Our Staff

Pastor: Steve R. Hanson

Pastor Steve has served as the pastor at First English Lutheran Church since 2007.  He attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and attended seminary at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut, and Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Pastor Steve has served congregations in Michigan, California, and southern Wisconsin, where he has lived since 1997.  Pastor Steve and his wife Josephine have a daughter Jessica.  Pastor Steve enjoys being outdoors, reading, and travel.  In his ministry, Pastor Steve wants to help people to experience the grace and love of God, to nurture Christian community, to encourage people to grow in their spiritual lives and to serve others in daily life. 

Secretary:  Debby Ryman

I come from a Christian family and background.  I and my husband graduated from Immanuel Lutheran School in Belvidere, IL.  We have always been active in our church and community.  We have two grown children and 2 wonderful grandchildren.  I have worked in healthcare in various positions of which, two positions were working for a neurosurgeon and being on the ground level of developing a Pre-Admitting Department for a hospital.  Both were challenging, insightful, and rewarding.  Other positions included assistant director of the Harvard Chamber of Commerce and assisting people and leading classes at the Workforce Development Center in Illinois.

Coming to work for FELC has been a blessing and a joy.  I not only love the work but all the people including Pastor Steve, the staff, and parishioners.  After moving to Wisconsin, away from family and friends, it was comforting to find friendship among the membership at FELC. 

Director of Music/ Organist:  Sarah Read Gehrenbeck

I am your Music Director and Organist, and glad to be able to worship with you on a weekly basis! I hail from a variety of places; Maine, Chicago, Dallas, and Boston.  I met my husband while rehearsing a Cantata by J.S. Bach (Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4).  God has blessed us with two boys.

I teach piano and organ lessons privately, in Whitewater, in addition to my duties at FELC.   My area of study includes early American shape-note hymnody, and the organ music it has inspired. My previous degrees include a Bachelor of Music (piano) from Boston University, and my M.M. (organ) from Indiana University, with concentrations in church music and historical performance. I love being able to share all sorts of music with you, here at FELC, and I am thankful for your support as we grow together, in Christ. Soli Deo Gloria- all for the glory of God!

Choir Director:  Nicole McCarty

In my youth I was in a youth band where a pastor at a church was a guitar player.  He helped me learn how to play chords and is one of big reasons that I knew someday I would want to lead music in a church.  I have been in a choir since fifth grade and I can’t imagine my life without singing!  I found enjoyment from helping others thrive in music.  I am a graduated from UW-Whitewater with a General and Choral Music Education degree.

 My time spent here at First English has been wonderful.  I am happy that I can use my talents to contribute to the church.  Thank you all for having faith enough in me and allowing me to join with you in singing and service every Sunday.

Praise Band Director/Minister of Music:  Jay Craggs

Jay has a passion for music.  As a guitarist, composer, and tech consultant Jay has performed across North America. He has worked with others passionate about music including Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea, Buddy Rich, Kansas, Bob Mintzer, Phil Collen, Rich Little, and Night Ranger.  He’s assisted the tours of Rush, Prince, David Bowie, Lou Reed and others, and his engineering skills were recognized n the 2010 International Emmy Award winning “The World According to Ion B" for HBO Romania.

Jay has a passion for teaching. He has presented many clinics, performances, and lectures throughout the U.S. and has developed curriculum and taught courses for Columbia College Chicago, Madison Media Institute, and UW-Whitewater.  Jay received his undergraduate degree in Music Education from UW-Whitewater, and a Masters Degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago.

In addition to his commitment to education and music, Jay enjoys time with family. He and his wife Jan live walking distance to 1st English where they were married 21 years ago.   Both enjoy time outside together- usually with animals - and work on campus at UW-Whitewater.

Youth & Family Ministry Coordinator:  Caitlin Buck

I have been in youth ministry for over 6 years and have previously taught Sunday School, VBS, assisted in youth programing, and I also ran adult Bible studies and small groups. 

Prior to my calling to devote my time to youth and family ministry here at FELC, I had experience with youth and families as the Director of Youth Programs, for a nonprofit development center.  My knowledge and background in the Social Work/Psychology field also built a solid foundation for truly making a difference in the lives of children, youth, and their families.

Over the past year my son and I have been blessed to be part of this AMAZING church family here at FELC.  I am honored to be serving the families and youth of this congregation.  Thank you for welcoming us with open arms!  Sharing Jesus with youth and children is not only my job, but my passion!!  

Facilities Manager:  Corriene Bieneck

I have been gratefully able to serve the church as your Facility Manager with the assistance of my husband, Tim.  I grew up in Milwaukee and have resided in the Whitewater area for the past 20 plus years.  My husband came from Portage, and has been part of the Whitewater community for 6 years.  We both like to go antiquing and traveling.  One of our favorite places we have visited, and hope to return to, is Costa Rica.  

I also work as a private duty RN in the Fort Atkinson area and plan to continue my education in natural health as a natural health coach.  I was active in the mounted search and rescue for the Whitewater area but now just enjoy quite times with my elderly horse.