Staff Directory


Pastor Paul Nelson
Paul A. Nelson
Senior Pastor since 1998
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0351 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 51

Paul leads Immanuel’s staff and congregation with love and warmth, welcoming all. He is dedicated to helping people of all ages live out their faith and share Jesus’ love in their daily lives. He particularly likes helping men find ways to support one another in faith. It was even the subject of his doctoral thesis!

Paul loves family time and cherishes his wife, Karen, their two adult daughters and two young granddaughters. He is happiest when participating in family celebrations, gatherings, game nights, traveling and Granddaughter Mondays. He is an avid reader and loves to hear about what you’re reading too. A good run, an invigorating hike, an evening of curling or a camping trip rank high on his list of leisure activities.

DEGREES: Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Divinity

FUN FACT: Paul was Immanuel’s first youth minister in 1985 and served as its associate pastor for three years.

Pastor Susan Weaver
Susan Weaver
Associate Pastor since 2003
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0352 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 52

Susan loves the people of Immanuel and feels blessed to help them grow in faith. She delights in preaching, teaching, challenging assumptions, stretching imaginations, digging deeply into scripture and being with people in the deep sorrows and high joys of their lives.

Susan and husband Rich have two daughters—Beth (who awaits them in heaven) and Becky, mother of their two “Beloveds,” granddaughters Linnea and Britta. She is a curious person with a lively imagination who likes learning, reading and uncovering the stories of people she meets and places she visits. The North Shore of Lake Superior is her happiest happy place.

DEGREES: Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, Master’s in Education, Master of Divinity

FUN FACT: Ministry is Susan’s second career. She previously worked as a parent educator in Early Childhood Family Education and a 3rd Grade teacher!

Pastor Angela
Angela Fairbanks Jacobson
Associate Pastor since 2016
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-937-8123 ex. 53

Angela embraces her exploration of faith as a lifelong adventure, and is excited to be taking this leg of the journey with members of the Immanuel community. “What if…?” and “what is God up to?” are two of her favorite questions as she pursues spiritual vitality and nurtures faith formation in daily life.

Some of Angela’s favorite places include the Mississippi river walks, cross-country ski trails, a yoga mat, a canoe, a playground and anywhere in the company of her husband Karl (also a pastor) and their five children – Hannah, Sam, Nora, Lucy, and Claire. She is also fond of napping in a sunbeam. No matter where life’s twists and turns and ups and downs take her, she holds close to her GPS blessing: “God, go before us, to prepare and provide, and sustain and surprise us with the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

DEGREES: Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, Master of Divinity

FUN FACT: For over a decade, Angela lived the quiet life up north on Lake Superior.

Faith Formation

Martin Rathjen
Martin Rathjen
Minister of Faith Formation & Communications since 2002
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0354 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 54

While Martin’s Australian accent is fading, his passion for helping children, youth and families grow in faith is not. He guides Immanuel’s Stepping Stone and Confirmation ministries and manages its robust communications program. His proclivity for technology is a great asset - but he always knows when to call the IT guys for help! He enjoys mountain wilderness backpacking, international travel and amateur photography – both when he is on duty and off.

Back to the accent: Some hearing Martin for the first time think he might be from the East Coast! In fact, he’s a pastor’s kid who grew up in Australia and New Zealand. He ventured to Seattle when he was 19, then on to Minneapolis where he met his wife Kim – our Coordinator of Inreach and Outreach. They have two adult daughters who grew up in this congregation.

DEGREES: Associate’s in Biblical Studies; Bachelor’s and Master’s in Christian Education

FUN FACT: Martin is a dual citizen of Australia and the USA, as are his two adult daughters.

Paul Erdmann
Paul Erdmann
Youth and Family Minister since 2003
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0355 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 55

Paul helps our middle and high school students grow in faith, learn leadership skills and gain confidence through experiencing God’s love and forgiveness. By engaging both students and their families in our dynamic Confirmation program, mission trips, backpacking and skiing adventures, service projects and all sorts of other fun activities, he helps families develop healthy Christian relationships and explore the role faith plays in their daily lives.

Paul loves the outdoors and is especially fond of sailing, camping, and cycling. His wife, Stephanie, is a pastor at Edina Community Lutheran Church. With three young children—twins Madeline and August and younger brother Miles—every day is an adventure!

DEGREES: Bachelor’s in Business Administration; Master’s in Youth and Family Ministry

FUN FACT: Paul and his family have an annual tradition of retrieving their Christmas tree via bicycle!

Cindy PaulsonCindy Paulson
Director of Children’s & Family Ministry since 2014
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0356 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 56

Cindy loves helping Immanuel’s youngest members, our children, understand that God created them special and loves them just the way they are! She leads our Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and any other program designed for kids up to grade six. She is married to “St. Jerry”. While their awesome daughters, Charlie and Elaine, are all grown up, they do have some “kids” that keep things lively at home –two Basset Hounds and a German Bassweiller. Cindy takes on the occasional art project, loves hanging out with family and friends and considers laughing one of her favorite activities.

DEGREES: Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education

FUN FACT: Cindy likes gardening barefoot with the dirt squishing between her toes!

Kim Rathjen
Kim Rathjen
Coordinator of Inreach and Outreach since 2013
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0357 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 57

Kim helps Immanuel members share their abundance, explore what it means to be marginalized and find meaningful volunteerism. She manages our relationships with service partners and engages and organizes volunteers in service outside of the congregation.

