Pastor Michael Erickson, Pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church, was born and raised in Plymouth, Michigan. He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, majoring in religious studies with a minor in sociology. Pastor Erickson attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and completed his vicarage at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Marion. He received his first call to St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 2002 and joined Bethany in 2012. Pastor Erickson is married to Christine, and they have a son, Aiden. He spends much of his free time running and target shooting.
Phone: 319-364-6026, Ext. 102
Ronda Anderson, RN, is the Bethany Lutheran Church Parish Nurse. Her faith community nursing role includes health education, health resource, visitation, and coordinating volunteers. In her position she promotes whole person health, connecting body, mind and spirit. Ronda is a graduate of Bryan Hospital School of Nursing in Lincoln, Nebraska. Ronda states: “I have one of the best jobs at Bethany — being able to help others in a variety of ways! As Parish Nurse I am able to journey alongside our members through the highs and lows of life. Experiencing my own grief journey after the death of my husband in April 2012, God has been at work in amazing ways bringing comfort and a peace that passes understanding to me and my family. I have three adult kids that care for the five grandchildren. In my position, I oversee Bethany’s prayer ministry, Small Groups, and Stephen Ministry. I love vacationing on the shores of Lake Michigan at Camp Arcadia with my family and friends each summer and visiting my grandchildren.”
Phone: 319-364-6026, Ext. 105
Luke Viertel, Contemporary Worship Leader, comes to Bethany after graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Coe College in 2009. Born and raised a musician, his musical journey has taken him across the globe to Music Ministry in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee, and Vienna, Austria during his 5-month study-abroad, concert tours through Costa Rica and Eastern Europe, and many others. He has worked and performed with the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Coe College Theatre Arts, Cedar Rapids Concert Chorale, the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, The Insitüt für Europaischen Studieren, and many others. He has placed in regional and state singing competitions and is the beneficiary of several academic and scholarly awards. In addition to his stage performance, he maintains a career as a singer/songwriter with a volume of 50-plus original songs that he performs throughout the Midwest and as a session keyboardist for various groups in Eastern Iowa. Luke lives with his wife and their daughter.
Phone: 319-364-6026, Ext. 108
Carolyn Sternowski, Traditional Worship Director, is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She majored in music education at the University of Dayton with instrumental emphasis in piano and organ. She has pursued further studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Iowa, and Mount Mercy University. During her career, Carolyn has been an elementary music teacher in the Chesterfield County Public School in Virginia, a private piano and guitar teacher, and has served numerous faith communities as organist, vocal choir director, and handbell choir director, as well as Director of Music. Carolyn has served as the Director of Liturgical Music at Mount Mercy University. She currently teaches elementary music and directs a middle school chimes choir at Jane Andrews Christian Academy in Cedar Rapids, as well as serving Bethany Lutheran Church as organist and music director for the traditional service. In her spare time, Carolyn plays the harp with the Marion Chamber Trio and with Young at Harp. Carolyn and her husband, Bob, reside in Bowman Woods in northeast Cedar Rapids. They have three adult children and five exceptionally gifted grandchildren!
Melissa Gingrich, Office Manager at Bethany Lutheran Church, grew up in Sioux Rapids, Iowa. She attended the University of Northern Iowa, majoring in Public Relations with a minor in journalism. Missy worked for Alliant Energy for 11 years before moving to Kansas City in 1998. She began her church worker career at Platte Woods United Methodist Church as a Communications Coordinator and then as Church Business Administrator. In 2003, she and her family returned to Cedar Rapids. Missy worked at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church from 2004-2008 as Church Administrator. She came to work at Bethany in 2009 as bookkeeper and currently as Office Manager. Missy and her husband of 30 years, Kyle, have 3 sons, Ryan, Jason and Sam.
Phone: 319-364-6026, Ext. 104
Maren Hopkins, Communications and Office Coordinator, is a Cedar Rapids native. She graduated from Wartburg College in 2013 with a degree in Public Relations, and minors in Religion and Leadership. After college, she spent a year serving with Lutheran Volunteer Corps. Maren has been at Bethany since 2015, and enjoys playing in the Handbell Ensemble, serving on the Evangelism Committee, and helping at Vacation Bible School. Maren lives with her cat, Bella, and enjoys traveling around the Midwest to visit her family.
Phone: 319-364-6026, Ext. 100