731 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308 | 404.874.8664

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer


Staff

Fax: 404-874-8228 email information listed below

The church office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Friday.

In case of emergency, please call a pastor at 404-874-9759.

Pastoral Staff

click on photo for bios

The Rev. Mark H. Larson
Senior Pastor

The Rev. Mary Peters
Pastor for Member Care
karenslappy

The Rev. Karen Slappey
Pastor for Outreach and Evangelism
Misson Developer-Atlanta Bar Church
Tom Kenny

The Rev.  Tom Kenny
Associate Interim Pastor

 


Lay Staff

click on photo for bios

Seth Brown
Facilities and Media Director

Robin Durdin
Office Administration Director

Kate Elkins
Pre-School Director

Jennifer Fuchs
Children and Family Ministry Director

David Hansen
Adult Choral Director

Sarah Hawbecker
Organist & Children’s Music Director

Jennifer Isaacson
Financial Information Director

Art Mathews
Property Administrator

Karen Medford
Parish Nurse and Adult Faith Formation Director

Tawanda Searcy
Receptionist

Cathy Vogel
Wedding Director

Maria Welsh
Hospitality Coordinator
stacey

Stacey Williams
Security

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Pastor Mary Peters

mary headPastor Mary Peters grew up in Salem Virginia, studied at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA and for many years worked as a speech pathologist and special education teacher.  Not a “cradle Lutheran”,  it was in college that she joined the Lutheran Church.

Pastor Mary cautiously responded to God’s call, wanting to make sure God had not called the wrong person by mistake.  During seminary the opportunities for hospital ministry training were her favorite.

Pastor Mary served her first parish in Shamokin, Pennsylvania where she also served as a hospital chaplain.  She went on to further her clinical pastoral education with a year’s chaplain residency at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC.   At year’s end the discernment between hospital chaplaincy and congregational ministry was not easy.  Fortunately, a congregational call from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury, North Carolina provided the clear answer and was a great blessing.

In 2000 Pastor Mary and Pastor Donald Miller married and moved to Winchester, VA.  On leaving St. John’s the farewell roast focused on her lousy singing.

Coming back southward was made possible by a call to serve on the North Carolina’s Bishop’s staff.  Donald however, found employment in Atlanta, GA with Emory Healthcare and living apart was a challenge.  Pastor Mary finally joined Donald in Atlanta and was called to Redeemer.  Following the transitions after Pastor Sims’ retirement, Pastor Mary went on to serve as transition/interim pastor for two congregations.  In 2010 Redeemer Lutheran issued a call to Pastor Mary to return and it is her hope to remain for a long time in her role as Associate Pastor for Member Care.

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Robin Durdin

BIO_RobinDurdinRobin Durdin has served the members of Redeemer as the Office Administrator since February 1999.

She is a Georgia native and graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta. Her professional experiences include being an office manager/sales administrator for both a large movie theatre group and Atlanta area veterinary clinic. Robin and her husband, Matthew, were married at Redeemer and have one daughter, Josephine.  They enjoy equestrian events and being active outdoors.

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Kate Elkins

kate elkinsKate Elkins comes to Midtown Lutheran Preschool with over 12 years of teaching and childcare experience.  Kate graduated from Furman University with a Masters in Early Childhood Education.  She has a wide variety of experience in education (preschool and elementary; charter and traditional public; single and mixed gender, and most recently mom to two year old Jude).  She is a state authorized trainer for early childhood care providers and a board member of Wesley International Academy charter school in southeast Atlanta.

Redeemer has been Kate’s home for over 10 years.  She has been active with youth and outreach board.  She met and married her husband, Jeff, here and they now raise their son in this community.  Kate’s other interests include the outdoors, cooking, reading, yoga, travel, and arts.  The Elkins’ live in Grant Park with Kate’s brother, Tim, and two dogs.

Kate is thrilled to have an opportunity to combine her love for education, for Atlanta and for Redeemer to lead the launch of Midtown Lutheran Preschool.  She is ecstatic to be able to focus her vision and theory into a school for Redeemer the midtown Atlanta community.  She fully embraces the notion that it takes a village to raise a child through her experience as a parent when she sees others love her son and give him pieces and gifts of themselves that she may not embody.  Working together creates a balance in life for the child, family, and the community.  Kate is excited to become a part of your village in partnering with you to nurture and educate your child

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David Hansen

BIO_DavidHansenDavid Hansen has served as Director of Adult Choral Activities at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer since December 2001. An Atlanta native, he began conducting while a student at Grady High School and has conducted for more than 40 years. He studied at Duke University, Georgia State University and Candler School of Theology of Emory University, though his most significant musical education has come through his long membership in the choruses of The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. As a musician, he has served on the staffs of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church and The Salvation Army. In addition to his duties at Redeemer, David is the assistant director of The Salvation Army William Booth Towers, a facility providing affordable housing for the elderly, handicapped and disabled.

