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About Us

ministry team


Rev. Anne Vining

Senior Pastor

651-774-0344 ext. 16

anne@first-covenant.org

Where are you from?

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • How did you get your name?

  • I have no idea how I got my name but I must say I was glad to be child #3 as my older sisters were given middle names honoring my father, Curtis, and my mom's only brother, Dale. They were often teased for having male middle names. I think my middle name, Elizabeth, while it doesn't honor any particular family members, its rich in biblical meaning !
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • The Blind Side and Shadowlands.
  • What is your favorite book?

  • The Help
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • Isaiah 58: 11-12
  • The Lord will guide you always;

    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

    and will strengthen your frame.

    You will be like a well-watered garden,

    like a spring whose waters never fail.

    Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

    and will raise up the age-old foundations;

    you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

    What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • Engaging and equipping our congregation to be about the sacred work of repairing and restoring lives with the hope of Jesus Christ.

  • Rev. Ted Nordlund

    Visitation Pastor

    tednordlund@gmail.com

    Where are you from?

  • I lived in San Francisco until I left for college.
  • How did you get your name?

  • My mother’s father’s name was Theodore. My Father’s father’s name was Victor, which is my middle name.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • My most recent favorite movie is Life of Pi.
  • What is your favorite book?

  • My favorite book is “Unbroken” by Hillenbrand
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • My life verse is Romans 8:1: "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • The joy of hearing answers to prayer that are specific and faith-stretching.

  • Kate Makosky

    Minister to Youth and Families

    651-774-0344 ext. 18

    kate@first-covenant.org

    Where are you from?

  • I grew up in Kansas City (go Jayhawks!), which prompted my deep and abiding love for all things BBQ. I moved up to the Twin Cities to attend college at Bethel University in 2002 and have been here ever since. My husband, Dan, and I recently bought at house in the neighborhood - so now we can officially say that we are from the East Side!
  • How did you get your name?

  • Katharine - spelled like Katharine Hepburn, chosen because my parents liked it.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • It's a toss up between Love Actually and When Harry Met Sally.
  • What is your favorite book?

  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • Jeremiah 29:11-14: I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will be present for you, declares the Lord, and I will end your captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have scattered you, and I will bring you home after your long exile, declares the Lord.
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • I love seeing people - particularly youth - find a place to belong. When they are in relationship with others their belief, or relationship with Christ, flourishes, which allows them to become the people that God intends for them to be. I love transformation.

  • Donovan DeGaetano

    Minister to Children and Families

    651-774-0344 ext. 20

    donovan@first-covenant.org

    Where are you from?

  • I was born and raised in Portage, Indiana. Portage is about 30 miles southeast of Chicago, on the tip of Lake Michigan.
  • How did you get your name?

  • My dad is a fan of the movie “Godfather,” and thus wanted my name to be Vito Corleone DeGaetano, based on one of the main characters from the movie. However, my mom had a favorite character in a soap opera, named Donovan; and luckily my mom won out.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • My two favorite movies are “Remember the Titans” and “Parental Guidance.”
  • What is your favorite book?

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” My favorite book in the Bible is Esther.
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • Isaiah 61:1 “The spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners."
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • Sitting down with people, young and old, and hearing their stories.

  • Richard Voth

    Minister of Worship + Arts

    651-774-0344 ext. 17

    richard@first-covenant.org

    Where are you from?

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • How did you get your name?

  • My parents wanted Richard Allen but in Argentina, at the time Allen did not have a Spanish translation so they had to go with Richard Charles.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • "Fanny and Alexander" (1982) directed by Swedish film maker Ingmar Bergman.
  • What is your favorite book?

  • "Sobre Heroes y Tumbas" (On Heroes and Tombs) published in 1961 by Argentine writer Ernesto Sábato.
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • The Apostle John said: “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10).
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • Helping everyone discover their talents, develop them and use them for the glory of God and for reaching out to our neighbors.

  • Keyla Spahr

    Assistant Worship Director

    keyla@first-covenant.org

    Where are you from?

  • A small town called Oskaloosa, Iowa
  • How did you get your name?

  • There is a Bugs Bunny cartoon with a character named Keyla! He is a buzzard who sings, "Im bringin' home a baby bumblebee."
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • Eek! probably Moulin Rouge?
  • What is your favorite book?

  • YOURE SERIOUSLY MAKING ME CHOOSE?! ...here's three: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, or Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • Romans 12: 9-13
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • I love getting to share the gift of music and community with others. Music is the only true universal language and I think that is extra importany in a beautifully diverse place like this.

  • Pat Kohnen

    Organist, Keyboardist, Pianist

    music.by.pdk@live.com

    Where are you from?

  • I was born in St. Paul, MN and have lived here all of my life. I attended Central High, Bethel College and Mac Phail School of Music.
  • How did you get your name?

  • I was named Patricia Darlene Szmiot by my parents……no special reason.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • Favorite Movie “Sound of Music” loved the music from the musical.
  • What is your favorite book?

  • Favorite book Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • Proverbs 3:5-6 My life verse…Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • I love serving the Lord through music. It lifts the Soul and brings reflection, happiness and peace to others.

  • Roger Quant

    Minister of Visitation

    rquant@hotmail.com

    Where are you from?

  • I was born in Saint Paul.
  • How did you get your name?

  • I am the name sake of my father. My middle name was both the name of an uncle (a brother of my mother) and a close sounding name to Willard (my dads brother).
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  • What is your favorite book?

