Staff and Board

Staff

Vicki Howard - Senior Director

vicki@christoscenter.org

Vicki joined the Board in 2016, bringing to that role management and leadership experience gained in over 30 years of operational leadership as a VP at Christianity Today. Before her recent retirement, she worked as Special Assistant to the President, with responsibility for many aspects of the ministry interface with the Board of Directors, helping create and oversee legal documents, planning and orchestrating Board meetings, and serving as Assistant Secretary of the Board.

In 2012, Vicki completed a two-year certificate program, Transforming the Soul of Your Leadership, through The Transforming Center in Chicago. In 2014, she entered the Chicago Tending the Holy program, graduating in 2016. Vicki is now serving as a spiritual director, and is also helping occasionally with Alumni programs in the Chicago area. A musician by training, Vicki is actively involved in leading worship in her local church, also serves as a Prayer and Communion minister and is part of the Intercessory Prayer team. She loves to sing, read, study, and write, and deeply values times of silence and solitude.

Sr. LaDonna Olson - Director of Administrative Services

ladonna@christoscenter.org

Sister LaDonna has been on staff as the Financial Administrator at Christos since 2013. As the owner of a company that provides accounting and payroll services, she is an incredible asset to Christos. She is a graduate of the Tending the Holy and Spiritual Formation in Congregations programs, and has also served on the Christos Board of Directors. In 2012, she became a Sister of the Deaconess Community of the ELCA. She has a Master of Arts in Congregation Care: Ministry in Daily Life from Luther Seminary, and also serves as the Music Director at Fish Lake Lutheran Church in Harris, Minnesota.

Tamra Koehler - Coordinator, Tending the Holy, ChristosTwinCities

tamra@christoscenter.org

Tamra has been a Tending the Holy Coordinator since 2015 and a Facilitator since 2011. She was the program manager at City House for six years immediately following her graduation from Tending in 2005. She is an active spiritual director and  has extensive experience in working with the marginalized, chemical dependency and the Enneagram. Her passion is to walk with, encourage, and allow others to go deeper into the love and mystery of God.

Becky Serpe - Lead Coordinator, Tending the Holy, ChristosChicago

becky.serpe@christoscenter.org

After graduating from Tending the Holy in 2016, Becky assumed a coordinator role for the Chicago area in the fall of 2017 and lead coordinator in 2018.  She also has an active Spiritual Direction practice in the Oak Park area.  Following a career in which she primarily worked as a Human Resources consultant with major international organizations in large-scale hiring and assessment projects, she has found a deep love for Spiritual Direction and the subject of spirituality.  As a self-professed life-long learner, Becky is now a participant in the Shalem Institute’s training program for Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats, with an anticipated completion date of June, 2018.  She hopes to integrate this training with Christos and plans to offer contemplative prayer groups and retreats in the Chicago area.

She lives in Elmwood Park with her husband.  They are the proud grandparents of fifteen grandchildren. 

Gail Brecht - Lead coordinator, Christos Distance

gail@chistoscenter.org

Gail is a 2013 graduate of the Tending the Holy Distance Program. She is an active spiritual director and retreat leader, who specializes in ministry with young adults. She has a Masters in Theology from Wartburg Theological Seminary and has a deep passion for listening for God in the stories of others. Gail and her husband are well-traveled musicians who often lead modern music at their church in Manchester, MO on the outskirts of St. Louis. Their 3 young boys keep them very active, and help them appreciate silence and stillness in our busy world.

Ellen Zaeske - Coordinator, Tending the Holy, ChristosFargo

ellen@christoscenter.org

Ellen is the coordinator of the Christos Fargo Program that will be starting Fall 2018. She is a graduate of the 2005 Tending the Holy Program. Ellen is an active Spiritual Director/Christian Counselor at Valley Christian Counseling Center, Fargo, ND. She has been there since 2005. Ellen enjoys facilitating the Ignatian Retreat. She delights in walking with others in their faith walk with the Lord.  Ellen has her masters degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy (MS) and Clinical Counseling (M.ED.) from NDSU. She is an  APRN -CNS in Psychiatric Nursing.

