Senior Pastor Rev. Manuel Retamoza
Pastor Manuel began his ministry at St Andrew’s in the fall of 2004 as Associate Pastor.
Pastor Manuel was raised in Northern California, received his BA from Seattle Pacific University in 1994, taught preschool for Head Start in San Joaquin Valley for three years and graduated from Luther Seminary in St Paul, Minnesota in the spring of 2004.
Pastor Manuel and his wife, Lisa, and their two children moved from Minneapolis after accepting his call to St Andrew’s. Lisa was the executive chef at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis where Pastor Manuel also served as intern and coordinated an after school program for children in shelters in MPLS. Lisa has put her chef skills to good use here at St. Andrew’s, and at Windmill Farms, where she is the kitchen deli manager and on site chef. Their daughter Isabell lives in Chicago and son Manuel Glenn attends High School in San Diego.
Pastor Manuel was called as our Senior Pastor in May, 2017. In addition to his congregational duties at St. Andrew’s, he serves on the board of Lutheran Retreats Camps and Conferences (LRCC , our synod outdoor ministry/camps organization) and is on the planning team for the annual Children, Youth and Family Ministry Extravaganza, a national conference for volunteers and church workers for the ELCA. He served on the team for the ELCA National Youth Gathering 2015 in Detroit, MI and again at the 2018 Gathering in Houston, TX (2018 Gathering). He often leads tour groups through Chicano Park in the Barrio Logan, along the border area (both sides), in Tijuana (his father’s Place of Birth) and on mission trips to Miracle Ranch Children’s Home south of Tecate, Mexico.
Pastor Manuel strives to communicate through contextual preaching with great emphasis in the liberating word of the Gospel of Christ.
In his free time, Pastor Manuel spends time with his family enjoying San Diego and the Border. He enjoys bicycling whenever possible and enjoys listening to inane radio programs.
Pastor Manuel’s email: PastorManuel@standrewslutheran.church
Associate Pastor: Rev. Sarah Sumner-Eisenbraun
Following is the biographical information provided by Pastor Sarah as we were discerning whether to offer her the call as Associate Pastor. She was called to St. Andrew’s as on September 1, 2017. Both Zoe and Ezra have celebrated birthdays since this was written. “Hi there! My name is Pastor Sarah Sumner-Eisenbraun. My husband Kevin and I are the proud parents of Zoe (age 5) and Ezra (age 2)- we also have a cat named Louie, but we all call him Mr. Chubbs. Kevin and I were actually born in the same hospital on the same day in Rapid City, SD. After graduating college and getting married, we 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. I was ordained in the ELCA on July 1, 2007 and began my first call shortly thereafter at Saint John’s Lutheran Church in Arroyo Grande, CA. I served as the Youth and Family Pastor at Saint John’s for three years. After that, I received a call at Salem Lutheran Church and School in Glendale, CA where I have served as the Associate and School pastor for nearly 7 years. My husband is a deacon in the ELCA and has spent his career as a chaplain in both hospital and hospice settings.
I have a passion for faith formation at all ages and stages of life. While I have spent the majority of my career focusing on ministries with children and youth, I also love to see relationships built across all generations and enjoy providing pastoral care for seniors too. I also love creative worship, singing, preaching and teaching. I believe that churches are doing God’s work when we are building community and reaching out to others to share the love of Jesus with servant hearts.
My hobbies include creative arts like knitting and sewing, but I have also participated in two different roller derby leagues since I first moved to CA. Our family spends most of our 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). Recently our Social Media presence (currently Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and our new app) has become part of her job, a responsibility she shares with Pastor Manuel. Her passion is adult education, particularly adult Bible Study. She also is a permanent weekly offering counter, providing continuity to our team of weekly volunteers. 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 college student and is seen regularly around the church. Kate lives in Oakland and makes her way to San Diego and St. Andrew’s a few times a year. Meri Jo also enjoys reading, being outdoors, a good IPA, and college sports.
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. Joe is a college student at California Lutheran University and Maggie is in High School. Both kids are active in the church while away at school or in San Diego.
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 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. Her eldest son is in college and her youngest is a freshman at West Hills High School, where his basketball schedule keeps her very busy.
Paula’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 studying in the field of Physics at UCLA.
In her free time Ms. Stephanie loves traveling, reading, watching old movies and is an avid NASCAR fan.
Stephanie’s email: StephanieA@standrewslutheran.church