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Sarah Hawbecker

BIO_SarahHawbeckerSarah Hawbecker is an active recitalist, full-time church musician, and winner of numerous competitions. She is a prize winner of both the 1998 and 1996 National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance. She won first place in the 1988 Undergraduate Organ Competition, Ottumwa, Iowa, and was a finalist in the 1992 Spivey International Competition. Ms. Hawbecker’s performances have been recorded and broadcast on American Public Media’s radio program Pipedreams®. She has performed for three different regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists, a national conference of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and served as adjudicator for several organ competitions, including the semi-final round of the 2008 National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance. She has been published in the journal The American Organist, and presents workshops throughout the region.

A native of Illinois, Ms. Hawbecker studied organ and church music with John Ferguson at St. Olaf College, where she earned the Bachelor of Music degree, Magna cum laude with Departmental Distinction, and was elected into Pi Kappa Lambda, the Music Honor Society. She went on to earn the Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Russell Saunders. An active lifetime member of the American Guild of Organists, she has served three terms on the AGO’s National Council, as well as on local and national committees. She is one of the authors of the Augsburg Fortress blog for musicians as well as a faculty member of the Greater Atlanta Leadership Program for Musicians.

Ms. Hawbecker has served as Organist and Director of Children’s Music at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Atlanta since 1996. At Redeemer, she oversees a program of two children’s choirs, four handbell choirs, a summer music camp, and a concert series.  She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Billy Fuller, and their son, Jonathan.

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Jennifer Isaacson

BIO_JenniferIsaacsonJennifer Isaacson grew up at Faith Lutheran Church in Knoxville, TN and moved to Atlanta to attend college and swim at Emory University.  After graduating from Emory with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1995, getting a job in accounting with Georgia-Pacific and passing the CPA exam (on the first try!), she began her search for a new church home.  She joined Redeemer in late 1995 and became very active in the young adult group, where she met her husband Paul, who joined Redeemer in early 1996.  Jennifer and Paul were married at Redeemer in 1999 and have since had their 3 boys baptized here.

Jennifer chose to leave the corporate accounting world after almost 12 years at Georgia-Pacific when a need arose at Redeemer.  Always feeling like “she could do this” while watching her father-in-law do the finance work at his church in Florida, when she heard the prior financial director had left and was asked if she knew of anyone who would be interested in the job, she knew this was her call.  Jennifer joined the Redeemer staff in March 2007.  She and Paul have three sons and live in Peachtree Corners.

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Karen Medford

BIO_KarenMedfordKaren Medford has been the Parish Nurse and Director of Health and Wellness at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer since the inception of the program. She has been a member of Lutheran Church of the Redeemer since 1991. Karen completed her baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN) at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.  She has experience in hospital-based nursing, physician office nursing, case management/home health nursing. Karen works closely with the pastoral staff to identify member care needs and to coordinate support. This often includes helping members find the community medical or social service resources that they need. She also serves on the Wellness Board to plan events and educational opportunities that promote physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. Additionally, she coordinates and trains the volunteers who provide outreach to homebound members. Gwinnett Medical Center’s faith community nursing program provides support and guidance to the nursing aspects of Karen’s ministry

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Tawanda Searcy

BIO_TawandaSearcyTawanda Searcy has been on Redeemer’s staff for for five years, serving as a welcoming face at the reception desk.  She, her husband and two children live in Norcross.  She enjoys spending time with her family and all things creative!

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Cathy Vogel

BIO_CathyVogelCathy Vogel has been affiliated with weddings at Redeemer since 1989, first, as a volunteer member of the Wedding Guild, then as Chair. Since 2005, as Wedding Director, she has used her long experience in the field to help numerous wedding parties and families craft the memories, which she hopes will last a lifetime.

Additionally, Cathy sings in both the Redeemer Choir and the Canticum Novum Ensemble and serves in an administrative capacity to the Director, as needed.  As Chair of the Heritage Guild, she uses her extensive knowledge of history and art to educate various groups in the history and symbolism of Redeemer’s beautiful facility.

When not performing duties at Redeemer, Cathy serves as a tour guide in many of Atlanta’s historic venues, including the Fox Theatre, Historic Oakland Cemetery, and  Atlanta History Center. She is deeply committed to Friends of Decatur Cemetery of which she is a founding member and past chair.

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Maria Welsh

BIO_MariaWelshMaria Welsh has been in Atlanta for 30 years, and has served at Redeemer for 13.  Before coming to Redeemer, she managed numerous Atlanta restaurants.  She loves to cook for family and friends.  She is originally from New Jersey; a first generation from full-blood Italian parents.  She enjoys vegetable and flower gardening, cooking and her dog, Bella.  Her passion is taking care of Redeemer and running the Redeemer food ministry for our “Street Members”. Once they walk through the red doors, they’re become “street members” instead of “homeless”.

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Karen Slappey

BIO_KarenSlappeyMission Developer/Atlanta Bar Church
Besides being the Associate Pastor for Outreach and Evangelism, Karen is a mother and wife. She thinks Jesus probably looked like Sayid from LOST. She has aspirations to live in a yurt and raise chickens. Karen is also the proprietor of Atlanta Bar Church, a twice monthly gathering of seekers, sinners, and saints who get together and sing old school hymns in a bar.

