- Phone: (239) 261-0894
- Mailing Address: 777 Mooring Line Dr. Naples, FL 34102
The Rev. Steven E. Wigdahl is an Iowa native who graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in 1975. After spending five years in the broadcast industry, he attended Luther/Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and graduated in 1984.
His ordination occurred on August 19, 1984, in his home congregation, Zion Lutheran in Ruthven, Iowa. He served for 15 years as Pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church in Ogden, Utah. He has been the Senior Pastor at Emmanuel since July 1999. Pastor Steve is married to his wife, Maria.
ASSOCIATE PASTOR & MISSION DEVELOPER FOR EMMANUEL COMMUNITY CHURCH
The Rev. José Lebrón was born in the Dominican Republic. He met his wife, Nieves, at the church where they were both members. Both were also attending medical school and after graduating they married. After their first year of marriage they welcomed their daughter Ana Elizabeth into the world, shortly thereafter they moved to Brazil where José and Nieves became pediatricians. They then had 2 more children, José Eugenio, and Nieves Judith.
After deciding to leave Brazil behind, the Lebrón's moved to the US and attended the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, IL where they both graduated - José with an M. Div. and Nieves with a Master in Arts. Nieves and José obtained master degrees in education.
Pastor José is an Associate Pastor and leads Emmanuel's second site, Emmanuel Community Church, which offers bilingual Spanish/English worship and outreach to the Pebblebrooke community of eastern Collier County.
The Rev. Dr. Richard Bliese is an accomplished leader, teacher, innovator, and visionary with extensive ministerial experience over three continents, with thirty years of leadership, non-profit, and entrepreneurial experience in over 15 different organizations, and deep teaching and consulting expertise nationally and internationally in theological education and congregational ministry. Dr. Bliese has served as a missionary pastor, professor, seminary president, and consultant to the greater church. He holds a Master of Divinity from Christ-Seminary Seminex, a Master of Theology from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Theology from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.
ASSOCIATE PASTOR & MISSION DEVELOPER FOR EMMANUEL COMMUNITY PARK
The Rev. William Kittinger is a Florida native and graduate of the University of South Florida. Prior to his call to ministry, he worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for over 15 years. He earned a Master of Divinity at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. He serves as an Associate Pastor and Mission Developer of Emmanuel's third site at Emmanuel Community Park on Oil Well Road in Northeast Collier County.
RESIDENT PASTOR COORDINATOR
The Rev. Frank Lee and his wife Jean come to us from their most recent home in Alexandria, Virginia. Pastor Lee graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in 1961 and Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN in 1965, receiving a Doctorate of Ministry from Luther Seminary, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1984.
Pastor Lee has served calls at Hope Lutheran Church in Fargo, North Dakota; Hope Lutheran Church, Clinton, Maryland; and most recently at Peace Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Pastor Lee accepted the Call to Emmanuel as Associate Pastor in June 2001. He served in that capacity until June 2017 and retired. He was appointed the following month as Resident Pastor Coordinator and serves as Pastoral Mentor and Supervisor to our Resident Pastors.
Karole Lanset grew up in Southeast Michigan. Her father was Lutheran pastor for over 30 years before he died in 2012 of glioblastoma. Her mother, Merry, is a teacher in K-8 education. She is the youngest of her siblings. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor in Science. She majored in Professional Written Communications and minored in Creative Writing. After she graduated she was her father's caregiver. After he died, she felt a call to be a caregiver for others. She then became a home caregiver for Affinity Private Care. Throughout her life, she had felt a call to ministry and during this time it was becoming louder. After considerable prayer and discernment, she entered into candidacy through the ELCA Southeast Michigan Synod. To work towards her Master of Divinity, she studied at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. Since entering candidacy, she has completed two CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) units. She has served as an intern chaplain. At Miravida Living in Oshkosh, WI, she developed a pastoral response to people in various levels of heath and stages of life. She volunteered with various congregations and served as pulpit supply throughout the Southeast Michigan synod. She looks forward to walking our journey in faith together here at Emmanuel.
LOIS ANN SORENSEN
Lois Ann Sorensen grew up in Racine, Wisconsin (in between Milwaukee and Chicago along Lake Michigan). Her father was a business systems telephone technician and died in 2014 from complications related to lung cancer; her mother was a medical assistant and receptionist who still lives in Racine and visits the family cabin near Mercer (northwest Wisconsin). Lois has one younger brother, a former police officer who is now an assistant medical examiner. She is married to Gregory (Greg) Gauthier, a dentist; they have a college-age son (also Gregory) who plays ice hockey.
