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.

email: administrator@ourredeemers.net

Meet our staff

Gretchen Mertes, Pastor and Informal Worship and Music Director Pastor.gretchen@

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. 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 – Zeke 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.

Karie Stearns, Parish Administrator

Karie has a background working in social services and non-profits. She spent the better part of the last decade working at a non-profit organization which helped women experiencing homelessness. She held many different positions there– from shelter manager, to case manager, to eventually becoming the Director of Programs and Services.  She ran all 5 programs, overseeing multiple facilities, budgets, and all direct service staff. Karie has also taken some time off to study a passion of hers– functional medicine.  She is excited be back in Seattle with the ability to go hiking or to a corner coffeeshop and be close to the water again. Karie is thrilled to be a part of Our Redeemer’s and such a wonderful group of people.

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.

Debbie Lematta, Communications Coordinator

Phillipa Dugaw, Volunteer Coordinator

Mandy Neill, Welcome Minister