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Jennifer Fuchs

BIO_JenniferFuchsChildren and Family Ministry
Minnesota native Jennifer Fuchs is serving in Children and Families Ministries at Redeemer. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Catholic University, and BA in Psychology and Spanish from Concordia College. Prior to her family’s arrival in Atlanta in 2014, Jennifer was a counselor for preschool and school-age children coping with trauma and other mental health concerns. She has worked with immigrant and Spanish-speaking families in the areas of special education, mental health, and early childhood development; she also enjoyed giving workshops to community agencies, parents, and teachers in the areas of child development, mental health awareness, and self-care.

Jennifer and her husband, Mike, met at Concordia and their graduate education has taken them all over the Eastern Time Zone. They are happy to have settled in the Atlanta area, where they found a great church home at Redeemer. They live in East Point with their daughter; as a family, they enjoy camping and hiking, as well as many musical pursuits.

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Art Mathews

BIO_ArtMathewsProperty Administrator
Art has been a member of Redeemer since 1996. Raised in Connecticut, he graduated from Brown University in 1966, after which (seeing the handwriting on the wall) he enlisted in the Air Force during the Vietnam era. He earned his wings after a year of flight school at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia. Leaving the Air Force in 1971, he spent a short time as a management analyst trainee with the State of California in Sacramento, before being hired as a pilot by Delta Air Lines. Retirement from Delta came in 2003.

He served as treasurer in a previous Atlanta congregation and has been singing in church choirs since 1970 when he and Eda were married. They both are currently singing in the Redeemer Choir and Canticum Novum.

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The Rev. Mark H. Larson

BIO_MarkHLarson
Bio – The Rev. Mark H. Larson

Senior Pastor, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Saint Charles, IL, 2004-Present
Senior Pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church, Park Ridge IL, 1997-2004
Pastor, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Riverdale, IL, 1988-1997
M.Div. in Religion from Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA, 1987
B.A. in English and Religion from Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, 1984

Pastor Mark Larson knew he wanted to be a parish pastor when he was eight years old. Having a father who was a pastor probably had something to do with that early calling, but probably even more important was the congregation where Mark and his family worshiped. Reen Memorial was a small Lutheran congregation in the inner city of St. Louis, and in the 1960’s, was right in the middle of many of the struggles and questions being faced by the entire nation: the war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, school busing, gangs, drugs and the war on poverty. Reen was a congregation dedicated to welcoming all with the love of Christ, working on behalf of the poor, especially young people, and joining with other churches to improve the quality of life in its neighborhood. That early experience of how a congregation could be relevant and central to people’s everyday lives has remained a foundation for Pastor Mark’s vision of ministry from the beginning.

After graduating from Lane Tech. High School in Chicago and Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, Pastor Larson, enrolled in Harvard Divinity School for his seminary education. Firm in his Lutheran identity, he wanted to learn from other religious perspectives. Harvard certainly fulfilled that hope. Even as he worked as a Vicar for Students at University Lutheran Church in Harvard Square, Mark studied with students from all over the world from every kind of religious perspective imaginable. Another central part of his vision for ministry was formed during this time; when we are clear about what we believe and why we believe it, we can meet other beliefs with openness and respect rather than fear and judgment.

While serving his first parish as pastor, Our Savior’s Lutheran in Riverdale, IL, Mark met someone who shared his commitment to building community and faith active in love. Cindy Holler was hired by New Cities Community Development Corp. to help churches deal with the overwhelming amount of abandoned housing in the south suburbs of Chicago. While working together to build a senior housing complex on land that his church owned, Cindy and Mark fell in love and were married in 1994. Cindy now runs her own national consulting firm in the affordable housing sector, but until last year she worked to develop housing for the poor and homeless as Vice President for Real Estate Development for Mercy Housing, a national non-profit housing provider.

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Pastor Tom Kenny

BIO_TomKennyAssociate Interim Pastor
Rev. Tom Kenny served as senior pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Alpharetta, GA for twenty years until his retirement in September 2015. Prior to coming to Georgia, Tom served as pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church, Hialeah Florida for 10 years.

Tom is married to Barbara and they have one daughter and two granddaughters.

Tom was born in Ireland and raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1967.

Since retirement Pastor Tom has become a volunteer chaplain at Emory Johns Creek Hospital and at Sunrise Assisted Living in Alpharetta. He is honored to be invited by Pastor Dave to assist with the pastoral work at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.

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Seth Brown

Seth BrownSeth comes to us from the corporate worlds of technology and broadcast/cable television. Most recently, Seth worked in business development at Vonage Business and tech sales at GDP. Prior to that, Seth worked as a television Writer/Producer in the advertising, marketing and brand management divisions of Turner Broadcasting (CNN, TBS/TNT, Cartoon Network). Additional professional stints include facilities/operations management, industrial audio-visual and corporate security. Seth is actively involved with advertising and creative writing clubs in the Atlanta area, creating PSAs and public-service content for numerous non-profit organizations. In his free time, Seth enjoys playing basketball, biking, kayaking, martial arts, running and screenwriting.

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