Whether collecting and sorting food, clothing and other supplies donated by our generous congregation members, managing groups of volunteers or leading and participating in conversations that promote a deeper understanding of those who are marginalized, she loves being part of Jesus’ transformational work in the lives of people and communities. Being part of someone’s “a-ha” moment as they experience new learning or understanding brings her great joy!

Kim loves traveling, learning about new cultures and food. She also loves to clean! She and her husband Martin, our Minister of Faith Formation and Communications, have two adult daughters who grew up at Immanuel.

DEGREES: Bachelor’s in Psychology and Religion

FUN FACT: Kim met Martin when they were both training to be youth and family ministers in Minnesota. They fell in love, married and have been doing ministry together ever since. Kim served as Immanuel’s Director of Children’s Ministry from 2002 to 2013.

Office Staff

MaryKay Copp
MaryKay Copp
Administrative Assistant to Pastors since 1997
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0359 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 59

MaryKay provides support for our three pastors, making sure all the details are handled. She loves having the opportunity to develop caring relationships with our members and staff, getting to know their families and especially meeting the children and watching them grow up. Day by day, she relaxes by painting, sewing, reading and spending time with her 16-year-old cat, Spartacus. But her happiest of getaways is a trip to Florida!

DEGREES: Certified Executive Secretary and Occupational Therapy Assistant

FUN FACT: MaryKay is one of four siblings.

Terrie Falkenstein
Terrie Falkenstein
Church Secretary since 2002
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0358 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 58

Terrie’s is often the first face you see or the first voice you hear when you stop by or call our office on weekdays. She loves to welcome you, help you feel comfortable and make sure you find the person or information you are looking for. In addition to being our friendly receptionist, she prepares our worship service bulletins and monthly member newsletters - just a couple of more ways to help you feel welcome and in the know.

Terrie treasures time with her two adult children, Brent and Laura, and their spouses who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and Anchorage, Alaska. She relaxes by reading historical fiction and mystery novels, playing computer word games and spending time on or near the water, preferably with the company of good friends.

DEGREES: Associate’s degrees in General Education, Medical Secretary, Physical Therapist Assistant

FUN FACT: Terrie has a twin brother who has a set of boy and girl twins!

Tammy Vergeront
Tammy Vergeront
Church Administrator since 2017
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0360 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 60

Tammy is the guardian of our financial records and physical facilities, ensuring that we are good stewards of our assets. She manages the financial reporting, accounts payable and payroll processing and oversees the smooth operation of our building.

A Wisconsin native and Badgers fan, she loves to spend time on the tennis court and at her cabin in Hayward, WI. She and her husband, Andy, have two young adult children, Joe and Katie.

DEGREES: Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing

FUN FACT: Tammy volunteers at a local elementary school with her therapy dog, Bailey!

Music Ministry

Gary Thrasher
Gary Thrasher
Minister of Music since 2007
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0361 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 61

Gary has knack for scouting and recruiting the musical talent in our congregation. He knows people lead busy lives and finds ways for people to share their gifts without requiring a major commitment of time. Working with our pastors and collaborating with the rest of our music staff and musicians, he provides the vision for and coordinates the delivery of music in our inspiring worship services. He also frequently shares his vocal talent by participating in ensembles or singing solos.

Gary grew up in Texas, and every time he returns from a visit, it takes him about a week to start talking like a Minnesotan again. He moved to Minnesota over forty years ago, after meeting his Minnesota wife, Lucy, while completing his Master’s degree in Vocal Music Performance. He loves doing high energy activities with their twin adult daughters. Among his favorite past-times: swimming, biking, running, scuba diving (even under the ice), water skiing and golf.

DEGREES: Bachelor’s Music Education and Music Therapy; Master’s in Vocal Performance

FUN FACT: Gary is on a quest to find the hottest chili pepper in the world!

MaryBeth Berg
MaryBeth Berg
Organist/Assistant Music Minister since 2012
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 952-230-0362 (direct dial), 952-937-8123 ex. 62

Marybeth is the organist for our traditional Sunday worship services and a host of special services and events ranging from concerts to weddings and funerals. She accompanies countless soloists and ensembles every year and frequently plays cello in our small ensemble. She and her husband Bob have four adult children and one granddaughter. Marybeth loves being outdoors and exploring the trails. Cycles and snowshoes are often involved. She loves spending time at her Northern Minnesota cabin.

DEGREES: Bachelor’s in Church Music; Master’s in Business Administration

FUN FACT: One of her favorite jobs was combining every fall on their farm in North Dakota.

Clark Weyrauch
Clark Weyrauch
Music Administrator since 2015
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 651-336-2546 (direct dial)

Lori Hanken
Lori Hanken
Holy Commotion
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Interim Director
Servant Song
Barb Savereide
Barb Savereide
Grade 3-6 & 7-12 Choir Director
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Tom Getchius
Tom Getchius
K-2 Choir Director
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Joan Meyer
Joan Meyer
Evening Organist

Parish Nurse

Kari Totall
Kari Totall
Parish Nurse (Volunteer)
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Support Staff

Darrell Fusaro
Darrell Fusaro
Martinalan Smith
Martinalan Smith
Jenny Olson
Jenny Olson
Nursery Assistant

Immanuel Lutheran Church © 2017

A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America