Faith Staff

Meet our Pastors
Pastor Dale Peterson, Senior Pastor
I am originally from south Minneapolis where I graduated from Washburn High School and learned to love diversity. I have served as Senior Pastor at Faith since November of 2005. Prior to Faith I served congregations in Circle Pines, Minnesota, New Brighton, Minnesota, Jewell, Iowa and most recently Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. I live in Chanhassen with my wife Sarah. Sarah is an English Language Learners (ELL) teacher at Bluff Creek Elementary School in Chanhassen. We have two adult children; our son Sam is pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School in Cambridge, MA and our daughter Grace is pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Psychology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.
I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota in 1987 and my Masters of Divinity Degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota in 1991.
My personal mission statement is, “To decrease suffering and increase joy in all that I meet.” I love being a pastor and feel privileged to be invited in to share with individuals and families life’s most significant experiences. My history as a recovering alcoholic and a former chemical dependency counselor continually provides opportunities for me to share my experience, strength and hope.
My life verse is Matthew 6:31 “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (King James Version). I strive to create an atmosphere in worship services where people feel free to come “as they are” and leave knowing that Jesus loves them, accepts them, understands them, forgives them and promises to walk with them every step of the way-no matter what-forever.
I love to travel, especially to visit our children. I also enjoy staying physically fit by bicycling, practicing yoga, lifting weights, doing the elliptical machine and taking long walks. We have a family cabin up by Grand Rapids, Minnesota that was a favorite place for my parents and we now share with my siblings. I am “at the lake” whenever possible.
Pastor Dale R Peterson Senior Pastor 952-442-2101 x.101
Email Pastor Dale HERE
Pastor Katie Escalante,
Associate Pastor:
Originally, I hail from Chaska, MN. I received my BA in Religion at Gustavus Adolphus College in 2010. After college, I traveled in South America and lived in Chimbote, Peru for a few years. My husband, Jose, and I returned to the United States in 2013 so that I could begin seminary. We spent a year in breathtaking Chelan, WA where I served my internship congregation, Lake Chelan Lutheran. In 2017, I graduated from Luther Seminary with my Masters of Divinity. My husband, Jose, my son, Benjamin, and I now live in my hometown of Chaska.
I began serving Faith Lutheran in October 2018 and was ordained later that month. I am excited to become a part of this vibrant faith community where people are growing in their relationships with God and with one another as we strive to love and serve both God and neighbor.  
A bible verse that guides my ministry is Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” It is God’s liberating love that transforms our lives.
When I am not at church, you can find me drinking coffee with friends, enjoying movie nights, or with my son, Benjamin, reading books, exploring outside and having playdates.
Pastor Katie Escalante,
Associate Pastor:
952-442-2101 x. 102
Email Pastor Katie HERE
Pastor Christine Ruth,
Associate Pastor:
I am originally from Marshfield, Wisconsin, where I was ordained there at another Faith Lutheran Church in 2000. I served congregations in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Menomonie, Wisconsin, and Eden Prairie, Minnesota before accepting my recent call to Faith Lutheran in 2015. My husband, Greg, my son, Kellen, and my daughter, Adeline, all live with me in Chanhassen.
I received my BS in Social Work in Luther College in 1995, my M.Div. from Luther Seminary in 2000, and my MS in Marriage and Family Therapy from University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2012.
My passion in ministry is helping ordinary people discover their spiritual gifts and their unique spiritual-DNA – how God has uniquely wired them to love and serve their community. I believe that the world is desperately in need of people who have “come alive” and are living the “abundant life” Jesus talks about in John 10:10. I believe that we find our deepest sense of joy and meaning when loving and serving our neighbor in the way that fits best for us. I am committed to community outreach, healing marriages and families, and to preaching relevant sermons that are challenging and easily applicable to your life.
When I’m not at church, you can find me drinking cappuccinos at the Mocha Monkey, singing in community musical theater, reading Tolkien, doing Zumba, or canoeing in the Boundary Waters.
Pastor Christine Ruth Associate Pastor
952-442-2101 x..109
Email Pastor Christine HERE

Pastor Jim Demke, Visitation Pastor After 35 years serving congregations in Minot ND, Rock Valley IA, and Cottonwood MN, I felt led to move to Carver and explore life and ministry options in “retirement.”  I’m excited to be living in this beautiful location and getting to know many wonderful people! Originally from North Dakota, I graduated from Bismarck High School and then Mary College (Bismarck) with a degree in history/secondary education.  After a year of fulltime employment at Scheels, I attended Luther Seminary (St. Paul) and was ordained in 1981.  I see ministry as the healing of relationships.  We’ve all been broken in our relationships with God, family, others, and even ourselves.  Through Christ and the Spirit God is at work to bring us into a full and rich life together.  In Christian fellowship, including person-to-person encounters, we discover “the life that really is life.”  [1 Tim. 6:19 NRSV] My wife, Denise Nelsen, and I were married in 2013.  Our first life-partners, Brian Nelsen and Candy Demke, each went to their full life with God two years before.  Together, Brian and Denise raised Mark and Chad, and Candy and I raised Sarah and Amy.  The boys are currently in South Dakota and Colorado, and the girls are in Minnesota.   Three of them are married.  We continue to thank God for comforting us in grief and blessing us with the new life we have in each other. To enhance body and soul (and have fun, too) I hope to engage more in archery, biking (self-powered), kayaking, ice skating, x/c skiing, snowshoeing, arts & entertainment, and visiting people!   

