• Pastor Joanna grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She studied English and Theology at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. She received her Masters of Divinity from United Lutheran Seminary. She transplanted to New England for her first call as associate pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Prior to Emanuel, she was the pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Bristol, Connecticut. She's on the synod’s candidacy committee and serves as a transition coach to help congregations discern during a transition. She's also a Pastoral Innovation Network fellow at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace.

    She lives with her family in Portland, CT. She's married to Brett, who is an ELCA pastor on leave from call who teaches Hebrew Scriptures at Notre Dame High School in West Haven. She has two children–Thomas and Jane–as well as a quirky rescue lab mix named Nala, a cat named Kitty Hawk, and seven hens. Her spirit breathes deep on a long walk or run. She loves guacamole, lattes, and popcorn and despises mushrooms and mayonnaise.

  • Vicar Ryan Heckman was born in Minneapolis, MN. Vicar Ryan was raised in the ELCA tradition and is thrilled to be following a life-long call to pastoral ministry. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Religious Studies. He then received a Master of Nonprofit Management from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. Vicar Ryan has worked in the nonprofit sector as a fundraiser and program coordinator since his graduation from the U of M. Most notably, he served as a fundraiser and RIC program coordinator at ReconcilingWorks and as a fundraiser for Headwaters Foundation for Justice, both located in the Twin Cities area. Vicar Ryan is serving as Emanuel’s part-time Vicar through Luther Seminary where he is working on his Master of Divinity through the Master of Divinity Accelerated (MDivX) program. Vicar Ryan lives in Windsor at the Loomis Chaffee School where his husband teaches biology, genetics and environmental science. In his spare time Ryan enjoys hikes, crafting a good cup of coffee and watching Formula 1 racing. 

  • Jeff Sirois is a Connecticut native, and a lifelong musician. He holds degrees in music education from Plymouth State University (NH), and The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he studied both piano and trumpet performance. Prior to coming to Emanuel, Jeff served as Director of Music at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Terryville, CT. A passionate music educator, Jeff has taught music at every level from preschool to adult learners, and currently serves as a music teacher and band director at Avon Middle School. Prior to his position in Avon, Jeff was Director of Bands at Berlin High School. Jeff brings a diverse, and versatile musical skill set to Emanuel, and believes deeply in the idea that music elevates faith, and that the pursuit of music enhances not only our worship, but our own human vitality. Jeff is an active freelance musician, frequently performing on both piano and trumpet throughout Connecticut, and is currently the keyboardist for the popular Middletown based dance cover band, Downtown 6. Jeff is a dedicated Red Sox fan, and enjoys playing golf (albeit poorly!) and tennis in his free time. 

  • A life-long member of Emanuel, Nancy has worked in the church office as the Administrative Assistant since November of 2003. She has recently taken over primary responsibility for managing membership and financial records. She enjoys working with such a talented staff. She feels blessed to be able to use her gifts and serve her church community in her position.

  • Anne is a resident of Manchester. Anne is responsible for creating the weekly Sunday worship bulletin, the monthly newsletter, the weekly email update, maintaining the website as well as scheduling groups to use church space for meetings or events. 

  • Prior to her retirement, Lynne Gustafson RN had been Coordinator of School Health Services for the Manchester School System for 31 years. During those years she held several leadership positions; first as President of the Association of School Nurses of Connecticut and then as President of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). In 1999 she was elected a Fellow in NASN. Through these positions she realized that she enjoyed creating new programs. When Emanuel decided to start a Parish Nurse program she decided that this was an excellent challenge and opportunity for her to blend her nursing skills with her spirituality. In 2004 she completed the Parish Nurse program developed by St Francis Hospital and Medical Center. Through the Parish Nurse program, Emanuel offers parishioners a wide range of health and advocacy programs.

  • Danielle Berneski is a life long member of Emanuel. This is her third year as Co-Director of Family Ministries. She is also a member of the Mutual Ministry Committee. She is a third grade teacher and loves working with children and their families. Danielle and her husband Joe have a son named Noah and a rescue Shih Tzu named Bella. In her spare time she enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.  

  • Kathy Hatch,

    Property Supervisor