Staff at Redeemer
Rev. David Shull
Dave Shull grew up in Wooster, Ohio, so returning here is a kind of home-coming. He spent the past 23 years in Seattle, Washington. There, he served as pastor of University Congregational United Church of Christ and Spirit of Peace UCC. He also used his clinical social work license for ten years at Recovery Café, where people traumatized by homelessness, addiction, and other mental health challenges found healing and hope through building community. There, Dave supervised graduate student interns pursuing careers in counseling, psychology and chaplaincy.
Dave has very fond memories of the three years he lived in Columbus, from 1981-84. He'd just graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a degree in political science. He spent three years working as a legislative aide in the Ohio House of Representatives. He also became very active at Broad Street Presbyterian Church, where he was ordained to ministry of the word and sacrament in October 1987, after graduating from Yale Divinity School.
Dave served a Presbyterian church in Western Pennsylvania for the next two years. He left in the summer of 1989 to enter the social work graduate school at the University of Chicago. As a gay man, he realized he couldn't preach that the church of Jesus Christ must be a free and fearless space for people to be authentically themselves if he couldn't be fully open in his work. So he sought a profession where he didn't have to hide or pretend in order to get and keep a job. There he worked as a family therapist on the south side of Chicago and also worked briefly as a hospice social worker. He and his former partner were called to serve University Congregational United Church of Christ in Seattle in 1994.
In June 2017, Dave was voted in as pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church. He began serving this congregation in September.
Reflecting on being a pastor, Dave says: "I know faith isn't about arriving at some destination. So I hold faith and life with open hands. I bring a passionate curiosity and kindness to life and relationships and ask questions that invite people to go deeper. I believe the stories in Scripture heal and change us and our world. I seek to bring these alive. I strive to bring my true self to church. I want the Dave people meet in worship to be the same Dave they meet in the classroom, hospital, potluck and grocery store. I take creating worship seriously. I feed my life and faith through daily prayer, books, travel, and music (I sing with the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus.) And I keep a weekly 24-hour Sabbath, when I seek to rest from work and worry. Long meals with friends where we talk with honesty, playfulness, and passion bless me with a taste of what Jesus means when he says, "The realm of God is in your midst."
Dave feels honored by the invitation of this community to walk with it into God's future.
Becky Trover, Office Manager
Becky finds her job at Redeemer to be a home-coming of sorts: her first job was as assistant teacher at the Redeemer Preschool in the early 1970s. Becky has spent her working life alternating between child care/teaching and office work for non-profit organizations. It’s remarkable how similar the skill sets can be for the two career paths! Becky also participates actively at Redeemer, from lay reading and serving on the healing rite team, to co-leading the Prayer and Spirituality group.
Becky was born and grew up in Toledo, but has lived most of her life in husband Larry’s hometown of Columbus, where the couple is enjoying (semi)retirement. Their daughter, Ginny, lives in Chicago and their daughter, Rose, has also returned to Columbus.
Carolyn Moehring, Lay Ministry Coordinator
As Redeemer's Lay Ministry Coordinator, Carolyn supports and encourages the many ways people in the congregation serve within the church. Her work includes a little bit of everything, specifically overseeing Redeemer's membership, outside ministries, and small groups. She has experience as a social worker working with individuals who have been placed under guardianship as well as with the homeless, as director of the Volunteers of America Family Shelter and as manager of supportive services at The Open Shelter. She also has experience as the director of Lutheran Day Care Center and as a teacher in a Lutheran parochial school. This broad experience proves to be a firm foundation as she works within the congregation. Carolyn is proud of her three children and seven grandchildren who, with her two dogs and one cat, round out her life.
Karen Kent, Pianist
"I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music."
Karen has been a church musician in Columbus for over 40 years. Prior to joining Redeemer in 1981, she served at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (now Grace of God), Atonement Lutheran, and North Community Lutheran. Karen is the pianist for Redeemer’s worship services on at least two Sundays each month, as well as the director of the Chimes Choir, and the accompanist for the Senior Choir. She is always on the lookout for beautiful and interesting arrangements of familiar hymn tunes to both soothe her soul and share with her Redeemer family.
Karen has worked for the Columbus Public Schools for 29 years—15 as a school secretary and the last 14 as a full-time account clerk in the Payroll Department. She is mother to Kate and Tom and grandmother to Miles. Karen is looking forward to retirement, and is counting down her last two years!
Kathy Rapp, Organist/Choir Director
Kathy has been the organist at Redeemer since 2003 and became choir director in 2010. She has been involved in church music since joining the choir when she was 6 years old, and has held several church organist positions since high school. Kathy's sister, Karen, is the pianist for Redeemer, and they enjoy playing piano duets and piano/organ duets for worship.
Kathy is a retired school music teacher and studied at Capital University. Her husband, Bob, is an electrician. They have 3 grown children and 7 grandchildren. Kathy loves to sew and crochet, but especially enjoys being with her family.
Melissa Vivens, Custodian
Melissa is long-time Redeemer member. Her volunteer roles at Redeemer have included Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School volunteer, and garden weeder. Melissa has three grown children. Sara is graduating with her master's degree in clinical psychology in July from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She will be pursuing her doctoral degree in the fall. Amelia helps run a fitness studio in Evanston, Illinois, called Pure Bar (with studios also in Columbus). Amelia is also active in the Chicago theatre scene and has been in several productions. Eric is a student at Columbus State Community College.
Melissa is currently an active volunteer with Girl Scouts. You can frequently see her trailing a group of active middle school and high schoolers. They are planning a trip to visit two of the Girl Scout World Centers in Europe in June, 2016.
Al Debelak, Pastor (Retired)
Pastor F. Allan Debelak, also called pastoral, served Redeemer from 1986 through 2015. He is a graduate of Valparaiso University (BS in Elementary Education, ’74). Pastoral taught at Greenfield Peace Lutheran School in Detroit for one year. He received his Master of Divinity degree as part of the first graduating class of Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus. Pastoral’s first call was a three-year term call as pastor of Community Ministry at Truth Lutheran Church in Detroit. He then served as village pastor at Holden Village in Washington during the winter of 1982. Pastoral then returned to Truth, Detroit, to serve as the pastor until January 1986. He was active in the Detroit Urban Coalition and the Detroit Peace Community.
Download Pastoral's essay on Urban Spirituality by clicking here.
Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio
Redeemer has a long-standing tradition of having Trinity Lutheran Seminary students serve here in a number of capacities. Much like a teaching hospital, Redeemer provides seminary students with the opportunity to serve as assisting ministers and full-time interns. The pastor supervises students as they experience pastoral ministry in an urban setting. www.TLSohio.edu