LEADERSHIP AT ST. LUKE LUTHERAN
The Rev. Matthew D. O'Rear
Pastor Matt (He, Him, His) serves as the pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church. Before being called to St. Luke, he served as the Dean of the Chapel and Assistant to the President at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, one of the seven seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Matt's educational journey includes studying philosophy and religious studies at Georgia State University, with additional coursework at the University of Georgia in Athens. He completed his Master of Divinity at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and further additional studies at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.
Pastor Matt's contributions and ministry to the church and wider community extend beyond
his pastoral role. He has held a variety of positions across the church, including serving as the Associate Dean at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Director of Admissions at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, and faculty for Theological Education with Youth (TEY) at The Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg. His dedication to the theological community and parish life led him to serve as the Theologian in Residence at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in New York City. His leadership, vision, and commitment are evident in his involvement in various programs, non-profits, and events within the church.
Currently, Pastor Matt serves as the Chair of the Board for Grace House Campus Ministry, Georgia Tech, and is a member of the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Board. He also lends his expertise as an advisor to the Board of Seafarers International House in New York City. Through these roles, Pastor Matt continues to make a positive impact and foster connections within the broader church and ministry landscape.
Since entering public ministry in 2008, Matt has been committed to helping people discover their calling as "public theologians" to a world in need. His passion for theology, coupled with his love for the church and its mission, drives his dedication to serving God's people.
Pastor Matt brings a wealth of experience, a deep commitment to his faith, and a warm and welcoming presence to the St. Luke Lutheran community. He looks forward to guiding and supporting the congregation as together they seek to make a positive impact in the world through their shared Christian faith, love for God, and love for one another. He and his husband are thrilled to be part of St. Luke Lutheran Church.
Music Director and Organist
Jonathan has been at St. Luke since August 2015. After undergraduate studies in piano, organ and music history at Florida State University, he earned a Master of Sacred Music degree in organ performance from Emory University and the Candler School of Theology. He served as a church musician to several Lutheran and United Methodist congregations in the Atlanta area before coming to St. Luke. He also performs on recorder with local period-instrument chamber ensembles and orchestras.
Michelle is our talented and dedicated Parish Administrator at St. Luke Lutheran Church. Since March 2017, Michelle has been an invaluable member of our team, bringing her expertise and passion to support our congregation.
Originally hailing from Washington state, Michelle's journey has taken her across the country. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University, specializing in Architectural Interior Technologies. With her background in design, she brings a unique perspective and attention to detail to her role.
As a mother to her son, Tristan, Michelle understands the importance of creating a welcoming and nurturing environment for families. Her personal experience translates into a genuine care and understanding for the needs of our church community.
In her capacity as Office Manager, Michelle plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation of our church. From managing schedules and coordinating events to facilitating communication, she keeps things running seamlessly. Her organizational skills and dedication keep our administrative tasks in order, allowing our ministry and programs to thrive.
Beyond her professional responsibilities, Michelle embodies the spirit of St. Luke Lutheran Church through her warmth and willingness to assist others. Approachable and friendly, she serves as a trusted point of contact for our members and visitors, offering support and guidance whenever needed.
We are grateful to have Michelle as part of our team, contributing to the vibrancy and vitality of our church community. Her commitment to serving others, combined with her expertise and genuine care, enhances our mission of loving God and loving one another.
Dr. Daniel Quiggin, President
Mr. Josh Pitre, Vice President
Ms. Helen Davis, Secretary
Ms. Kim Donina, Treasurer
Dr. David DeRuyter, At-large Member
Ms. Lora Schaeffer, At-large Member
ABOUT OUR CONGREGATION
For over 60 years, St. Luke Lutheran Church has been a vibrant and inclusive community, serving the diverse needs of Atlanta and its surrounding areas. Since our inception in 1961, we have been deeply rooted in the northwest Atlanta community and committed to making a lasting difference.
At St. Luke Lutheran, we believe in the power of openness and embrace all individuals who seek to deepen their faith and experience the unconditional love of God. Through meaningful worship, nurturing fellowship, and impactful service, we strive to cultivate disciples of Jesus Christ and actively contribute to the transformation of our world.
