and Student Reaching Out program, which involved traveling to elementary schools speaking to children about strangers, drugs, abuse, and where and who to go to for help. My first jobs were working at Chuck-E-Cheese’s as a birthday party hostess on the weekends and a file clerk for an attorney during the weekday evenings at the age of 16. Some of my hobbies were cake decorating, track and tennis. During my spare time, I would babysit for 4 families from the private school.

After graduation, I worked at Children’s World Learning Center as a day care assistant during the week and would walk to Merryhill Elementary Private School as an after school counselor. I went to American River College at night for Early Childhood Education.

During this time, my mother and I found out that my grandmother had a stroke and decided to move back to Texas in 2003 to take care of her. While in Texas I transferred to continue working for Children’s World Learning Center and went to school at Austin Community College a year later. In 2006, I landed my first state job with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice working in a state prison while pregnant with my first child. I have moved up along the way and now currently work for Family and Protective Services. I first started with Adult Protective Services for 3 years, and now Child Protective Services for 4 years. Our mission is to always protect the unprotected. I have experience working with children from all different backgrounds, ages, and disabilities. One of my many goals is to find a way to be able to continue college and complete my education in order to help children with learning disabilities.

I consider Lord of Life as a second family. Both of my children were baptized here and I officially joined the church in 2015. In the nursery, you are always welcomed and invited. I encourage parents to come meet me along with the other wonderful Sunday school staff. Parents are always welcome to stop by anytime!

Mike Odegaard - square

Michael Odegaard

Youth Ministry Coordinator

It is with great joy that I have been given this opportunity to serve alongside all of God’s children and become a part of God’s family here at Lord of Life Lutheran Church as the new Youth Ministry Coordinator! My earliest memories involve participating in one church function or another and during my freshman year in high school I heard God calling me to the vocation of Children, Youth & Family Ministry. Even though God’s call to ministry was clear, my path that led to my first full-time position was filled with a few obstacles and valuable life lessons…I grew up in northwest Minnesota (25 miles east of Fargo, ND) where I attended community college and then transferred to not one but two ELCA Colleges (Concordia -Moorhead, MN & Midland Lutheran-Fremont, NE). While attending Midland, I took a semester off to work for Lutheran Retreats, Camps & Conferences in Southern California as an Outdoor School Instructor & Summer Camp Program Director. During that 9 month hiatus from school, I met a great lady from Salt Lake City, UT whom I later asked to marry me…
Following our wedding in 1998, Jaynette (Jay-net) & I lived in California, Utah, Colorado, Idaho finally Minnesota in 2002 where we started our family and where I finally began my dream VOCATION as Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministries at Maple Grove Lutheran Church in 2003. Minnesota was a wonderful place for our family…Our son, David was born in 2002 and twenty-two months later our second son, Timothy “TJ” was born in 2004. The summer of 2006 was the start of my second opportunity to serve the youth & families at Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna, MN. Owatonna was a wonderful community for our family to set our roots as we were there for over six years. During the winter of 2012 the Holy Spirit began to move in our family and we made the decision to move to the great state of Texas and immersed ourselves in an amazingly wonderful and highly diverse culture (in particular German Lutherans).
That brings me to right here & right now…The ELCA has my heart and I am committed to living out my call to ministry and growing in knowledge and building relationships with everyone who crosses my path, so please make sure that you stop by and visit or give me a call to meet for a meal or a beverage! Along with all of that, I look forward to continuing my education both “on the job” here with Pr. Skip and our friends in the Southwestern Texas Synod, as well as through the T.E.E.M. (Theological Education for Emerging Ministries) Program which will train me to become a Called & Ordained Pastor in the ELCA. This fits well with me and my story as my journey continues to be filled with obstacles and valuable lessons.
Grace & peace,
Mike

Dave Smith - square

Dave Smith

Council Vice-President
E-mail Dave Smith

2017 Vice-President of Church Council

Jennifer Niedert - square

Jennifer Niedert

Finance Ministry - Congregational Treasurer
E-mail Jennifer Niedert

2017 Treasurer of Lord of Life

Glenace Klinker - square

Glenace Klinker

Finance Ministry - Financial Secretary

2017 Financial Secretary

Barb Ferriola - square

Barb Ferriola

Congregational Life Ministry
E-mail Barb Ferriola

Congregational Life Ministry Team Lead

Felicia Wachsmann - square

Felicia Wachsmann

Evangelism and Outreach Ministry
E-mail Felicia Wachsmann

Evangelism and Outreach Ministry Team Lead (Interim)

Deb Grunska - square

Deb Grunksa

Worship Ministry
E-mail Deb Grunksa

Worship Ministry Representative Team Lead