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Lay School Board

Synod Lay School Director – Rev. Jennifer Hoffman

Greetings! My name is Jennifer Hoffman, and I am delighted to be stepping back into the role of Director of Lay School! For those of you who don’t know me, I am a pastor and ministered with the people of St. Stephen Lutheran in Wausau for close to seven years. I am a wife and mother of five children who keep my husband Jeremy and I very busy.

For the ten years prior to ministry (and seminary), I was a high school English and Speech teacher. Currently, I have taken a sabbatical of sorts from full time ministry and am working as a Mary Kay consultant, continuing ministry by educating both women and men about how they can be better stewards of their own bodies. It has been a wonderful reminder for me how ministry can happen in any setting, at any time, by anyone, in so many different ways.

I hold a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Wayne State, and a Master’s of Divinity from Wartburg—both of which I pray will serve us well as we move forward together in Lay School. I look forward to working with the Board and getting to know the students for whom this school exists as we seek to meet the needs of the church and the lay people who are its flesh and bones. I am a life-long learner and admire anyone who follows their desire to increase or enhance their own knowledge base, specifically when it comes to their faith, so I’m excited to be journeying together with you.

Synod Staff Liaison to the Lay School – Rev. Jennifer Pockat

Since 2012, Pastor Jenn has served St. Andrew in Wausau, first as associate and then, starting in 2019, as lead pastor. Pastor Jenn brings considerable gifts as a leader, organizer, communicator and connector of people and organizations. She serves as treasurer on the board of Crossways Camping Ministries and as faculty at the ECSW lay school. Pastor Jenn has been engaged in synod-wide ministry as a synod assembly and fall theological event/worship planner, as well as the lead organizer of the 2021 bishop installation and currently serving as Associate to the Bishop, Director for Communications and Community. 

Publications Coordinator-Registrar – Jeanette Carlson

I live in Wausau and work as an Office Manager at Bob’s Electric of Wausau. I am a long time  member at Pilgrim Lutheran Church.

I finished the Wausau Lay School Two Year Program in 2002. I started on the board after that. I am the Registrar & compile the newsletter.

My favorite part of Lay School is the sharing of my story, your story & God’s story.  I have had the opportunity to meet so many faithful precious people over the years & feel truly blessed for being involved with the Lay School.

Promotions & Funds Coordinator – Shirley Ecker

My name is Shirley Ecker. My congregation is Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Wausau, WI. I am currently a layer minister at Pilgrim, Church Council Vice President, book study leader, Chair of our Rummage sale and various other duties. I love lay school because I have met some very nice Christians, my faith has grown stronger, continue to learn through attending the continuing education classes and have been encouraged to step out of my comfort zone. A good friend of mine felt I would be an asset on the board because I like to think out of the box and introduce new ideas. My husband, Randy and I have been married for 37 years, we have a daughter, fraternal twin sons and 3 granddaughters. I enjoy gardening, reading and I am currently on the Board of Directors for Greater Wausau Christian Services (GWCS) as the Secretary. GWCS provides Bible study’s to jail inmates and church services to people at the local Elder Care facilities.

School Coordinator/Administrator – Mary Neumann

I’m Mary Neumann. I’m from Berlin, Wisconsin. I came to Mosinee to teach school (39 years). I still live In Mosinee. My twin sister, Susie, has joined me. My home congregation is St. John Lutheran in Mosinee. My best friend, Kathy, and I have conducted services for St. John and other congregations, when needed, for several years. We completed Lay School in 2007 and were asked to be Board members at that time. I became the Lay School Coordinator in 2009. I continue attending and enjoying Continuing Education classes. I look forward to working with new and former Lay School students, instructors, and staff members.

Technology Assistant – Nancy Schultz

Nancy Schultz completed the ECSW Lay School of Ministry in 2020. She is a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Shawano WI. She is actively involved in the church council, sitting on the Health Ministry team and the Worship and Music committee. She assists with running the PowerPoint and video recordings for services. Previously she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. Nancy loved lay school, because it enriched her spiritually and biblically, while empowering her as she grew in her faith journey with God. She joined the Lay School of Ministry board to assist with technology support to do virtual programming. She is married to her husband Dennis, has two adult children, Emily, and Andrew and her cat Jewels. She loves to go on long walks, to cook, to spend time with friends and family, and to work with non-profit organizations on how to improve the lives of those who are most at need.

Website Coordinator – Linda Tipler

My name is Linda Tipler and live in the Fox Valley area. I would describe my faith journey as “normal” until becoming a Lay School student in 2015.  Questions I never thought to ask about faith and my relationship with our Lord and Savior were asked and explored opening the door to even more questions to explore in the safe, knowledgeable and loving environment found at Lay School. I am passionate about creating environments for others to experience this growth in faith and becoming a Lay School Board member aligns with this passion.  I am a loving wife and mother of a teen-age son, who drives my perspective on relationships and fills my heart with gratitude.

Financial Development Coordinator – Ken Luer

My wife Jennifer and I have been married for +50 years and have been blessed with two children, Michael and Amy. We have four (4) grandchildren two boys (Max 2yrs, Alex 6yrs and two girls, Emmy 11yrs, & Elizabeth 15yrs)

Jennifer and I were Charter Members of Christ the King Church in Combined Locks when we first held services in the Grade School Gymnasium. After we moved to Wausau, we joined St Andrew Church about 40 years ago where we have been active in many roles from teaching confirmation classes, to serving on the St Andrew Church Council as council Member and President to starting the Lay School at St Andrew’s +20 years ago.

With the Bishop’s approval, I temporarily conducted church services at a two-point parish in Tigerton, WI for one summer.

I am excited and honored to be invited back into involvement with the East Central Synod ELCA Lay School as this group continues to conduct the Lord’s Work.”

“…As many people as possible
should attend Lay School
—it would really strengthen our
congregations. I love the in
-depth study and discussions.”

Mari N.

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