  • May it be The Book
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • I am an apprentice of the Great Gift Giver. James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • Finding God making place for others and myself (using and walking with each of us)

  • Judy Kline

    Office Coordinator

    651-774-0344 ext 12

    judy@first-covenant.org

    Where are you from?

  • I was born and raised in St. Paul on the east side of Lake Phalen. I now live in the northern suburbs but the drive in is definitely worth it!
  • How did you get your name?

  • I think my parents just liked it.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • I would choose a romantic comedy.
  • What is your favorite book?

  • I love the book of Psalms in the Bible.
  • What is your favorite quote/Bible verse?

  • "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. " Philippians 4:6-7.
  • What brings you the most joy in serving the church?

  • Connections with people...being with old friends and getting to know new friends, having the sense of being in one big family, serving God, each other and the community.

  • 651-774-0344 ext. 19

    alicia@first-covenant.org

    Where are you from?

  • St Paul, MN
  • How did you get your name?

  • I was named after my mother's childhood best friend
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • Gran Torino with Clint Eastwood
  • What is your favorite book?

  • I like the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

    What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • I love my job, the thing that brings me the most joy is witnessing the power of prayer

  • LeAnn Pederson

    Database Manager

    651-774-0344 ext. 10

    leann@first-covenant.org

  • Where are you from?

  • I was born in St. Paul, MN, here on the east side.
  • How did you get your name?

  • My mother's best friend's name was LeAnn.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • "Roots" the 1977 movie based on Alex Haley's family history
  • What is your favorite book?

  • The Shack by Paul Young
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • Meeting new friends, spending time with my brothers and sisters in Christ outside Sunday worship. Sharing God's love through volunteering.

  • Tricia LaMotte

    Administrative Assistant

    651-774-0344 ext 10

    trish@first-covenant.org

    Where are you from?

  • I was born in Fulda, Germany and we moved back to Minnesota when I was 6. Since then I've lived all over the Twin Cities.
  • How did you get your name?

  • My parents: Patrick and Mary = Tricia Marie
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • I don't know that I can pick just one! Clue, The Two Towers and Little Miss Sunshine. (It was hard to pick.)
  • What is your favorite book?

  • The Last Battle from the Chronicles of Narnia
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • Psalm 91:11
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • Being able to help everyone with the knowledge I've gained by working in the office.

  • Jon Hugger

    Lead Custodian

    651-774-0344 ext 11

    jon@first-covenant.org


    Juan Perez

    Custodian

    Where are you from?

  • Born in Texas but raised in St. Paul, MN for the majority of my life.
  • How did you get your name?

  • My mother's friend's name was Juan so I was named after him.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • The Hills Have Eyes
  • What is your favorite book?

  • Frankenstein By Dean Koontz
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • Isaiah 52:12
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • Honoring the Lord

  • Touger Thao

    Pastor of Community Engagement

    651-774-0344 ext 15

    touger@first-covenant.org

    Where are you from?

  • I was born and raised in Eau Claire, WI.
  • How did you get your name?

  • My parents had planned that I would be the youngest child and therefore they called me Touger (pronounced 2-Jur). In the Hmong language, my name literally means, "youngest son." But, I have two younger brothers.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • I enjoyed watching Cast Away with Tom Hanks. His acting was very good in that movie.
  • What is your favorite book?

  • Book of Acts
  • What is your favorite quote/bible verse?

  • Psalms 73:25-26 "Whom have I in heaven but you? And besides you, I desire nothing on earth. Although my flesh and my heart may fail, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
  • What brings you the most joy in serving in the church?

  • Seeing people come to know and trust in Jesus and having their lives changed by him.

  • Vanessa Gill

    Program Director for East Side Thrive - The Saint Paul Covenant Organization

    vanessa@tspcov.org

    Where are you from?

  • I'm from St. Paul, born and raised in the Midway area. I've lived in the same house since I was about 5. I went to Central HS and then onto the University of MN for my undergraduate degree and now my masters. I've continued to live in the same neighborhood in MIdway through all this.
  • How did you get your name?

  • My full name is Vanessa Olivia Anne Gill. I'm not fully sure as to where Vanessa and Olivia were chosen from, but Anne was from my mothers side of the family. Her middle name and my Aunts middle name were both Anne. Vanessa Olivia together means beautifully anointed. A fun fact is that Vanessa and Olivia are both names on the Cosby Show. I'm not sure if that had an influence on my parents choosing the names but its an interesting connection.
  • What is your favorite movie?

  • Its so hard to choose just one. My two favorite movies from childhood is Josie and the Pussycats and Crooklyn. If I had to pick a recent one it would be Colombiana.
  • What is your favorite book?

  • My favorite book is A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
  • What is your favorite quote?

  • I happen to love quotes so its really hard to choose just one. Two of my top quotes are the following: "Dance as though no one is watching. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though its heaven on earth." -Souza
  • "Do your best and God will do the rest" -Bernard Gill (my dad)

    What brings you the most join in working with youth?

  • There are two things about youth work that bring me the most joy. One is being able to participate in the equal exchange with a young person. You learn so much from a young and they learn just as much from you. Being able to share stories and really get to know a young person beyond the environment you are working with is so rewarding. Youth have an anergy about them that empowers me and brings joy to my life. Secondly being able to witness and participate in transforming a students life is one of the most amazing things. Watching a student go from a discouraged or struggling place to uplifted an empowered place is such a beautiful sight.