Lois worked as an engineer for G.E. Medical Systems, then as a water conservation specialist for the Southwest Florida Water Management District (an environmental protection agency). She has a B.S. in Engineering from Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and a M.B.A. from the University of South Florida (Tampa, Florida). Lois also completed Florida Master Gardener, Stephen Minister, and diakoniaTM (lay theological program) training. She came back to her Lutheran baptism thanks to a work assignment to talk about water conservation during a Care for Creation adult education series at Grace Lutheran Church – Carrollwood (Tampa, Florida). Lois became a Synod Parish Deacon there and was involved in pastoral care, gardening, social media, altar guild, and other worship functions (preaching, serving as assistant minister and liturgist, planning healing services and the annual Blessing of the Animals, Lenten prayer cross, Pentecost special effects, soundboard, praise band, etc.). She credits parishioners and her mentor-pastor with helping discern a call to ordained ministry. Lois is now a seminarian at Luther Seminary (St. Paul, Minnesota). She completed Clinical Pastoral Education at Mease Countryside Hospital, where she served as chaplain for the patients, loved ones, and staff of the Critical Care Unit, orthopedics floor, Emergency Department, and other areas of the 311-bed facility. She is working toward graduation in May 2021 with a Master of Divinity.
In addition to ministry, Lois enjoys gardening, attending her son’s games, science fiction, and her two cats (Mark and Matthew).
ELCA DEACON FOR CHILDREN, YOUTH, FAMILIES & CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP
Jim arrived at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on August 1, 2001, with his wife and two children. Prior to being at Emmanuel, he was the director of student life ministry for seven years at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ramsey, Minnesota. Prior to Minnesota, he worked at a large church outside of Chicago in small group ministry. Prior to that, he received his M.A. in Missions and Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College in Illinois. Prior to that, he served four years overseas with an interdenominational mission organization, serving mainly in Africa, India, Asia, and the South Pacific.
ELCA DEACON FOR WORSHIP & MUSIC
Joyce Finlay began at Emmanuel as a part-time accompanist under H.G. Fisher in 2000. She became Principal Organist in 2004 and joined the Staff full-time in 2010.
Joyce received her B.A. in French (minor, Spanish) from the University of Tulsa and her M.A. in French from Purdue University. She taught French and Spanish for 34 years. Joyce and her husband, Doug, lived in Kansas City and Jacksonville before coming to Naples.
After completing numerous theological and musical studies, Joyce was commissioned and installed as Director of Music and Worship in November 2013.
Besides serving as organist and accompanist for the Emmanuel Ensemble and Choir, Joyce assists the pastors in planning the weekly worship services and scheduling worship participants. She helps with the weekly bulletin and Star, as well as with the monthly Newsletter.
ELCA DEACON FOR MISSION, SERVICE, & OUTREACH
Dee-Anne Schleutker, an Ohio native, received her B.S. in Nursing from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio in 1988. Most recently she completed the Diaconal training for service and outreach in 2012. She presently works with Pastor José Lebrón as a Community Liaison for Mission Development.
Carol received her BA from Purdue University, her MBA from International College and her RN from Edison Community College. She received her Parish Nurse Certification from the International Parish Nurse Association. Carol joined the Emmanuel Lutheran staff as Parish Nurse in 2005.
Over a career spanning 38 years, Theresa Shaw has earned her reputation as an effective and passionate advocate for education, youth, and families. For the past decade, she has devoted herself to leading two Boys & Girls Clubs - first in North Carolina and in Naples, Florida. Since 2011, Shaw has been the President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County (Naples).
Before the Boys & Girls Clubs, Shaw worked in the non-profit arena. She was the educational Consultant and Special Projects Coordinator for Communities in Schools in North Carolina which brings together all sectors of the community to make sure students are graduating on time, prepared for college, career, and life. She served as Leadership Development trainer for grassroots leadership programs, and as Community Fellows Coordinator, Development Director, and Assistant Executive Director for the Down East Partnership for Children in North Carolina, providing children with education and family strengthening programs through a network of agencies, schools, and health care providers. She began her career as a teacher in North Carolina and Wisconsin public schools after receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education from Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA.
Over her career, she has been Chairman of the Board, Board member, and/or member of numerous civic, professional, educational, non-profit and government organizations. Stepping down from her position as President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collier County in 2018, Shaw continues to follow her passion of advocating for education, youth and families through her work at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Naples, Florida.
Mrs. Shaw is married and has two adult children.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Vivian Duryea-Shea is the Business Administrator for Emmanuel Lutheran Church. In this capacity, she manages the business affairs of the church in the areas of finance and budgeting, insurance, fund-raising, office management, facilities and equipment management, risk management and security. She works closely with the senior pastor and the governing body of the church. She is also the staff coordinator for the church council.
Vivian earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Adelphi University and her Master of Business Administration degree from Hofstra University both in New York.
BUSINESS OFFICE MANAGER / EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
Gina is originally from Jamestown, NY and has lived in Southwest Florida for the last 20 years. She enjoys running, volunteers at the Humane Society and is an avid Red Sox fan. She and her husband, Fran, have a son named Sam who is currently attending law school in Boston, MA. They also have a pug named Romeo.
Deborah Vacca has been serving as Emmanuel's Bookkeeper since the summer of 2017. She is responsible for all facets of finance here at Emmanuel. Deborah has been working in various
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT - EMMANUEL COMMUNITY CHURCH