Rev. Paul Nuechterlein
Church pastorpaul@popportage.org
Home paulnue56@sbcglobal.net

269.343.3453 x15

I was born and raised in the Detroit area, which is the only thing that can explain why I am still a Lions fan! I graduated from Valparaiso University in 1978, and from there entered a PhD program in philosophy at Michigan State University. While at MSU, it became clear that God was inviting me to follow a new path. I answered God’s call and began seminary studies at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

1985 was a watershed year for me – in October

I was ordained and began my first pastorate in Traverse City; and in November I married my wife Ellen. In the years following, I have served widely diverse congregations in Michigan and Wisconsin.

The world is changing at breakneck speed, making this both a challenging and very exciting time to be a leader in the Church. It has been extremely helpful as a Pastor to continually study, especially in the areas of Biblical interpretation, and what it means to be a Christian in this new millennium.
There are two modern scholars/theologians whose work stands out for me; so much so that I feel they both provide us with fresh ways to experience our faith:

  1. Tom (N.T.) Wright, New Testament Scholar and Bishop of Durham in the Church of England. He brings a new vigor to our lives not just as believers, but as modern day disciples called to stand against poverty and injustice, and to be stewards of our earth. (See http://www.ntwrightpage.com/.)
  2.  René Girard, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, who has articulated an understanding of human behavior and culture that is centered on the cross of Jesus Christ.

I regularly lead studies on the insightful books of N.T. Wright. And I find Girard’s work so central to the heart of the Gospel that I maintain a website heavily used by pastors and theologians from around the world: Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary.

God has recently opened my eyes to a stirring movement sweeping across Christian churches of all denominations referred to as the Emerging Church. Central to it is the renewed sense that Jesus’ call to us is not to save souls for a heavenly kingdom, but rather to be a part of renewing and fulfilling God’s whole creation here and now – living out our petition in the Lord’s prayer, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.” We are called to be part of God’s bringing in the kingdom here and now! You can read more about the Emerging Church at this website: www.emergentvillage.com and http://www.brianmclaren.net/.

Through all these years, nothing has been more challenging or rewarding to Ellen and I than the task of parenting. Just when the youngest of our three sons was past elementary school and the older two were beginning to look at colleges…when Ellen and I were beginning to entertain thoughts of a different kind of ‘freedom’…God laid a new plan in front of us. Taking a huge step in faith, in 2005 we grew our family through adoption and opened our hearts and home to our youngest two sons from Liberia, West Africa. That is the moment we truly felt the profound meaning in “Blessed to be a blessing.”
In 2006 I was called as Senior Pastor by Prince of Peace and feel privileged to be doing God’s work alongside such faith–filled and committed disciples:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us…run with perseverance the race that is set before us…
(Heb. 12:1)

 

Terri Kopanski
secretary@popportage.org
269.343.3453 x10

Terri, is our secretary at Prince of Peace. She hails from Michigan, but spent a number of her formative years being raised in a small town in South Dakota. Terri is married to Ron and has two adult children, a son and a daughter. Terri originally attended school to become an Emergency Medical Technician, but did not remain in that field after her move back to Michigan. She began her career as a church secretary at Greenwood Reformed in Kalamazoo, where she remained for eight years. 

 

She moved on to become a paraprofessional for the Portage Public School in 1999 where she worked with “At Risk” children in the “High Five’s” program especially designed for elementary students struggling in school. During her years in the Public School system she continued her work as a church secretary during the summers months by substituting at various church’s while their secretaries were on vacation. Terri joined the Prince of Peace staff in January of 2007 and has enjoyed working with and becoming friends with the wonderful people at Prince of Peace.

Kent Hill was the Organist at Prince of Peace from 2002 through 2014. He now accompanies the Choir.  He holds a doctorate in organ from the Eastman School of Music, and has been a church musician for 60 years. He has served Episcopal and Lutheran congregations, and was most recently full–time Director of Music at Second Congregational Church in Grand Rapids. He was a faculty member of the music department at Mansfield (PA) University from 1977 until his retirement in 1995, and performed widely in the US and in Europe. in addition to his formal education, he has studied organ in Denmark, France, Canada and Germany.

 

Scott Walker

scottiewalker86@gmail.com

 

 

Megan Floyd

megan@popportage.org

Megan wears many hats at Prince of Peace and has therefore, made herself indispensable. Megan provides amazing leadership to our Youth. She meets weekly with the Youth and plans and staffs their activities. The Youth participate in Work Camps and ELCA and Synod Events. Megan plans and coordinates our Sunday School and our Art of Service Camp Program in the summer. She is a valuable member of our faith community and our Portage community. Through her efforts we see a vibrant and active Youth participation at Prince of Peace.

Megan has been a member of Prince of Peace since 1994, when her family moved here from Texas. It was the summer before her sophomore year in high school, and the Prince of Peace youth group warmly welcomed her and her siblings. In 2003 she married William Floyd and they have two daughters—Sabrina, born in 2006; and Kara, born in 2010. Prior to working at Prince of Peace, Megan worked at AbsolutAire, Inc., and Fidlar Doubleday. Megan went to school at Purdue and graduated in 2001 with a degree in Sociology/Psychology.

Lori Hannemann

Lori and her husband, Greg, are members of Prince of Peace. Lori is serving as our Bookkeeper, with responsibilities for payroll, receipts and expenditures. She brings many qualifications to the position and we are blessed to have her in this role.

 

Janet Hill
HillParadocs@gmail.com

Janet Hill is the Director of Music at Prince of Peace. In this position she is the Organist, Choir Director and Music Coordinator for the events and worship services at the church. She brings a rich heritage of the Lutheran tradition from her experience at several previous Lutheran congregations.  She holds a doctorate in organ from the Eastman School of Music, and is a recognized composer, with hymn tunes published in With One Voice and in a collection of Susan Palo Cherwein's hymns. Until its sale, Janet was Cathedral Musician at the Cathedral of Christ the King here in Kalamazoo and served as one of the organists for Zion Lutheran Church. A gifted arranger, she continues to make new and creative use of hymn tune and folk song materials in music for adults and children. 

Mary Lou Askew
mlaskew@att.net.

Mary Lou Askew has been the Handbell Choir Director at Prince of Peace since February, 1992.  She particularly likes working with the members of this choir, as they depend on each other to make the music, becoming a single instrument.  They form a community, like the Body of Christ, where it takes them all, ringing sometimes together and sometimes individually, to create a beautiful experience. She says that in this way they learn to depend on each other and care about each other.  Mary Lou encourages folks to try playing handbells or chimes and is always willing to train new players. No musical experience is required, but it helps to be able to count. Mary Lou has a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.

Bill Hellman
secretary@popportage.org

Bill Hellman has been our church custodian for many years. Bill’s wife, Dianne, was our church secretary for about 20 years before her retirement. Bill is a retired school teacher who spends about 20 hours a week getting the building ready for POP and all of the outside groups who meet here. That is a challenging job, as the facilities are well used by the community and by our members. Bill and Dianne have five children that all are grown.
Our Staff