Board

Carl Nordgren – Chair

carl@christoscenter.org

Carl graduated from Christos’ TTH in 2008. He believes in Spiritual Direction and Silent Retreat. He believes in Story…and that The Story of Creation is a Story of Transformation, a Story of Redemption, and a Story of Resurrection. He believes we can listen another’s soul deeper into their own story. He likes to read. He reads Thomas Merton, Eugene Peterson, and a few others in between. He rides his bicycle in summer, cross-country skis in winter, and paddles his canoe into the wilderness whenever he can. He likes North, Snow, and Cold…Polar Bears, Woodpeckers, and Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies. He likes quiet and quiet places. He likes to travel…especially to quiet places.

Carl graduated from the USAFA with a BS in Civil Engineering. After graduating, he spent 10 years as a USAF fighter pilot flying the RF4C Phantom. He is currently a pilot for Delta Airlines flying the B767, where multiple times a month he can be found crossing the North Atlantic.  He and his wife Sue have 4 children and 8 grandchildren.

Debbi Horton – Secretary

debbi@christoscenter.org

Debbi brings enormous energy and wisdom to her work on various Christos committees, teams, and classes. She has been on the board since 2009, currently serves on the Human Resources Committee, and has also been on the Spiritual Formation Team and the Pilgrimage Committee. Additionally, she taught and facilitated in Christos’ Ignatian program and helped implement the Pilgrimage of Imagination programs. She currently offers Spiritual Direction and Enneagram workshops at Christos and other locations.

Debbi is a graduate of the Tending the Holy program and is an active Spiritual Director. She currently serves on the Board of Minnesota Chapter of the International Enneagram Association and is a Certified Enneagram Consultant. She also volunteers with City House doing individual spiritual direction and group work. Debbi was a career counselor for ten years at several local universities, and worked in the airline industry for 14 years. She has a Master of Arts in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from Stetson University.

Tom Bulger – Treasurer

tom@christoscenter.org

Tom joined the board in the spring of 2014 as Treasurer. He brings a variety of leadership experience, financial and otherwise, from churches and nonprofit organizations. Tom uses this experience and his expertise as a licensed Certified Public Accountant to maintain best practices with Christos’ financial records and reporting. He also serves on the Finance and Charitable Giving Committee.

Tom has a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from St John’s University in Minnesota as well as an accounting degree equivalent from Carlson School, University of Minnesota. He is a board member, Treasurer, and Chair with the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as a board member with White Bear/Mahtomedi Young life. He is a Council member, Treasurer, President, Stewardship Team member, Call Committee member, and Capital Campaign Team member with Redeemer Lutheran Church. Tom is also a financial coach to seminarians at Luther Seminary.

Teresa Kelling

Teresa has been with the board at Christos since before it was even officially formed. As the member with the longest history at Christos, she views her role here as being an important connection to the past. She has been with Christos through joys and sorrows, and provides valuable insight as the organization moves forward and makes plans for the future. She currently serves as a liaison between the Board of Directors and the Prayer Committee.

Theresa volunteered at Christos/Praise of His Glory through community building activities, serving on the Pilgrimage Committee, and planning retreats, programs, and events. She has also worked at her local church in many areas including leading small group Bible studies. She is a 2-year lay ministry program graduate, as well as a graduate of the Tending the Holy Program.

Vicki Howard – Liaison

vicki@christoscenter.org

Vicki joined the Board in 2016, bringing to that role management and leadership experience gained in over 30 years of operational leadership as a VP at Christianity Today. Before her recent retirement, she worked as Special Assistant to the President, with responsibility for many aspects of the ministry interface with the Board of Directors, helping create and oversee legal documents, planning and orchestrating Board meetings, and serving as Assistant Secretary of the Board.

In 2012, Vicki completed a two-year certificate program, Transforming the Soul of Your Leadership, through The Transforming Center in Chicago. In 2014, she entered the Chicago Tending the Holy program, graduating in 2016. Vicki is now serving as a spiritual director, and is also helping occasionally with Alumni programs in the Chicago area. A musician by training, Vicki is actively involved in leading worship in her local church, also serves as a Prayer and Communion minister and is part of the Intercessory Prayer team. She loves to sing, read, study, and write, and deeply values times of silence and solitude.

Susan Knepler

Susan Knepler joined our board in 2017. Look for her bio soon!