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 Friday.

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

Pastoral Staff

click on photo for bios

Pastor David Osborne
Interim Senior Pastor

The Rev. Mary Peters
Pastor for Member Care
karenslappy

Pastor Karen Slappey
Misson Developer
Atlanta Bar Church
Tom Kenny

Pastor Tom Kenny
Associate Interim Pastor

 


Lay Staff

click on photo for bios

Sandra Bohlken
Youth Choir Director / 9:45 Worship Leader

Susan Cordell
Parish Associate/Program & Communications Director

Robin Durdin
Office Administrative Assistant

Kate Elkins
Pre-School Director

Jennifer Fuchs
Children and Family Ministry

David Hansen
Adult Choral Director

Sarah Hawbecker
Organist & Children’s Music Director

Jennifer Isaacson
Financial Information Director

Amber Koter
Website and Social Media

Art Mathews
Property Administrator

Karen Medford
Parish Nurse for Health & Wellness

Tawanda Searcy
Receptionist

John Thomas
A/V Director

Cathy Vogel
Wedding Director

Maria Welsh
Facilities & 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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Sandra Bohlken

BIO_SandraBohlkenSandra serves at Redeemer as the in the area of Children’s Learning and is the director of the J.O.Y. Choir. Sandra graduated from Boise State University with a Bachelor’s in philosophy. She has studied vocal performance and piano for many years, including 3 years at the collegiate level. She and Greg have been married for five years and enjoy spending time going to movies and concerts as well as taking walks and playing with their two-year-old black lab puppy, Wally. Sandra is excited about where God is leading Redeemer and is overjoyed to be a part of Redeemer’s vibrant community.

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Susan Cordell

BIO_SusanCordellSusan Cordell is one of a few native “Atlantans”!  Susan joined the Redeemer Ministry Team  in 1989, following a 12 year career in the Hospitality Industry.

Susan has served in multiple areas of ministry since her call  to Redeemer.  Initially, she helped with developing a comprehensive communications/marketing  strategy to rebuild Redeemer’s presence in Midtown as well as attract Young Adult Singles and those with children. She presently  works closely with the Pastors and Staff in new program development, operational administration  and serves as one of the worship leaders for our 9:45 Worship service.  Susan is married to Dick Cordell, has four children and six grandchildren!

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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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Amber Koter-Puline

Amber Koter-Puline

Amber Koter-Puline is originally from Pennsylvania and graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Education.  She served as a Director of Education for Sylvan Learning Centers in Pennsylvania for two years before starting a preschool at a Lutheran Church in New York.

After moving to Atlanta, she joined Redeemer’s staff in 2004 as Director of Family Ministries and has since enjoyed serving the congregation in a variety of roles with people of all ages.  Amber’s passion is using social media to help others.  When she is not updating the Redeemer website and Facebook page or caring for her family, Amber volunteers in the area of Women’s Mental Health, including as a facilitator of support groups in the Atlanta metro area and as author of a well-recognized blog.

Amber is fueled by friendships, yoga, prayer, and bacon.  She lives in Atlanta with her sons and husband.

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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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Bill Porter

BIO_BillPorterBill comes from the Washington D.C. area and attended college at The University of Tennessee 2005-2010. He studied Studio Music and Jazz and was a devoted member of the Tennessee Marching Band. While in school he was hired on at Faith Lutheran Church in Farragut TN where he met Pastor Matt Simpkins. In the summer of 2010 he sold all of his furniture, moved out of his apartment and left his job in Knoxville TN. He went to work his seventh summer at United Methodist Camp Tekoa where he put his life in God’s hands. Through the summer he felt the call to move to Atlanta and help to start a mid town mission church with Pastor Matt Simpkins, after prayerful consideration he accepted and moved his life south. Through his life he has been very involved in church and youth group and considers everyone his friend. He may come off as scary towering 6’6″, but deep down he is just a guy who loves cartoons and giving out hugs. With Tim the tool man Taylor being a role model for him and his Dad, Bill loves learning how things work and doing them himself.

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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 having the coolest job… EVER… Karen is a leader of young adult ministry, beer snob, and tipper of sacred cows. She 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. She is serving as Vicar on her journey to ordination as a pastor in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Karen is also the proprietor of Atlanta Beer and Hymns, a 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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Pastor David Osborne

BIO_DavidOsborneInterim Senior Pastor
Pastor Dave is recently retired after ten years at Christ Lutheran Church in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Previously he worked as Assistant to the Bishop of the Southeastern Synod as Pastor for Transforming Congregations. In addition, as a mission developer he planted Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Woodstock where he served as Senior Pastor for thirteen years.

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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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