Rev. Martin Wells was born in Greeley, CO in 1949, the son of Les and Edith Wells, both teachers and public school administrators. The family moved to Anchorage, AK in 1960 and joined Hope Lutheran Church. Martin graduated from West Anchorage High in 1967 and attended the University of Denver where, in 1971, he was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After a two-year hiatus, Martin enrolled in the University of Puget Sound Law School where he was awarded a Juris Doctorate degree in 1976 and passed the bar exam in Alaska that summer. Having sensed a call to ministry, Martin enrolled at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. His internship was served at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton, WA. In 1979 Martin married Susan Briehl (M.Div, PLTS, 1981) and, after a year working at Pacific Lutheran University, completed seminary in 1981. He was ordained into The American Lutheran Church (ALC) in November 1981. Susan and Martin shared one full time call to Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, Bellingham, WA, from 1982-1986. Their two daughters, Mary Emily and Magdalena, were born in Bellingham. From 1986-1994 Martin and Susan served with Pr. Dan Erlander as University Pastors at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA. In 1994 Martin and Susan were called to the position of Executive Director, Holden Village, with partner Janet Grant. Martin was elected Bishop of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, ELCA, in June 1999. Martin and Susan reside in Spokane, WA, where Martin's interests include cooking, reading, bonsai trees, and the Great Lake Missoula Ice-Age Floods.
Pastor Helga Jansons was born in Adelaide, South Australia. She grew up in a Latvian speaking Lutheran congregation. Having attended Luther Seminary in Adelaide for a year as the only woman, she left home in 1989 to attend Princeton Theological Seminary to follow her calling to be a Pastor which is not possible for women in Australia. Together with 6 other Lutherans she was ordained in a Roman Catholic cathedral in New Jersey in 1992. She has served nine congregations; inner city, suburban and ethnic.
She has been trained as a Mission Developer and in Family Systems theory. When she did Mission Survey Work in the Tri-Cities, she discovered that people in the community are receptive to conversations about faith. Recently she served a thriving evangelical congregation as an interim, and learned what attracts young people to church. Her understanding of ministry has been transformed in the past few years and she is certain that the Lutheran church has a great deal to offer the world.
As the DEM Pastor Helga is accountable to both the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod and the EOCM (Evangelical Outreach for Congregational Mission) branch of the ELCA. The position is co-terminous with Bishop Martin Wells. She is available to congregations and clusters to encourage and support them to reach out and become more missional, to inspire and preach, and to help them discover what God might be up to in the church and community. She seeks to connect with lay and ordained people who are concerned about mission and evangelism in a Lutheran style. This includes those who care about people from other ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
Pastor Helga is also responsible for providing stewardship education and resources to congregations, and help them rediscover the joy of giving.
She will continue to live in Kennewick, WA with her husband Kirk Ruehl who is an ordained Presbyterian chaplain working with hospice at The Chaplaincy, and her sons Erik and Lukas.
Phylis Stromme, born and raised in western North Dakota, lived in Minnesota before moving to Washington State in 1990. Ordained in 2006, she has served as interim pastor in 8 congregation in the last 13 years in eastern Washington and northern Idaho so, she has lived, explored and traveled in the areas she is called to serve as a Net-Worker. Pastor Strome's experience and skills developed in this synod as a Transformational Ministry Leader, Coach, Behavioral Interview Trainer for Call Committees and a Healthy Congregations Trainer lend experience to working with congregations as a Net-Worker.
Pastor Stromme was an Associate in Ministry (AIM) for 10 years serving as Supply Pastor; counselor/therapist at Lutheran Community Services, Kennewick, WA and Social Worker and Bereavement Care Coordinator for Hospice, The Chaplaincy, Kennewick, WA; and also worked as a social worker in hospital and home health care. She is also a Licensed Social Worker in Washington.
David Kappus is excited to be a part of this new adventure in the EWA-ID Synod! He serves Central Lutheran Church in Spokane as their pastor and has gotten to know many of the people and areas around Spokane in the last decade. Dave was ordained in Western North Dakota in 1990 and has spent half of his pastoral ministry in rural communities.
David is a pastor, actor, musician, motorcyclist, avid reader, and animal lover. You may have seen him (or heard his drumming) on (or behind) several area stages. He lives in the Spokane Valley with his wife, Theresa, and their pets Stella and Rory (the dogs) and Hermione and Pumpkin (the cats). Dave and Theresa were married in 1995 and despite the dire predictions that a marriage between a pastor and librarian would be “categorically dull”, they have persevered to make it quite interesting indeed!
Cathy has served in the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod office as one of the Administrative Assistants since 1999. Cathy provides staff support in the areas of financial management, candidacy, and travel.
Cathy enjoys participating with and has served on the board of the Lutheran Staff Association. She is married to Mark Steiner and has two grown sons, Mitchell and Michael.
Gib comes to us from the staff at St. Mark's - Spokane, WA. A long time Spokane resident, he loves living here with his wife, son, a dog and a cat. Most of the rest of his family also live nearby. Born in Michigan, he relocated to Spokane while serving in the Air Force at Fairchild AFB. He is pleased to say that he's been a member of St. Mark's for what seems like his whole life, and has enjoyed getting to know their staff and members in that time.
He has a broad background in message sharing, having worked for and with government agencies, private businesses and non-profits in creative, teaching, training and branding roles. He enjoys blending his creative abilities and technical skills to produce communication pieces that are effective and visually appealing. He is looking forward to promoting the message of the Synod, improving the flow of communication in all directions, and helping individual congregations to do the same.