Pastoral and Ministry Staff
Rev. Dr. Steven Nelson, Senior Pastor
Pastor Steve graduated from Augsburg College and Luther Northwestern Seminary in the Twin Cities. His great passions are preaching and worship, helping churches discover their God-given vision, and working with people of all ages. "The Holy Spirit gives believers many different gifts," says Pastor Nelson. "They are like pieces in a puzzle. Put together, they reveal the total picture of God's presence and work. Even one missing piece makes it incomplete. Come, share your piece!" Pastor Steve received his Doctor of Ministry Degree from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 1992. His area of specialty is congregational visioning. For fun, he rides his motorcycle, follows sports (especially baseball) and hangs out with his kids.
Pastor Ivy L. Huston, Associate Pastor for Faith Formation
Pastor Ivy graduated from GustavusAdolphusCollege in 1998 and following college participated in a year of volunteer service through Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Chicago. While in Chicago, she worked as a youth outreach worker in a congregation, walking with the families of the congregation as they decided to close the congregation and begin again as a mission redevelopment congregation. After two years in Chicago, Pastor Ivy returned to the Twin Cities to attend Luther Seminary, graduating in the spring of 2004 with a Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in Youth and Family Ministry. After being ordained, Ivy was called to Bethlehem Lutheran church in Brainerd, MN where she spent 6 years serving the congregation as associate pastor and main youth leader. She loves crafting sermons, leading worship and working with the youth and their families as we work to pass the faith around. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, her black lab Shelby and many friends, along with playing volleyball, taking in sporting and theater events around the Cities and watching NCAA Men’s basketball. Pastor Ivy joined the St. Marks’ family in November of 2010.
Laura Twedell, Youth Associate
Laura recently graduated from Luther Seminary with my Masters in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry. She is from Grand Forks, ND and I did her undergraduate at the University of North Dakota. Laura has spent six summers working at Presbyterian Clearwater Forest summer camp in Deerwood, MN and loves camp! She also enjoy singing and playing music, photography, kayaking, and traveling.
Robert Murphy, Director of Music
As the music director at St. Mark’s for twenty five years,Robert has been kept busy conducting vocal choirs, handbell choirs, developing groups such as the New Jordan Singers and the contemporary worship band “The Morning Psalm,” and overseeing the music programs for the children and youth choirs. For special services and programs, he often finds musicians from outside the church to perform. In addition, he plays the organ and piano for church services, weddings, funerals and many other occasions as needed. He watches over the musical life of the church, working with the pastors and the worship and music committee to plan services. Robert is a graduate of Pacific Union College’s music department and holds a master’s degree in sacred music from Westminster College, New Jersey. When not playing the organ or directing a choir, Bob likes to relax by listening to classical music. Bike riding, tennis, walking and CD shopping are favorite hobbies for him, but not as great as his passion for Gopher hockey. He has been a season-ticket holder for many years and can be heard grumbling on many a Sunday morning in the choir room about the Gophers’ play of the night before.
Dorothea has been on staff in the music department at St. Mark's for over 26 years. Her many jobs include directing of the Colla Voce Choir, which is for 6th - 12th graders, playing the organ and/or piano for services, and accompanying The Choir of St. Mark’s as well as assisting with directing when needed. She has a B.A. degree from NorthlandCollege in vocal music education with piano as her major instrument. She received a master’s degree from U.W. in RiverFalls in English/Theater and did further graduate work at Hamline and St. Thomas. Dorothea has spent 39 years teaching music and English in public schools in Wisconsin, and here in North St.Paul, as well as with the U.S.Dept. of Defense in Germany. She teaches piano and upon occasion subs in the local schools. When she is not involved in music, Dorothea enjoys reading, gardening, traveling, going to concerts, and spending time at her cabin in Wisconsin.
Judy Larkins, Hospitality, Small Groups & Drama Ministry
Judy has been a part of the lives of the people of St. Mark's for over 30 years. Under her direction and leadership, and with the hard work of volunteers, the Hospitality Team has provided a caring place for all to relate to our Lord's love through His Word and deeds. Judy also drives St. Mark's drama ministry for all ages. This ministry stages three or four major productions each year. Performances include Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph, and Footloose. In her free time, Judy enjoys spending time with her family, reading, gardening and traveling.
Jan Winkler, Children's Ministry
Jan has been sharing God's love with children, youth and families for 27 years, serving churches in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Since moving to Cottage Grove 11 years ago, she was blessed to work at Newport Lutheran, St. paul Lutheran in Stillwater, and Memorial Lutheran in Afton.
Jim Bixby, Intern Pastor
Jim is a student at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. He has lived all over the states, and a brief time in Germany and Austria. Travel is one of his true loves, but it competes closely with cooking, camping and wine for his affections.