Our congregation is currently served by Lead Pastor Chris Manke, Associate Pastor Matt Schlake-Kruse and Associate Pastor Ann Williams (half-time).
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 Milwaukee.
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.
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.”
Minister of Music, Organist, Director of Youth Choir, Adult Handbell Choirs, and various ensembles
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. Specifically, John directs the Adult Handbell Choirs, Youth Choir, Assists with the Children’s Choirs 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 lives in Brookfield, with his husband, Jeff, (who is the Director of Children’s Music Ministries) and his friendly little beagle Dolly (who often visits the 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 videos.
Youth and Sunday School Ministries
Gretchen Haugse has been in charge of Youth and Sunday School Ministries at St Matt’s 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 the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She lives in Wauwatosa and is the proud mother of four grown children: Justin, Kirstin, Kari, and Josh.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Gretchen reading, cooking, and gardening.
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.
Older Adult Ministries
Julia Murphy began her role as Older Adult Ministries Coordinator in August of 2017. In this role Julia works with the Older Adult Ministries Steering Committee to plan monthly meetings, presentations, meals, and outings for the older adults of St. Matthew’s and their guests.
Julia holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in General Music Education and in Music Therapy as well as a graduate degree in Adult and Continuing Education. She lives in Wauwatosa with her husband Peter and brother Norman. She and Peter have two daughters, Meghan and Nora.
In addition to serving the vibrant community of seniors at St. Matthew’s, Julia enjoys teaching a baby/parent music class and keeping the books for the family business. During nice weather you may catch Julia and Norman biking around town on their blue tandem bicycle.
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 in Madison; and Kyle, who lives in Hopkins, 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.
Director of Children and Youth Music Ministries
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 the 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!
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, the 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 one of the boys’ sports/activities.
New Creation Choir Accompanist
Heide Hughes began her role as New Creation Choir accompanist in September 2012 after moving up from Praise Kids, where she had accompanied for several years before. In this position, Heide assists with all rehearsals for the children’s choir and the Sunday morning services when they sing, as well as with the New Creation musical.
Heide received her Bachelor of Music Therapy degree from UW-Eau Claire and has been working with seniors and in hospice/end of life for most of her career. She lives in Menomonee Falls with her husband, Robert, and they have been members of St. Matthew’s since 1998. They have two daughters, Abby and Emily, both of whom are involved in music at St. Matt’s.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Heide reading or supporting her kids’ activities and spending time with family and friends.
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 Lead Pastor at St. Matt’s) and their three children, Averie, Noah and Lilly.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Donna reading, attending children’s activities or spending time with her extended family and/or friends.
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 lives in Madison and works in Verona, and Kyle lives in Hopkins, Minnesota, with his fiancée, Megan Boyer.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Sonja gardening, cooking or walking with Bucky.
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.
Sunday School and Youth Ministries Assistant
Jennifer Dugan has been Sunday School support at St Matt’s since November of 2017. 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, Jennifer stayed at home with her two young children.
Jennifer holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree form Concordia University. She lives with her husband, John, in Wauwatosa and is the proud mother of two children, Colin and Margaret.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Jennifer running, gardening and spending time with family and friends.
Al Van Lith began his role as Financial Bookkeeper and Administrator in May, 2018. In this role, Al is responsible for the day-to-day financial activities of the church. That includes depositing weekly offerings, paying invoices and producing monthly financial statements for council. Al will also be taking over the volunteer scheduling once he gets his feet under him.
Al holds a degree in accounting from UW-Milwaukee. Al has worked in various positions thoughout the years including FIS Global, Dedicated Computing and The Milwaukee Jewish Federation. In addition, for the past seven years, Al has been on the Board of Directors for the Elmbrook Education Foundation, recently working as their Treasurer.
He lives in Brookfield with his wife of 25 years, Susan. He has two daughters, Caitlin who is a St. Olaf graduate and is working at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She will be getting married at St. Matthew’s in June of 2019. His other daughter is Alia, a junior at Brookfield East High School who keeps busy with swimming and working crew for all the theatrical productions.
In his spare time, you are likely to find Al on the golf course, on the stage, travelling or enjoying life with family and friends.
Marsha Olson began providing her cleaning services in January, 2017.
In this position, Marsha cleans all restrooms, and removes trash and recyclables from the entire building daily; cleans the main and upper kitchens weekly along with dusting and vacuuming all areas; and does special periodic projects from everything like cleaning the ovens in the main kitchen to cleaning the outside of all lower level windows. She also orders all cleaning supplies and paper goods for the restrooms and kitchens.
She lives in Wauwatosa with her husband, Dick, who is retired. They have two daughters, Joyce and Dena. Joyce is an RN supervisor living in Menomonee Falls, and Dena lives in Florida and fabricates medical devices.
In her spare time, you are likely to find Marsha working in the flower garden, cooking new recipes, making artificial flower arrangements or dabbling in her newest hobby of rearing Monarch butterflies.
Event Setups and Custodial Assistant
Dave Fagerberg began his role as Event Setups and Custodial Assistant in August 2017. He became a member of St. Matthew’s in December 2010 and is also on the church property committee. When you see Dave working at St. Matthew’s he will be setting up the many religious and social events and activities scheduled during the busy church calendar year. Dave holds a bachelor’s degree in business/interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in business (MBA) from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He is a retired manufacturing plant and facilities project engineer/project manager. Dave served in the U.S. Air Force for 6 years active duty and is a retired Captain in the reserves. He lives in Wauwatosa and has relatives in Madison, Illinois and Iowa. In his not-so-much spare time, he maintains 3 apartment buildings in Milwaukee for a fellow St. Matthew’s member. Dave enjoys going on the mission trips. He has been to New Orleans, Joplin, Oklahoma City, Minot, and Houston.
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 four great-grandchildren. In his spare time, you are likely to find Bob up north fishing, woodworking, or spending time with his family.
We are blessed with a group of faithful and dedicated people to lead our congregation in its vision and mission. St. Matthew’s Church Council is made up a group of twelve members of the congregation who serve for three years.
St. Matthew’s Church Council 2018
(Front Row, L-R) Andrew Cherney (President), Jennifer Wills (Fellowship), Michele Wolaver (Education), Lynne Thomas (Worship & Music), Karen Freiberg (Finance). (Middle Row, L-R) Darla Hium (Social Ministry), Katrina Ubell (Evangelism), Erin Weileder (Youth), Ed Bross (Property). (Back Row, L-R), Pastor Christopher Manke, Chris Kent (Communications), Dan Herrell (Human Resources), Ryan Engelhardt (Stewardship), Pastor Matthew Schlake-Kruse.