Senior Pastor Rev. Manuel Retamoza
Pastor Manuel Retamoza, III was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern CA. He received his bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Seattle Pacific University. After spending three years as a teacher for Head Start, San Joaquin County, CA, Pastor Manuel and his family relocated to Minneapolis, MN where he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary. It was during his time in seminary that Manuel transferred his church affiliation from the American Baptist Churches USA to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). While in seminary Pastor Manuel drove a bus for Minneapolis public schools, worked at Home Depot, was on a residential construction crew, started an after-school program for students living in shelters in Minneapolis, and as a Mission Developer in Northeast Minneapolis. After his ordination, he accepted a call to serve St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in San Diego, CA as Associate Pastor of youth and social ministry, where he now serves as senior pastor.
Pastor Manuel is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and is a first-generation Mexican American. Being raised in California means his family history includes the US/Mexico border crossing with his family and his family’s crossing the border for generations. This family history and experience inform his call to ministry as he guides several border education experiences for groups from across the country and in his own congregation each year. In addition to serving St. Andrew’s, Manuel serves on the candidacy committee for the Pacifica Synod, as a convocator for California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA, is on the executive planning team for the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza, serves as VP and treasurer of the board for American Indian and Alaskan Native Association of the ELCA, is on the MYLE Team and Tech and Talent team for the 2022 ELCA National Youth Gathering and is the chair of the board for Miracle Ranch Children’s Home in Baja California, Mexico.
Manuel spends time with his family camping in their teardrop trailer, riding his bike regularly, and working on home projects. His wife Lisa is a skilled chef who shares her skills with St Andrew’s for meals throughout the year. Manuel Glen, their son, is a student at Patrick Henry and can often be found helping his father with projects around St. Andrew’s where he is also involved in youth group
Their daughter Isabel lives in Chicago where she is employed as Executive Assistant for the National Association of Women Lawyers.
Pastor Manuel’s email: PastorManuel@standrewslutheran.church
Associate Pastor: Rev. Sarah Sumner-Eisenbraun
Passtor Sarah was called to St. Andrew’s on September 1, 2017. Her previous calls were in Glendale and Arroyo Grande. She and her husband Kevin are parents of Zoe and Ezra, as well as Mr. Chubbs the cat and Bruno the dog. Pastor Sarah and Kevin were actually born in the same hospital on the same day in Rapid City, SD. After graduating college and getting married, they both attended Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, which included an exchange student year at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA and an internship year in Sioux Falls, SD. She was ordained in the ELCA on July 1, 2007. Kevin is a deacon in the ELCA and currently serves chaplain in a local hospice organization.
Pastor Sarah has a passion for faith formation at all ages and stages of life. She oversees our ministries with children and youth and works to build relationships across all generations. She loves creative worship, singing, preaching and teaching and has brought some fun new traditions to our worship and ministry. She believes that churches are doing God’s work when they are building community and reaching out to others to share the love of Jesus with servant hearts.
Her hobbies include creative arts like knitting and sewing, but she has also participated in two different roller derby leagues since moving to CA. Her family spends most of their free time going on adventures and exploring the arts and culture of our communities.
Pastor Sarah’s email: PastorSarah@standrewslutheran.church
Director of Parish Administration: Meri Jo Petrivelli
Meri Jo has been a member of the staff since 1998, and a member of the congregation since 1986. Meri Jo handles much of St. Andrew’s administration, including many of the day-to-day operations, as well as being one of the Sunday morning “Go To” people (along with Sara Zimmerly). She updates much of the content on our website and creates and sends congregational emails, including the weekly email containing the bulletin links and announcements. Her passion is adult education, particularly adult Bible Study. She shares leadership of the Tuesday Morning Bible Study with Pastor Manuel and Pastor Sarah. She also is a permanent weekly offering counter. If you have a question she can’t answer, about the Bible or anything else, she will research it until she finds the answer!
Meri Jo’s has served in leadership roles over the years at the congregation, synod, and national church levels. She and her husband of 30+ years, Ed, have two adult daughters who were baptized and confirmed at St. Andrew’s. Rachel is currently a student teacher in San Diego and is seen regularly around the church. Kate, along with her husband & son, lives in Oakland and makes her way to San Diego and St. Andrew’s a few times a year. Meri Jo enjoys reading, being outdoors, a good IPA, college sports, and enjoys being Grandma more than just about anything else.
Meri Jo’s email: MeriJoP@standrewslutheran.church
Music Director: Scott Skinner
Scott is in charge of the musical portion of our worship. In addition to playing the organ and piano for all three Sunday services and two Saturday services per month, Scott leads four choirs and lends a keyboard/hand to our two bands (The Peacemakers and the Second Saturday Band). Scott also frequently organizes (and performs in) special instrumental and vocal performances.
Bookkeeper/Welcome Ministry Director: Sara Zimmerly
Sara joined the staff at St. Andrew’s in 2000. She has been an active member since 1981. She attended Lutheran High School of San Diego and then went on to work at El Camino Pines Lutheran Camp (now part of LRCC) as a counselor and Outdoor School instructor. This is where her faith grew strong and she knew that working in a church setting would be the most fulfilling for her. Sara is our bookkeeper and in charge of our welcome ministry. On Sundays you will find Sara on the courtyard or near the doors greeting guests and introducing newcomers to others. Sara also coordinates New Member Seminars which explain what we believe and what ministries and opportunities are available.
As a part of Sara’s love for Lutheran Camping she is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Lutheran Retreats, Camps and Conferences (LRCC)
Sara has been married to Tom for 25+ years. They have two children, both baptized and confirmed at St. Andrew’s. Both children followed in their mom’s footsteps and worked at LRCC. Currently Joe is Director of Youth & Family Ministries at Mt. Cross Lutheran in Camarillo and Maggie attends Grossmont College.
In her free time Sara enjoys camping with her family and friends, reading and spending time at the beach.
Sara’s email: SaraZ@standrewslutheran.church
Office Administrator: Paula McDonald
Paula began working at St. Andrew’s in April 2015. Hers is probably the first voice you hear when you call, and she is likely the first person you see if you drop by the office. She is in charge of our publications (including weekly bulletins, Pinch of Salt, Salt Shaker newsletters, and various other items), keeps our calendar up to date, assists Pastor Manuel and Pastor Sarah with youth ministry tasks, and generally keeps the office running smoothly.
Paula was born and raised in San Diego, the eldest of three children. In her free time she enjoys listening to a variety of music, attending concerts, taking long walks on the weekend, and spending time with her family and friends. She is the mom to two young adult men. Her eldest son, Adam, is the management program at In-n-Out and her youngest, Matthew, attends Grossmont College and CSU San Marcos.
Paula’s email: email@example.com
Preschool Director: Stephanie Alexander
Stephanie has been a member of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church since 1998. Before she became the director of the preschool in March of 2002, she served on Church council as well as a preschool board member. In addition to being a teacher/director at the preschool, Stephanie is a coordinator of St. Andrew’s Prayers and Square Prayer Quilt Ministry. You will see her most Sundays at the 9:30 a.m. service taking care of the quilts. Stephanie has also been a co-leader of our Living through Grief group, helping others dealing with the loss of a loved one. Along with Maryann Oliver, Stephanie brings her talents of floral arranging to beautify our worship spaces on the weekends.
Stephanie and her husband have two adult children, Erica, who lives in Long Beach and is fulfilling her dream of working in the interior design business and son Stephen who is teaching algebra at Cal State Fullerton.
In her free time Ms. Stephanie loves traveling, reading, watching old movies and is an avid NASCAR fan.
Stephanie’s email: StephanieA@standrewslutheran.church