MEET OUR STAFF
Please don’t hesitate to contact one of us for more information about Hiawatha Church!
CHRIS WACHTER / LEAD PASTOR
Chris was born and raised right here in the gopher state! He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in graphic design and worked as a production artist for two years before going to Bethel Seminary to earn his Master of Divinity. His hobbies include hanging out with friends, watching movies, taking walks with his wife, riding roller coasters (though he gets sick after a couple rides), golfing, cooking out, lawn games, living in the Twin Cities, fixing up his house, and reading the Bible. He is married to Aletha and they have three kids: Jane, Emmett, and Helen. One thing he loves about his job is just hanging out with people, so let him know if you want to get coffee or lunch with him sometime—his treat!
SPENCER PETERSON / COMMUNITY LIFE PASTOR
Spencer grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota but once he went to Bethel University and got a taste of city life, he was hooked. There he met his best friend and ministry partner and they were married a few months after graduation. Spencer and Amy have two kids: Charlie and Esther. They love the city and all it has to offer, working on their vegetable and flower gardens, reading, consuming media (blogs, film, tv, magazines), grilling out and having campfires with friends, sports, and traveling. After 6 years teaching second grade at a Latino charter school in St. Paul while also earning his Masters in Education from Concordia University, God called him to vocational ministry at Hiawatha Church. As Pastor of Community Life, he’d love to take you out for coffee or lunch sometime and answer any questions you might have about faith, Jesus, or Hiawatha Church and get a chance to hear your story.
PETER CARLSON / WORSHIP LEADER
Peter loves Minnesota and has lived here his whole life. He grew up in Rochester before venturing to the Twin Cities to attend Northwestern College where he earned degrees in Biology and Biblical Studies. He spent 4 summers working at Inspiration Point Christian Camp and met his wife Becky there. Now Peter works as a microbiologist at Aveda and enjoys watching tv and movies, reading, writing, listening to and playing music and roughhousing with his two sons Elliott and Zachary. His staunch support of the long-suffering Minnesota sports teams is well documented. Peter desires that Hiawatha Church be a community that worships and glorifies God - not just on Sunday mornings, but every day.
EMILY KLEIBER / COUNSELING DIRECTOR
Emily is a Minnesota farm girl who headed for the city and never looked back. She attended the University of Wisconsin La Crosse and graduated with both a psychology degree and an amazing husband, Pete. They moved to St. Paul where Emily earned her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Bethel University. She is the mother to Gabriel, Liv, and Leo who keep her days busy and full of (usually good) surprises. She enjoys cooking, impromptu dance parties, and exploring new spots around the cities with friends. Emily works part-time as a therapist at Tapestry Pregnancy & Family Resource Center in addition to offering free individual counseling here at church. She’s always up for meeting up to talk about life’s ups and downs and what God is doing in our hearts.
BECKY CARLSON / OFFICE MANAGER
Becky has lived in Minnesota her whole life from Duluth to Aurora to Northfield to South Minneapolis. She graduated from St. Olaf College with degrees in Mathematics and Family Studies. Besides keeping track of Hiawatha’s finances, Becky spends much of her time raising her adorable sons Elliott and Zachary. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband Peter, hanging out with friends, playing soccer, watching movies, learning more about Jesus, reading and volunteering.
MAREN WARREN / KIDS MINISTRY LEADER
Maren grew up in Duluth and moved to the Twin Cities to attend Bethel University. After graduating with degrees in both Elementary Education and Spanish she taught first grade and kindergarten for a total of 8 years. Maren and her husband, Matt, became parents to Isaiah and Elijah in April of 2015 and then Theodore joined their family in December 2016. She now spends her days chasing around after her boys! She enjoys baking and cooking, reading, and getting together with family and friends. Maren loves combining her classroom teaching experience and passion for sharing the gospel with kids as the Children’s Ministry Leader.
