Pastors & Staff
Our congregation is currently served by Lead Pastor Chris Manke, Associate Pastor Matt Schlake-Kruse and Associate Pastor Ann Williams (half-time).
Our staff is a cohesive group of faithful and dedicated leaders who strive to carry out our mission statement to “Welcome” “Nurture” “Equip” and “Send.”
- John Paradowski, Minister of Music, Organist, Director of Youth Choir, Adult Handbell Choirs, and various ensembles
- Gretchen Haugse, Youth and Sunday School Ministries
- Sue Swing, Adult Education, Small Groups, and Volunteer Ministries
- Jane Sandstrom, Older Adult Ministries
- David Mohr, Senior Choir Director
- Jeff Reeves, Director of Children and Youth Music Ministries
- Amy Dankwardt, Praise Kids, Co-Director
- Heide Hughes, New Creation Choir Accompanist
- Donna Gardner-Manke, Children’s Minister
- Jennifer Kramer, Financial Secretary
- Sonja Mohr, Communications Secretary
- Jill Due, Office Assistant
- Emily Wanezek, Assistant to Sunday School and Youth Ministries
- Marsha Olson, Cleaning Professional
- Bob Gardner, Custodial Assistant
Pastor Chris Manke
Pastor Chris Manke has been serving as Lead Pastor at St. Matt’s since September 2012. In this position, he is responsible for worship leadership and shared preaching; administration leadership; staff and building supervision; working with the finance and stewardship committees; leading the church council and visioning future ministries; working with confirmation students, youth and children; and global ministries. Prior to being named Lead Pastor, Chris served as Associate Pastor at St. Matthew’s from 1996 to 2012.
Pastor Chris is a graduate of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN and holds an undergraduate degree from Luther College in Decorah, IA. He lives in Wauwatosa, with his wife, Donna, (who serves as Children’s Minister at St. Matt’s) and their three children, Averie, Noah and Lilly.
In his spare time, Pastor Chris often has a camera in his hand or an iPad, iPhone or his laptop so he can be busy playing around with technology. Some of Chris’ photography from a mission trip to Africa was actually featured in a photo display at Starbucks in the Wauwatosa Village in April 2013.
Pastor Matthew Schlake-Kruse
Pastor Matthew Schlake-Kruse has served as Associate Pastor at St. Matthew’s since 2014. He is responsible for worship leadership and shared preaching, adult education and faith formation, social ministry, outreach, and evangelism. Pastor Matt has also served a rural congregation in South-Central Wisconsin from 2012-14.
Pastor Matt is a graduate of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH and holds undergraduate degrees in religion and economics from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. In his free time, Pastor Matt sings in the Chant Claire Chamber Choir, enjoys reading and writing about theology and social criticism, and following the St. Louis Cardinals. He and his spouse, Delaney—who is also an ELCA pastor— live in Wauwatosa.
Pastor Ann Williams
Pastor Ann Williams was installed as Associate Pastor at St. Matthew’s on June 12, 2016. In this half-time position, she is responsible for worship leadership, shared preaching, women’s ministry and visitation. Prior to being called to St. Matthew’s, Pastor Ann served a congregation north of Milwaukee from 2009-2013 and was a campus minister at Regis University in Denver from 2006-2009.
Pastor Ann is a graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and holds an undergraduate degree from Luther College in Decorah, IA. She lives in Waukesha with her husband (also an ELCA pastor) and their two children.
In her spare time Pastor Ann likes to travel, read, eat chocolate, try out new restaurants, garden and listen to her children laugh.
John Paradowski, Minister of Music/Organist
John Paradowski has been serving as Minister of Music/Organist at St. Matt’s since 1987, where he oversees a wide range of musical activities including multiple graded choir programs, worship planning, and a concert series. Specifically, John direct the Adult Handbell Choirs, Youth Choir and various small ensembles. He was awarded the National Religious Music Alliance, Award of Distinction“for developing and maintaining one of our nation’s finest worship music programs.”
John starting playing organ for worship when he was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped. He holds a degree in Organ Performance graduating with distinction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied organ and harpsichord with Dr. John Chappell Stowe. He has furthered studied music with Dr. Sharon Hansen, Dr. Susan Klotzbach and Dr. John Ferguson.
He lives in Brookfield, with his partner, Jeff, (who is the Director of Children’s Music Ministries) and his friendly little beagle Dolly (who often visits church as well). In his spare time, you are likely to find John looking for what the next piece of music to learn will be as well as editing and producing videos.
