Our Redeemer's Staff

Nurturing our congregation.
Connecting with our community.

Our community is blessed with passionate, dedicated leaders who love what they do and are excited to learn about what you love too. Drawing from their very different backgrounds, talents and experiences, our staff members support Our Redeemer’s ongoing learning and growth. They work to build a strong community that lives its vision and is actively shaped by each person in it.

Read on for a brief introduction to the church staff. You can get in touch with any member of our staff to talk, ask questions and learn more about Our Redeemer’s.

Meet our staff

Katherine Hawks, Pastor
After growing up Congregationalist/Methodist/Catholic (ask and I’ll tell you the story), Lutheranism has given me a way to keep what I love about those traditions while keeping God’s grace at the core.

I attended seminary in inner-city Chicago, interned in Singapore, and served two congregations before coming to Our Redeemer’s in 2001. I am so grateful to give and receive from this community that is such a living, caring work of the Spirit.

My free time allows me to play with grandkids, dance, read and travel. My 2008 sabbatical included visiting communities of reconciliation in Rwanda, France, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The highlights of this year’s sabbatical were hiking in the Slovenian Alps and taking the train all the way across Canada.

I would love to meet you and hear your stories. You can get in touch with me any time, or hear more of me on our podcasts and blog.

Gretchen Mertes, Associate Pastor and Informal Worship and Music Director

Gretchen Mertes has been a pastor and professional musician in the ELCA since 2002. She came to Our Redeemer’s in 2015 after spending time as a mission developer at Luther’s Table in Renton, Washington.

As a pastor, Gretchen’s passion is connecting people through word, song, and food.  She loves theological conversation and hosting “Theology on Tap” as often as she can. When she can find the time, she attends retreats, service learning trips, camps, and enjoys gathering around a fire. Holden Village is one of her favorite places. Gretchen also has a strong heart for faith formation, and enjoys working with kids of all ages, instilling in them a love for God, for church, and for neighbor.

 

As a songwriter, she finds it deeply fulfilling and fun to take the beautiful words of the Lutheran hymnody and blend it with new melody and instrumentation. She also writes her own music. Gretchen loves spending time outdoors with her husband Ryan and their kids– Addi and Weller– and getting down to the water as much as possible.

She is always down to get a cup of coffee, and hear what makes you who you are.  Feel free to drop her an email!

Karen Lee, Traditional Music and Worship Director

Karen has served as Our Redeemer’s Traditional Worship and Music Director since 2007.  She directs the Adult Choir and Youth Choir, and co-directs the Jr. Choir with Marie Nordquist-Lessard.  She chairs the Worship Team and provides musical leadership for Kids’ Church and the traditional worship service.
In addition to her work at Our Redeemer’s, Karen has taught Chorus classes at Issaquah Middle School since 1988.  She earned her B.A. in Music Education from Pacific Lutheran University and her M.A., with an emphasis in Choral Conducting, from the University of Washington.
Karen is the proud mother of Erica, a college student at PLU, who is also planning a future in music.  In her spare time, Karen loves spending time with family and friends, traveling, photography, and scrapbooking.

Don Boelter, Parish Administrator

Don has been the Parish Administrator at Our Redeemer’s since January, 2015. He brings ten years experience of administrator and office management work at both Phinney Ridge Lutheran (where he and his wife, Jenn, are members), and at University Congregational-UCC, where he served as Lay Ministries Coordinator.

He sees administration of a church as his calling and vocation, and brings interest in how the operations and support functions can facilitate and strengthen ministry.  He has a BA from the University of Washington and JD from the Seattle University School of Law. He also completed work for a Professional Certificate in Lay Ministry from Whitworth University.

Katlin Dickinson-Laurence, Database & Front Office Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Ronda Andrews, Welcome Minister

Ronda Andrews, an active member for a number of years, has begun officially working as our Welcome Minister. It is a role she just naturally did whenever she attended 9AM worship, or anything else at church, learning names and taking an interest in anyone new. She approaches this ministry from her perspective and her desire to allow others to come to know God through our congregation. Ronda will be present most Sunday mornings at both services, will work from home and will attend staff meetings and be in the office a few days a month. She and her husband, Jerry, just bought a house in Kingston, but have a sailboat, and had already committed to continuing to be a part of Our Redeemer’s even after their move.

Shannon Beck, Interim Social Justice Coordinator

Shannon Beck will be serving in this position through Spring 2019. Shannon has an incredible wealth of experience – she served here in Seattle as a Community Organizer for the Washington State Religious Campaign Against Torture, and in roles at the First United Methodist Church in Seattle as well as over a decade with the Presbyterian’s in Seattle in social justice and peace making. She also worked in global mission as the Reconciliation and Anti-violence Catalyst for the Presbyterian Church, USA, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Since returning home to Seattle last year, she has worked with homeless and underserved youth through Fare Start. Shannon has a BA in Education and an MA in Theology – and is also a delightful modernfolk singer and songwriter! With her wealth of experience, and especially her experience with interim positions, we at Our Redeemer’s are blessed by her joining our staff in this interim position.

Jonath Ochs, Communications Specialist

Jonath Ochs (pronounced JAH-NETH OX) has joined the staff of Our Redeemer’s to utilize his God-given talents in making communication around the church the best it can be. He currently works part time putting together bulletins, the monthly Visitor, signage, weekly e-mails, and updating the website.

He has a passion for the arts and photography and currently holds a B.F.A. from the University of New Mexico. He studied creative self portraiture and a variety of visual and graphic arts. Seattle has been his home since 2011and he enjoys spending his time picking out songs on his banjolele and finding inspiration for his next self portrait.

If you see him around the church, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and ask for a hug! Questions about Communications or Publications? Email him at communications@ourredeemers.net.

Hannah Wetter, Nursery Caregiver

Hannah has been part of the Our Redeemer’s family since joining with her mother in 2002. She has spent 2+ years on staff as the Early Childhood/Nursery Caregiver. Working with children has always been a passion for Hannah, and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to help them begin their faith journey here at Our Redeemer’s. Born and raised in Ballard, Hannah is currently pursuing her B.A. in Urban Design at the University of Washington. Her favorite things (outside of church) include reading, gardening, and going on adventures with her boyfriend, Mario. Please stop by the nursery and say hello, whether or not you have children of your own!