Pastor Lisa was ordained at First Lutheran Church in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota in May 2017. She served at First English Lutheran Church in Tyler, Minnesota for her first call. Pastor Lisa was then called as an associate pastor at Big Grove Crow River Grace Parish in July 2020. In July of 2021, Pastor Lisa took over the Lead Pastor duties at Big Grove Crow River Grace Parish. She was called as the Lead Pastor on February 27, 2022.
Prior to being ordained, Pastor Lisa worked as a financial consultant at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in West Des Moines, Iowa. She graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Finance and Accounting and then went on to earn her Master of Business Administration, also from Iowa State University. Pastor Lisa graduated from Luther Seminary where she earned a Master of Divinity degree in 2016.
Pastor Lisa graduated from Blooming Prairie High School, in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, where she was the Class A State Golf Champion, as well as a 3 time state runner-up. She went on to play golf at Iowa State University on an athletic scholarship. While at Iowa State, she competed right away as a freshman. She ended her career with the second best Iowa State career stroke average.
Pastor Lisa enjoys hiking, playing golf, doing jigsaw puzzles, going to garage sales, and playing with her goldendoodle dog, Samson.
Brenda Handel-Johnson Deacon
Deacon Brenda Handel-Johnson is excited to serve the BGCRG parish as a minister of Word and Service. She comes to the parish having served as a Music teacher in public and private settings in Wyoming, Colorado, Minnesota and Japan and also serving as a Music Coordinator, Pianist and Conductor for Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St Cloud where she was ordained in August 2022. Her degree from Luther Seminary is in Christian Ministry and her passion for visiting and connecting with people comes from meeting people from around the world. Through her work as an English teacher and assistant at the Glacial Lakes Multicultural Center in Watertown, SD she was reminded of how God continues to show up in unexpected places and our call to hear each other’s stories - especially immigrant workers in rural communities.
Brenda grew up in rural southeastern South Dakota with family all around and is a 4-H alum. She comes from a family of farmers and teachers (her mother and aunt being her biggest influences) where music was a part of the family culture. Brenda plays piano, organ, several other instruments, sings and enjoys all different styles of music. She is a church geek and loves the beauty of God’s word coming to life in music - particularly in singing. She is convinced music is a conduit for the Holy Spirit to move and work.
Brenda is married to Andy Johnson, an excellent tenor and fine banjo player who also serves as a traveling Funeral Director with the Vertin Funeral company. They have one adult daughter, Annaeka who is married to Karen, and lives in the Chicago area. They often come home and share their musical skills and gifts at home and in worship services. Brenda loves the outdoors and is often found cycling, skiing or walking her dogs, Mitzie and Wesley.
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