Gretchen Haugse, Youth and Sunday School Ministries
Gretchen Haugse has been in charge of Youth and Sunday School Ministries at St Matt’s since since 1998, and serving as Youth Director since 2005. In these positions, she leads activities for middle and high school youth, including the annual youth mission trip; teaches 9th grade confirmation; and directs St. Matt’s Sunday School ministry, which includes writing and revising curriculum. Gretchen also coordinates ministry with our partner congregations, especially Reformation and El Salvador. Prior to this, Gretchen taught high school English, after being a stay-at-home mom.
Gretchen holds a BA in English and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a teaching certificate from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She lives in Wauwatosa, and is the proud mother of four grown children: Justin, Kirstin, Kari, and Josh (university student).
In her spare time, you are likely to find Gretchen reading, cooking, and gardening.
Sue Swing, Adult Education, Small Groups and Volunteer Ministries
Sue Swing has been in charge of Evangelism, Adult Education and Volunteer Ministries at St Matt’s since 2001. In this position, she is responsible for welcoming and conducting new members classes; planning adult education sessions; small group formation/facilitation; and volunteer recruitment and scheduling. Prior to this, Sue served as the Resident Services Manager at St. Camillus Assisted Living Facility and as Program Director with The Shores Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program.
Sue holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in New Berlin, with her husband, Barrey, and two children, Monika and Mitchell.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Sue caring for her five pets or fostering a stray, working in the yard, playing tennis or running.
Jane Sandstrom, Older Adult Ministries
Jane Sandstrom has been in charge of Older Adult Ministries at St Matt’s since 2003. In this position, she is responsible for working with a committee to plan events,opportunities for service, and advocate on behalf of the older adults of St. Matthew’s. Prior to this, Jane served as Human Resources Assistant at Luther Manor.
Jane holds a BA degree in Secondary Education from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. She lives in Brookfield, and is the proud mother of two grown children (Dara Greene and Andrew Sandstrom) and is also the proud grandmother of four grandchildren
In her spare time, you are likely to find Jane reading or working a crossword puzzle.
David Mohr, Senior Choir Director
David Mohr has been serving as Senior Choir Director at St. Matt’s since 1988. In this position, he is responsible for leading the Senior Choir, which is the adult choir at St. Matthew’s that sings each week during the school year. Outside of St. Matt’s, Dave also directs The Lutheran A Cappella choir of Milwaukee, and has a day job in computer sales.
Dave holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in choral conducting from UW-Madison. He lives in Wauwatosa with his wife, Sonja (who is the Communications Secretary) and dog, Bucky. He is the proud father of three grown children: Chris, who lives in Evanston, IL with his wife, Alicia; Katherine, who lives and works in Madison; and Kyle, who lives and works in Winona, Minnesota.
In his spare time, you are likely to find David playing through music in search of the next choir anthem, or reading a good book.
Jeff Reeves, Children’s Choirs
Jeff Reeves has served as Director of Children’s and Youth Handbells since 2006 and Director of Children’s Choirs since 2008. In these positions, he is responsible for coordinating and directing choral and handbell choirs for children in pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. Jeff directs GODSBELLS (4th-6th gr. Choir chimes); RIGHTEOUS RINGERS (gr. 7th-12th handbells);co-directs PRAISE KIDS (K-2 choir) and NEW CREATION (3rd-6th gr. choir). Together, John and Jeff also offer a private piano studio at St. Matt’s.
Since 1990, Jeff has specialized in the field of church music for children. His work in both the music publishing industry and the local church has given him the unique opportunity to understand the needs of children’s choirs within the larger ecumenical community. He is the author of numerous publications including children’s music curriculum materials, teaching articles, as well as choral and handbell works for children of all ages. Outside of St. Matthew’s, Jeff also works as Choral Music Editor and Marketing Coordinator for Hal Leonard Corporation.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Master’s of Church Music degree from Southern Theological Seminary. He lives in Brookfield with his partner, John, (who is Minister of Music/Organist) and their friendly little beagle, Dolly (who often visits church as well).
In his spare time, you are likely to find Jeff spending time with family and friends and traveling to warm weather destinations!
Amy Dankwardt, Praise Kids Co-Director
Amy Dankwardt has been serving as the Praise Kids Co-Director at St. Matt’s since 2011. In this position, she is responsible for lesson planning and instruction of the Jr. and Sr. Kindergarten section of the Praise Kids. This includes weekly activities, teaching of songs and leading the group during church performances.
