Pastor Jerry L. Reynolds is a native Ohioan, born in Hamilton, Ohio and a 1976 graduate of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He attended Columbia Theological Seminary of Atlanta, GA; Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, GA; The Interdenominational Theological Seminary of Atlanta at the Lutheran Center of Atlanta; and graduated Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a Masters of Divinity in 2003. He was licensed to serve his first call in Marietta, GA in June, 2003 and ordained as a pastor in the ELCA on July 20, 2003.
Pastor Reynolds and his wife, Ann, celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on December 20, 2016. They met in their late teens and have been together since. They have been blessed with three daughters: Erin graduated the University of West Georgia, and teaches 1st and 2nd Grade Special Education for Autism and moderate Behavioral kids. Kelly graduated Kennesaw State University and is a city planner in Brookhaven, GA. Casey graduated Georgia State University and is pursuing graduate studies.
Rev. Reynolds is a second career pastor. He spent 30 years in various management positions in Fortune 200 companies. The majority of his experience was in manufacturing and operations in the pulp and paper industry. He served as a Corporate Safety Manager for a number of years prior to his leaving business to attend seminary. His 30 years of corporate managing and leading others is real-life experience that adds credibility to his ministry. It better enables him to relate to and pastor others. It provides the real life experience of "I've been there, done that." This allows him to bring the real world into the world of the church.
Rev. Reynolds' pastoral leadership and philosophy is that "none of us individually are as gifted as all of us collectively." Ministry is about assessing the gifts of the gifted and empowering them to use their gifts in service to the church and others. Pastor Jerry sees the gospel as his passion and pastoral ministry as living out this passion. Leading a congregation of God's faithful people, to strive to do Christ's work on earth, is a humble, solemn duty.
Pastor Jerry believes our faith is Christ's faith given to us. We are called to live our lives according to the "Great Commission" of Matthew 28. But first we must have the faith, strength and courage to live Matthew 5, 6 and 7. Each day we must ask God to use us as God wills. As easy as that sounds is as difficult as it is. We can't do this without Christ's faith. We must also live a healthy lifestyle and be spiritually renewed through prayer and discipleship. Our faith is a process in which we are charged to continually grow.
Pastor Jerry and his family are looking forward to being a part of First Lutheran Church. They are eager to engage in Christ's ministry at this place to be disciples into our community of Manhattan to do "God's work. Our hands."
Pastor Liz Kocher
Rev. Liz Kocher is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and is excited for the opportunity to join the ministry team here at First Lutheran Church as your Associate Pastor. The foundation of Pastor Liz’s call to ministry is building relationships with people, and teaching through word and sacrament the love that God has for all God’s people. Her ministry is one of creating an open and welcoming space- a space where we can ask questions, and wonder about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Her vision for First Lutheran is to create that open space where youth and young people can flourish, discovering the gifts God has given them and engaging them in a community that cares deeply for them. Pastor Liz believes it is in caring for others that we witness the love of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Liz graduated with her Masters of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, and with a Bachelors of Music from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to seminary, she served congregations in Lincoln and with campus ministries as worship and music director, as well as taught youth piano lessons. During field education in seminary she served Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran in Chicago, and served her internship at Faith Lutheran in Shelton, Washington. Her first call was as interim pastor to a wonderful group of folks in southern Alabama, at Triumphant Cross Lutheran in Dothan, AL. Her husband, Phil, is a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army, and is currently stationed at Ft. Riley, KS.
Pastor Liz’s passions for ministry are especially found in preaching and worship leadership, engaging youth in meaningful ways, and military pastoral care. Her and Phil are both from Nebraska, and are avid Nebraska Cornhusker football fans. When she is not at the church, they can usually be found hiking, camping, or searching for a new favorite show on Netflix.
Kathryn's Office Hours are Mondays 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Kathryn Focke joined the staff in April of 2013. She is a graduate of Kansas State University, a business owner and designer. She has extensive experience working with community and state wide organizations and has taught at KSU. She states, "At this stage in my life, I would like to use my life experiences to work with people and organziations that help others to help establish a dynamice and effective ministry for this congregation."
Stephanie Grynkiewicz, Director of Congregational Life
Stephanie Grynkiewicz has been a member of First Lutheran Church since 1978. She and her husband, Ross, were married at First in 1997, and both of their children were confirmed here. Joshua, a senior in high school, will be attending KSU in the fall; and Samantha is a freshman in high school. Stephanie and her family are active in numerous community organizations, and you will find them around town at many different events!
Tynisha is a recent graduate of Kansas State University who majored in Early Childhood Education and has over 20 years of experience working with young children and their families. She is originally from North Carolina and now lives here in Manhattan with her husband and two children.
Greg Knittel, Handbell Choir Director
Greg began directing the hand bell choir in 2003. Greg and his wife Susan have been members of First Lutheran since 1987 and have a son David who is attending the University of Kansas. Greg holds degrees in Music Education from Wichita State University and the University of Nebraska Kearney. Prior to living in Manhattan, he taught instrumental and vocal music in western and north central Kansas.
Julie Londeen, Bookkeeper
Julie joined the First Lutheran staff in June 2015 as the bookkeeper. She has a Business Administration degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to joining the staff she worked as a commercial lines underwriter and as an office manager for a real estate company. She and her husband Eric joined the church in 1988, and have two daughters, Kirsten and Emily.
Carolyn Wells, Financial Recorder
Dottie Kvasnica, Organist
Dottie was born in Canton, Ohio, began learning the organ in high school, then studied with professional organists and professors of organ at Wheaton College, IL, Sterling College, KS, University of Sioux Falls, SD, and Kansas State University and was part of the music program there. She has been an organist in a variety of churches for over 40 years. She has also taught piano and worked in various office settings. Dottie and her late husband, Sam, were married for 53 years and have two sons, a daughter-in-law and five grandchildren—all living in Manhattan.
Dan Russell, Groundskeeper