Pastor Jim Demke Visitation Pastor

605-370-2206 Email Pastor Jim HERE

 Program Staff

Mary Toufar, Director of Children, Youth and Family,
God has formed me and my ministry by a long and patient molding of my life and my experiences. I am the daughter of a preacher. My dad was the first to plant the seed in me –“someday you will be a leader in the church.” I am the mother of five, the mother-in-law of four and the “NANA” of six. Family is very important to all of us.
Prior to moving to Waconia, my husband and I were camp directors at Luther Park Bible Camp in Chetek, WI for 23 years. Before that we were teachers in Prescott, WI and went to camp in the summer months. Before that we were both students and graduates of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with degrees in Education.
My Mission: My favorite calling in life is that of a “disciple-maker”. This is a calling I can live out in my family, my community and my church. When working with young people I feel that it is very important for them to know that God’s calling in their lives begins NOW.
My Purpose: There are three verses from the Bible that help form my purpose statement.
  • “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” [Jesus] Matthew 19:14
  • “Go . . . make disciples. Baptize them and teach them to obey me. . . Remember, I will be with you always.” [Jesus] Matthew 28:19-20
  • Advice given to Timothy when he was feeling to young and unworthy – “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in live, in love in faith and in purity.” [Paul] 1 Timothy 4:12
Ms. Mary Toufar Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministry 952-442-2101 X. 105
Email Mary HERE
We are pleased to announce that Ally Klug began her role as our new Youth and Family Minister this week. The Youth Minister Search Committee unanimously recommended Ally for the position. Cory Jones will continue with us as Interim Youth and Family Minister until October 11thto help in this time of transition. Ally is a 2016 graduate of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and Psychology. She spent the last year as an au pair in Verona, Italy. We are very excited to have Ally join Faith’s staff. Please give her a warm welcome. Welcome Ally! 
952-442-2101 X 111
Email Ally HERE
Music Staff
Ms. Shelly Hilgers
I am originally from Waconia and graduated from Waconia High School in 1989. I came to Faith Lutheran Church in the Fall of 1986 and played piano for the Faith Adult Choir during my junior and senior year. After High School I attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and graduated in 1993 with a degree in Music Education and Theatre Arts. I taught instrumental music in St. Paul for twelve years and currently at piano for the City of Lakes Waldorf School in Minneapolis as well as the band and choir solo and ensemble contest in Waconia. I have been the Worship Accompanist at Faith Lutheran since 1997. My personal mission statement is to glorify God and enhance worship through music. Faith offers a wide variety of music opportunities that include large and small group ensembles as well as soloist, cantors, and seasonal groups. I am passionate about matching peoples interest and musical gifts to where they can best serve. When I am not at Church I love to travel! Some of my favorite trips include Turkey, Israel, Costa Rica, and cross country road trips in the United States. I also have a strong interest cultural diversity and mentor a refugee family through Lutheran Social Service. I am a lifelong Twins fan and spend much of the summer cheering them on.
Mr. Aaron Olson is our Director of Faith Choir (adult). He received his Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and his Masters degree from the University of Minnesota. Previous to moving to Waconia, Aaron directed the Pilgrim Lutheran Church adult choir in Superior Wisconsin for six years. Aaron is also currently the director of choral activities at Waconia High School where he directs four curricular choirs in addition to directing Power Company, Waconia High School’s Award winning show Choir. Aaron, his wife Liz and their two children Emma and Ethan have been members at Faith since 1998.
Ms. Jeanine Kruschke
is our Director for the Prime Time Band, Faith’s Praise Band. She received his Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and her Masters degree from Capella University. Jeanine is the Director of Bands at Belle Plaine High School. At Belle Plaine she conducts the 7th and 8th Grade Bands, the High School Concert Band and many other small ensembles including Jazz Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. Jeanine, her husband Peter and daughter Sophia live in Belle Plaine. They have been members at Faith since 2009.

Faithful Ringers, Director Lisa Roddy

Joyful Noise Singers, Director Kay Young

Kid’s Club Choir, Director Cadee Winnie

Support Staff:
Ms. Sharon Hermanson – Support Staff
Sharon joined Faith’s staff in 2017 as part-time Support Staff.
Email Sharon Here

WATTS,-SUSIE-600Ms. Susie Watts – Congregation Connector.
Hello there! I am the Volunteer Coordinator here at Faith Lutheran. My position as your Volunteer Coordinator began in March of 2007. My focus for this position is the Volunteer Database. Each year I provide to the members of Faith an inventory called Gifts to Share and use the information to build our volunteers in the seven ministry areas at Faith. Throughout the year, I encourage people to use their passions and gifts to serve our church. I also work closely with the Life, Growth and Mission Ministry. I like to describe this ministry as a ministry that takes care of its members. Under the umbrella of this ministry are such things as the Prayer Chain, Providing Food for Special Events, the Welcome Center, Good Morning Faith (fellowship time after Sunday morning worship services), New Member Classes, and service at Funeral Luncheons. My husband, Dan, and our two children, Josh and Zach moved to Waconia in 1999 when Josh was four and Zach was one. As a family, we enjoy spending time together going on trips, camping, and having great conversations. In my spare time, I enjoy scrapbooking, cross-stitching, watching a good romance movie and flower gardening. Stop by and introduce yourself. I would enjoy meeting you!
Susie Watts

Congregation Connector
(952)442-2101 ext. 103
Email Susie Here
KRUKOWSKI,-600Ms. Jean Krukowski – Marketing/Communications. Jean began this position in 2002, in addition to her administrative duties Jean also serves as Faith’s Comunication editor. she designs and publishes Faith In Action newsletter, ENews weekly, facebook pages, announcements/bulletins and worship powerpoints. Website coordinator. Jean Krukowski
952-442-2101 ext. 104
Email Jean Here
Mr. Mike Christopherson – Church Administrator/Finance Mike began this position in March 2006, in addition to his administrative duties Mike is also the financial coordinator. Contact Mike Here
Mr. Carl Bredberg – Custodian joins us as Faith’s custodian
August 2010.