Amy holds a Master’s degree in Audiology from the University of Minnesota. Outside of St. Matt’s, Amy is the Manager of Audiology Services for Aurora Health Care in the metro Milwaukee area.
She lives in Menomonee Falls, with her husband, John and two children, Jack and Jameson. In her spare time, you are likely to find Amy at home reading, gardening or being involved with the one of the boys’ sports/activities.
Donna Gardner-Manke, Children’s Minister
Donna has been serving as the Children’s Minister at St Matt’s since 1997. In this position, she is responsible Kids for Christ; Disciples of Christ; Vacation Bible School; Family Lenten Time; and other activities involving grade school children. Prior to this, Donna served as Youth Director at two churches in Minneapolis.
Donna holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Science from UW-Oshkosh and a Master of Arts degree from Luther Seminary. She lives in Wauwatosa, with her husband, Chris, (who serves as Head Pastor at St. Matt’s) and their three children, Averie, Noah and Lilly.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Donna reading, driving her children to activities or spending time with her friends.
Jennifer Kramer, Financial Administrator
Jennifer Kramer has been St. Matthew’s Financial Administrator since September 2016. In this role, she is responsible for all receivable and payable functions of the church. She maintains the church’s financial statements, produces monthly financial reports for church council, generates quarterly giving statements for the members of St. Matthew’s, and coordinates the annual pledge drive along with various other administrative tasks. Prior to joining St. Matthew’s staff, Jennifer worked for over 20 years at a commercial property management company in downtown Milwaukee. In that role Jennifer addressed the various accounting and tax needs of the company, was the executive assistant to the owner & President of the company, and served as the office manager.
Jennifer attended UW-Milwaukee and MATC for her accounting studies. She lives in Wauwatosa with her husband Paul and two amazing daughters Hannah & Emily.
In her spare time you are likely to find Jennifer doing yard work, volunteering in our community, shopping, watching home improvement shows or spending time with her family and friends.
Sonja Mohr, Communications Secretary
Sonja Mohr has been serving as Communications Secretary at St. Matt’s since 1991. In this position, she is responsible for many administrative functions in the church office as well the writing and assembling of Sunday bulletin and the Voice newsletter.
Sonja holds a degree in elementary education from UW-Madison. She lives in Wauwatosa, with her husband, David (who is Senior Choir Director) and a fun-loving dog, Bucky. David and Sonja have two adult children, Katherine and Kyle. Katherine graduated from Luther College and lives in Madison and works in Verona, and Kyle graduated from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, where he now lives and works.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Sonja gardening, cooking or walking with Bucky.
Jill Due, Office Assistant
Jill Due has been an Office Assistant at St Matt’s since January, 2004. In this position, she is responsible for: typing/running the Sunday order of services; supervising Friday morning bulletin stuffers; sending weekly reminders to Sunday morning volunteers; keeping parish records up-to-date; typing certificates for baptisms, new members, etc.; and helping pastors and staff with miscellaneous projects. Prior to this, Jill was a teacher for 10 years and a children’s librarian for 5 years.
Jill holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UW-Madison and a Master’s degree in Library Science from UW-Milwaukee. She lives with her husband, Brian in Milwaukee, and is the proud mother of two young adults, Christopher and Jaime, who both live in Milwaukee.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Jill spending time with her husband or her sisters, playing tennis and word games, particularly Scrabble.
Emily Wanezek, Sunday School and Youth Ministries Assistant
Emily Wanezek has been Sunday School, Youth and Partnership Support/Pastor Assistant at St Matt’s since 2012. In this position, she is responsible for weekly preparation of Sunday School; support for youth and partnership events and activities; and assisting the pastors with various organizational and clerical tasks. Prior to this, Emily stayed at home with her young children.
Emily holds a Master’s degree in Athletic Training from Indiana University. She lives with her husband, Tom, in Wauwatosa and is the proud mother of three children, Abby, Maggie and Caroline.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Emily gardening and volunteering at the girls’ school.
Bob Gardner, Custodial Assistant
He lives in Milwaukee, with his wife, Joyce, and is the proud dad of two grown children (Donna Gardner Manke and Patrick). He is also the proud grandfather of six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. In his spare time, you are likely to find Bob up north fishing, wood working, or spending time with his family.