Synod Staff

The Rev. Kurt F. Kusserow
Bishop
kurt.kusserow@swpasynod.org

Seminary: Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio
Spouse and Children: Wife Pam Kusserow and children Abby Kusserow and Ben Kusserow
Duties: Preach, teach, and administer the sacraments in accord with the Confession of faith of our church.
Favorite Activities: I enjoy every aspect of working with wood- trimming and planting trees, splitting logs, planing planks, building fires, designing and building furniture and timber frame buildings.
Biggest Inspiration: The sacrament, in which is contained the Church's entire treasure.

Sandy DeLorenze
Executive Assistant to Bishop Kusserow
sandy.delorenze@swpasynod.org

Seminary: N/A
Spouse and Children: Married with two adult children and two granddaughters.

Duties:
  • Administrative support for Bishop Kurt Kusserow
  • Event and meeting coordination, including assistance with synod assembly
  • Call process administration
  • Updates to the Synod website
  • Assist Secretary of the Synod with development and production of Bulletin of Reports and Proceedings books

Favorite Activities: Exploring bike/hike trails in the city and countryside; reading; writing; and painting.

Biggest Inspiration: I continue to be encouraged and inspired by many faithful, strong people - some in notable positions - and others who serve in quiet, behind-the-scenes ways.

The Rev. Sarah Lee-Faulkner
Assistant to the Bishop for Call Process and Mobility
sarah.lee-faulkner@swpasynod.org

Seminary: Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA
Spouse and Children: A twelve-year-old daughter with a unique personality and style.
Duties:
  • Relates to Conferences 2 and 5
  • Staff liaison for Youth, Congregational Life, Communications Services and Nominating Committees; World Hunger; and First Call Theological Education

Favorite Activities: Traveling and exploring new places. Walt Disney World (who doesn't like Disney?). Running marathons.
Biggest Inspiration: My mother who went to seminary before women could be ordained in the LCA. She had a strong faith and wove theology into daily life. She died of pancreatic cancer in 2004.

Gloria C. Knezovich
Administrative Assistant
gloria.knezovich@swpasynod.org

Seminary: N/A
Spouse and Children: Widowed, two daughters Nicole and Michelle.
Duties: Administrative support to Pastor Sarah Lee-Faulkner. Assistant to the Bishop and to other synod staff as needed. Responsible for maintaining the synod database, monthly Echo mailings, mass email announcements to rostered leaders and yearly compilation of statistics.
Favorite Activities: My favorite activity is one day road trips to anywhere. My favorite hobby is finding my way home from said road trips!
Biggest Inspiration:

Robert (Bob) J. Cairns
Synod Accountant - Office of the Treasurer
bob.cairns@swpasynod.org

Seminary: N/A
Spouse and Children: N/A
Duties: N/A
Favorite Activities: N/A
Biggest Inspiration: N/A

Deacon Elizabeth (Beth) Caywood
Director of SW PA Synod Resource Center
beth.caywood@swpasynod.org

Seminary: Candidacy coursework with Trinity Lutheran Seminary
Spouse and Children: Married with 2 adult children and 2 grandchildren.
Duties:

Manage Resource Center and sit on Resource Center Advisory Board. Association of Lutheran Resource Centers. Staff liaison for Theological Convocation, Christian Education Task Force, History & Archives.  Oversight of Book of Faith Initiative and Pastoral Ethics.


Favorite Activities: Time with grandchildren. Reading, dog shows, horseback riding.
Biggest Inspiration: Reading great books

Carol Ruckert
Receptionist and Administrative Assistant
carol.ruckert@swpasynod.org

Seminary: N/A
Spouse and Children: 3 children and 4 grandchildren.
Duties: Schedule worship leadership for congregations without pastors. Answer phones and direct calls. Whatever else is needed.
Favorite Activities:
Biggest Inspiration:

Patty Davidson
Health and Wellness Ministry Coordinator
patricia.davidson@lutheranseniorlife.org

Seminary: N/A
Spouse and Children: Married with 5 nephews.
Duties:

• Serving as the primary point of contact for pastors and congregation members who are seeking support and direction for the purpose of:
            o Identifying resources to improve the wellness of the community and/or congregation members
            o Developing wellness programs and health-related initiatives
            o Starting or enhancing a parish nurse (faith community nurse) program
• Promoting health & wellness ministry through means such as social media
• Referring individuals to appropriate resources for improved wellness


Favorite Activities: Reading, writing, comedy
Biggest Inspiration: Volunteers

The Rev. Melissa L. Stoller
ELCA Director for Evangelical Mission/Assistant to the Bishop for New, Renewing, and Collaborative Ministry
melissa.stoller@elca.org

Seminary: Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, ordained in 2005
Spouse and Children: Spouse: Eric Stoller, Child: Adam Stoller

Duties: As Director for Evangelical Mission, I strive to be a resource, a crossroads and a catalyst for the congregations and worshipping communities in our synod on matters of stewardship, outreach ministries, strengthening faith practices, engaging congregations in renewal and redevelopment, and assisting new ministry opportunities.
Favorite Activities: Reading and watching Star Wars and Harry Potter; hiking and biking so we can cook, grill out and explore the great Pittsburgh restaurant scene; Pokémon Go (for the kid, of course); and the exploration of fine hot and cold beverages.

Biggest Inspiration: The people of God who, through the love of Jesus and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit work tirelessly to live out their Baptismal Call; living among God ‘s faithful people, sharing the word and the Lord’s supper, proclaiming the good news, serving all people, and striving for justice and peace in all the earth.


The Rev. Peter D. Asplin
Assistant to the Bishop for Congregational Vitality
peter.asplin@swpasynod.org

Seminary: Trinity Lutheran Seminary; Pastor Asplin also attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary en route to his M. Div.
Spouse and Children: Pastor Asplin is married to Dr. Kristen Asplin, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. They have two children: Linnea is a student at Valparaiso University in Indiana and Johanna is a seventh grader.

Duties:

Pastor Asplin is charged with relating to the Vital Congregations of our synod. These congregations are living out the call of all our congregations as they gather weekly for worship, care for each other in time of need, provide for the education of adults and children, reach out with the Good News of salvation by grace through faith to all in their community and serve all those in need at home and around the world. Pastor Asplin also relates to the Congregational Life, Global Mission, Church in Society, Committee on Ministry and the Candidacy Committee.  Pastor Asplin is privileged to serve as a member of the Board of Lutheran Service Society as the Bishop's direct appointment and to relate on behalf of the synod to the boards of Lutheran SeniorLife, Bethesda Lutheran Services and Glade Run Lutheran Services.


Favorite Activities: Food, cooking at home and eating at restaurants, is a big part of Pastor Asplin's relaxation time. He also reads both science fiction and mysteries. Being a swim parent for Johanna is an important part of relaxation time as well.

Biggest Inspiration: "I am continually amazed by the people of God who work hard all week, and who are able to recognize (and sometimes even articulate) the way in which God is present and active in their everyday normal lives: at work, getting the kids ready for school, sitting in a doctor's office or going to the grocery store. The people of faith recognize God, and hearing their stories gives me hope, confidence and inspiration."