Bethesda Pastors and Church Staff
We, your three Bethesda pastors, are passionate about the beautiful collisions that occur when God encounters broken people like us with a grace that explodes into joy, wholeness and generous service. We cherish the Good News of Jesus Christ and count it a great privilege to serve among the people of Bethesda and our surrounding community.
Pastor Tom Welch
Hi there, I’ve served as one of Bethesda’s pastors since March 2011, primarily in the areas of youth and family ministry and adult education. I previously served as Bethesda’s youth director and Young Life partner from 2002-2008. I’m particularly passionate about helping Bethesda to be “From Cradle to Commencement, a Great Place to be a Kid!” My wife Andrea and I are blessed with three sons, Ezra (2012), Judah (2013) and Emet (2015). In addition to operating and enjoying a toddler zoo, we enjoy fitness, the outdoors, gardening, reading, board games, and the Seahawks. And I love my Ducks and Mariners! I think out loud here.
Pastor Steve Dow
Hailing from Northern Wisconsin, I bring a little mid-west sensibility to the team in my leadership and personality. I spent my summers in high school as a fishing guide and these days I’m a fishing guide in a whole new way (see Matthew 4:18-22). Volunteering is important to me because I met my wife Sarah when I was a volunteer at Holden Village, a Lutheran Retreat Center in Washington. I now volunteer my time as a coach on soccer fields and basketball courts for the teams my kids play on. I may seem a little shy or even standoffish at first but once you get to know me, you will get a sense of the heart I have for this calling.
Pastor Sarah Schaffner
I have lived in Eugene for a little over three years. My most favorite work thing to do is meeting people for lunch or coffee and listening to their stories. I grew up in Albany, just north of here, and after meeting Steve, the love of my life, moved to the midwest for 15 years before returning to my home state. My hobbies outside of work include playing basketball with my youngest Elijah, learning make-up tips from my only daughter, Evelyn, and watching my oldest Isaac become a dashing, creative young man. Despite living in the Willamette Valley, the highlight of God’s creation, I hate to be outside and would rather curl up on the couch reading a book or watching Vikings. I despise football and don’t understand all the hoopla about the Ducks. My dream is to one day open a transitional housing development for families who experience homelessness. I would love if you texted me to set up a visit over coffee!
The following amazing group of people support the mission in many ways. They are here for you should you have any questions or needs, or if you’d like to donate your time and talents.
Contemporary Music Coordinator
I joined Bethesda as the Music Coordinator for the Contemporary service in December of 2011. My job combines my two favorite things, Jesus and music! As a worship leader I strive to help facilitate a joyful and compelling worship experience. I graduated from Northwest Christian University in 2009 with my Bachelor’s Degree, majoring in Music Industry and minoring in both Business and Ministry, and in 2010, received my MBA from Salem International University.
Outside of church, bands I’ve been a part of have opened for Rootdown, House of Heroes, and Everyday Sunday. In 2004 I was named ‘Best Male Vocalist 17 and under’ in Douglas County and in 2010, I received 2nd place in a Worship Songwriting Competition that also led to one of my original songs receiving some radio play.
I live on a ranch in Yoncalla where we have all sorts of pets and raise a lot of different animals.
Traditional Music Coordinator and Jubilee Bells Director
I took over the handbell choir in March of 2005. I was hired as the Adult choir director in August, 2009. It is my role as the Traditional Worship Coordinator to coordinate and direct the music for the 8:30 Sunday Service. An early writer stated, “When words begin to fail, music starts.” I feel that music plays a necessary part in worship services and in our lives. The choir prays that their anthem each Sunday will touch someone’s heart and life with the love of Jesus Christ.
I live with my two dogs named Buddy and Bailey. I enjoy reading, gardening and training dogs in obedience.
I began teaching at Bethesda Lutheran Preschool in September of 2000. I am the Preschool Director and a teacher of 4-5 yr. olds. I sincerely enjoy my work with children and am honored to be a part of building the educational foundation for our students. I strive to impart to them my love of learning as well as my love for the Lord.
I am happily married with four children, two dogs, and a rabbit. In my spare time I like to read, watch movies, and do fun things with my kiddos.
I have been a member of Bethesda for about 5 years and was hired in 2016 as Custodian. I am generally responsible for all of the maintenance and janitorial duties at and around Bethesda and I love my work. Prior to this, I owned my own business installing floors for about 19 years.
I am a father of three — 2 daughters and 1 son, and I have 5 grandchildren. I served 4 years in the Army. I am President of a non-profit motorcycle rally that raises money to help our local Veterans and their families. I enjoy riding my motorcycle any chance I get.
Stephanie is married to her husband, Steve, and she has two kids, Silas and Saige. Steve works in management at International Paper in Springfield. She also has a sweet schnauzer puppy named Moose.
Before moving to Eugene, her family lived in Port Townsend, WA (Chimacum, actually) for two years, but spent 12 years in Walla Walla, WA, before that. She moved to Oregon in 2013 and began attending Bethesda later that year, thanks to a friend, Jean Kaldahl, in Washington, that told her about Bethesda.
She loves to garden and spend time with my family. One of her favorite things to do at Bethesda is to help put together our Monthly Neighborhood Gatherings. She has met some fantastic people here!
Church Planning Council
Bethesda’s mission and vision is carried through the leadership of the Church Planning Council. This group consists of a dozen men and women, serving two-year terms. CPC includes an executive team.
President – Laurel Horton
Vice-President – Nolan Sundberg
Second Vice-President – Alan Stutheit
Treasurer – Ed Emberlin
Secretary – Kay Kirpatrick
Communicators (At-large) – Jerrilyn Twite, Greg Henley, Dick Brown
Council currently meets on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 6:30pm. All are welcome to attend as guests. Please contact Laurel one week prior to the meeting to add agenda items or to make a guest presentation to the Council.
Mon - Fri, 9:00am - 3:00pm
(During the summer, 10:00am - 2:00pm)
4445 Royal Avenue
Eugene, OR 97402