TYLER HOWARD / YOUTH MINISTRY LEADER
Tyler was born in California but grew up in Grand Rapids, Minnesota; and he can’t imagine living in any other state! Tyler spent the summers of 2008 - 2012 working as a camp counselor at Camp JIM in Pillager, MN. It was at camp that Tyler met and worked with Vawny Kaye, the amazing woman that would become his wife in 2015. Tyler attended a Bible college in Oregon, and then went to Lake Superior College and received a degree in Building and Construction. Tyler is a huge extrovert and loves competitions! Whether it’s board games, yard games, sports, or anything else you could make into a competition! He also enjoys camping, eating, building projects, volunteering, and anything that involves hanging out with friends. Tyler and his wife love the community at Hiawatha Church and have a big desire for the youth to grow in their love for the Lord and in their excitement to be actively seeking His work in and through their lives.
LEAH MILLER / WOMEN'S MINISTRY LEADER
Leah was born outside of Chicago and graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a degree in International Ministries. She married her best friend after 12 years of being wooed by his sarcastic sense of humor and sacrificial kindness. Eric and Leah have three kids: Calvin, Isaac, and Rose. These crazy kids have big personalities and bring lots of life wherever they go. Eric and Leah have moved around a lot with Eric’s job, but call Minneapolis their home. Besides the people in her life, Leah’s favorite things are Jesus, dancing, volleyball, frequenting neighborhood businesses, exploring cities, learning about people and culture, and relaxing at Lake Nokomis. Leah has a big heart for women to feel encouraged in their Identity of being in Christ by being welcomed into the family of God and able to grow in their gifts and passions. She’d love to get to know you better and connect you at Hiawatha Church!
DAVID FERNANDEZ / JANITORIAL AND BUILDING MAINTENANCE
David was born in Cuernavaca City located in Morelos state Mexico. He owned and worked in a clothing store for six years and in 1999 met his wife Donelle. She was in Mexico volunteering and helping small communities of indigenous Mexicans. In 2001 they moved to Minnesota to start a new family together and now are blessed to have three beautiful girls. David then went to school for two years to learn English as a second language. He enjoys the outdoors all year: camping, rock climbing, hiking, and riding his bike almost everyday (even in the winter!!). He also likes to cook Mexican food for friends and family. In his free time he likes to go for a walk or bike ride with his girls and wife. He is blessed to be part of Hiawatha Church and to have new friends!
LOUISE ROLLINS / WEDDING COORDINATOR
Louise has always called Minnesota home, from growing up in Excelsior, to graduating from St. Thomas with degrees in Biology and French, and now making a home in South Minneapolis. She lives a few blocks from church with her husband, Alex, and their sassy pet bunny, Pablo. Fueled by a strong taste for adventure, Louise and Alex spend as much time as possible traveling the world and exploring new places both at home and abroad. Besides traveling, Louise loves cooking, reading, getting outdoors, and diving deeper into the beauty and freedom of knowing the gospel. Louise works as an account manager at Relocation Today, helping families navigate the stress of moving around the country for work. Having gotten married at Hiawatha herself in 2015, Louise is excited to support other couples in coordinating a beautiful and memorable wedding day. To receive a wedding information packet or if you would like to talk with someone about the wedding services at Hiawatha, contact Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAURA RINAS / HLI INTERN
Laura was born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from Calvin College with a degree in Theology and Classical Studies. She’s married to her best friend, Paul, and has three kids, who keep her very busy! Her family moved to the Twin Cities (just a stone’s throw away from Hiawatha…literally!) in 2015 after spending five years living in England. Laura has a strong desire to help others find the truth about Jesus’ love for them amidst the chaos and noise of everyday life, especially fellow mamas. She also has a strong desire to be perpetually fueled by coffee, and finds comfort in long walks down the aisles of Target. Laura is excited to continue her journey in growing in her knowledge of Biblical and Theological truths at Hiawatha!
JONAH TRAASETH / MEN’S MINISTRY INTERN
Jonah was born and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and became a Minnesota transplant when he attended the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. On a scale of 1-10 of extroversion, Jonah lands at about a 12. His passion for people and his heart for sharing how the gospel has transformed him led him to take an intentional step towards growth by becoming a Men’s Ministry Intern. Jonah’s family team includes his wife Nicole, his favorite (and only) daughter Hallie, their loyal pup Belle and their two chickens, Hazel and Daisy. In his free time, Jonah loves to relive his glory days by playing first base on the Undefeated 2019 Minneapolis Co-ed D League Champion Hiawatha Church Softball Team.