We recognize and honor the historical significance of the land on which our church stands, acknowledging its traditional Mvskoke and Tsalaguwetiyi heritage. With profound respect for this sacred ground, we are committed to fostering healing, reconciliation, and unity with Native communities as we journey together towards a future of understanding and collaboration.
As we look to the future, we place our trust in God's guidance, seeking to grow in love, compassion, and service. Together, we make a positive impact in our local community and extend our reach to touch lives beyond our walls. We are dedicated to sharing God's love and embodying the teachings of Jesus Christ in all that we do.
We invite you to join us at St. Luke Lutheran Church as we embark on this faith-filled journey together. Together, we strive to love God, love one another, and make a meaningful difference in the world around us.
A History of St Luke Lutheran Church
Nestled within the vibrant community of northwest Atlanta, St. Luke Lutheran Church has been a cherished spiritual home for over six decades. Our church's journey began in 1962 when the Division of American Missions of the American Lutheran Church (ALC) recognized the need for a mission in this flourishing region. It was during this time that the spirited Rev. Jerry L. Straszheim, freshly graduated from seminary, was called from Columbus, Ohio to become our very first pastor.
Rev. Straszheim's arrival marked a significant turning point in our church's history. With his infectious enthusiasm and unwavering dedication, he embarked on a mission to reach the unchurched and the inactive. Knocking on over 3500 doors, he extended a warm invitation to individuals from all walks of life, inviting them to experience the love and grace of God. His passion and commitment laid the foundation for our vibrant and inclusive community.
On September 8, 1963, a momentous occasion took place as our very first worship service was held at Birney Elementary School. This marked the beginning of a transformative journey as the congregation gathered to worship, share their faith, and grow together. As the community continued to thrive, the vision for a permanent place of worship became a reality.
Construction on our present site commenced in October 1963, and with the unwavering support of our devoted members and the wider community, the church building was completed. It was a joyous moment on May 31, 1964, when we first worshiped together in our newly constructed sanctuary. The building was officially dedicated on November 15, 1964, a testament to the faith, resilience, and collective effort of our congregation.
Throughout the years, St. Luke Lutheran Church has been blessed with a succession of dedicated pastors who have shepherded our community with love, wisdom, and grace. From Rev. Straszheim's spirited leadership (1962-1971) to the beloved and enduring ministry of Rev. Gordon Reinertsen (1972-2011), each pastor has played an integral role in shaping our church's identity and fostering a spirit of community.
Rev. Ruth Hamilton (2012-2017), Rev. Craig Storlie (2011-2012), Rev. Paul Summer (2017-2019), Rev. David Osborne (2019-2020), Rev. Noah Herren (2020-2022), and our current pastor, Rev. Matthew O'Rear, have all left their unique imprint on our congregation's history. Their passion for ministry, dedication to spiritual growth, and unwavering commitment to serving God's people have inspired us and propelled us forward on our faith journey.
Beyond the milestones and the pastors, it is the collective spirit and active involvement of our members that have truly shaped the essence of St. Luke Lutheran Church. Together, we have embraced the call to be agents of love, compassion, and justice in our community and the wider world. Our church has become a place where individuals from diverse backgrounds come together, united by a shared faith and a deep desire to make a positive difference.
Today, as we celebrate our rich history and look towards the future, we remain rooted in our commitment to be a place of welcome, inclusivity, and spiritual growth. We recognize that it is not the size of our congregation that defines us, but the strength of our community and the depth of our connections. As a small church with a big heart, we are driven by a collective sense of purpose and a shared commitment to live out our faith in tangible and transformative ways.
With open hearts and open minds, we embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, knowing that together, as the St. Luke Lutheran Church community, we can make a lasting
The Rev. Noah Herren - 2020 - 2022
The Rev. David Osborne - 2019 -2020
The Rev. Paul Summer - 2017 - 2019
The Rev. Ruth Hamilton - 2012 - 2017
The Rev. Craig Storlie - 2011 - 2012
The Rev. Gordon Reinertsen - 1972 - 2011
The Rev. Jerry L. Straszheim - 1962 - 1971
PHOTOS OF ST. LUKE LUTHERAN