We are a community in transition. Spirit of Grace continues to be a vibrant place of worship, education, and social justice, and we are fortunate to be served by a wonderful interim pastor (who also happens to be a member) and visiting Catholic priests.
Pr. brian brandt
IntERim lutheran pastor
Pr. Brian is an experienced pastor having served at several other churches in Oregon, most recently as an interim pastor in Eugene. With a doctorate in Christian ethics, Pr. Brian has a passion for creation spirituality and has designed Creationtide, a worship season devoted to creation themes. We’ve been celebrating Creationtide during the summer for several years. Pr. Brian is guiding us through the interim process while we discern what we need in our future Lutheran pastor.
CATHOLIC LAY LEADER
Kathy joined us in 2011 after working in the Archdiocese of Portland, parish ministry, and Catholic publishing. She is our liaison to the Archdiocese and our visiting priests, and she is responsible for religious education.
Kathy is currently on medical leave.
Rev. Laurie larson caesar
Bishop of the Oregon Synod
We are honored that our long-time pastor, Laurie Larson Caesar, was elected in May 2019 to be bishop of the Oregon Synod of the ELCA.
Educated at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity, and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Pr. Laurie served Spirit of Grace for 23 years. During that time we grew into a vibrant, vital congregation with a serious passion for social justice, inclusive language, prophetic worship, lively music, education and community engagement, and leadership development.
We miss her leadership but are grateful for the seeds she has planted in our community, which continue to grow.
Our spirited, kind, and prophetic priests preach and lead mass each Sunday (except for the Final Sunday)
We are fortunate to be graced with several kind and gifted priests who come to say mass with us on Sundays: Fr. Neil Moore, Msgr. Chuck Lienert, Fr. Leo Remington, and Fr. Jack Mosbrucker.
Jonathan Swanson brings old hymns to life each Sunday
We get to hear the musical stylings of award-winning jazz pianist and composer Jonathan Swanson every Sunday. When he’s not bringing old hymns new life, he is running his five-star-rated AirBnB, working as a contractor or studio producer, performing gigs around town, or headlining his own jazz trio.
Jasnam Daya Singh
Born in Brazil, world-renowned Jasnam Daya Singh (formerly Weber Iago) is a gifted composer, pianist, and educator. Jasnam has participated as a pianist and band leader in jazz festivals all over the world. In 2009, he was nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Instrumental Album.
We’re extremely fortunate to have a gifted childcare provider who is also a nanny and teaches at Sunny Hills Preschool, which is located at Spirit of Grace. She was raised in Portland and studied K-8 elementary education at Montana State University. She is working on her special education degree.
Latin Grammy-nominated Jasnam Daya Singh rounds out our musical team, leading music for the Catholic liturgy
Our interfaith steering team is led by three co-presidents
Our community is guided by a diverse, ecumenical lay steering team of members elected to serve three-year terms. Right now we have a trio of co-presidents, who are working closely together to keep our community humming during this interim period:
Deri Bash also co-chairs the capital campaign and is a member of the newly formed racial justice team and the men’s group. He also organizes our annual giving tree for nearby McKay Elementary School. He and his wife Jen joined Spirit of Grace in 2000, and they love that Spirit of Grace has radical, inclusive, comprehensive lay leadership with all aspects of social justice. Deri owns DB Optics, a precision finisher for laser optics, and was previously an educational administrator and math/science teacher. His family is his number one passion. After that he loves to run, hike, and backpack with family and friends, and he enjoyed backpacking into Holden Village this summer with a group of church friends.
Christie Bernklau Halvor also serves on the sanctuary team and the racial justice team, and she pitches in on other activities wherever she can, especially when they involve spirituality or a party! Christie and her family joined in 2000 after looking for an inclusive church home that they could trust to truly welcome people and where they would be both spiritually fed and challenged. They were inspired by the lay leadership, diverse images for God, and strong sense of community. She’s worked as a social worker, LMT, professor, and stay-at-home parent. She loves gardening, live music, swing dancing, hiking, social justice, and being present in the moment.
Mike Gettel-Gilmartin also serves as a lector, presider, children’s homilist, Sunday School substitute teacher, and on the personnel team. He’s been around since 1990, when he married one of the members of the original Atonement Lutheran (precursor to our Lutheran-Catholic community). He was delighted that they could worship under the same roof as a Lutheran-Catholic couple and (later) family, and he values the inclusivity, focus on God's radical love for all, and people who make up the fabric of this special place. Working as a writer, stay-at-home dad, and in-home caregiver, he likes reading, travel, watching his wife and children perform (in choirs, plays, shows, and on the sports court); and active listening.