Pastor Cate Luehr joined the ministry staff at Emanuel Lutheran Church in July of 2009. Her time at Emanuel has been focused on faith formation of all ages. With a history of working with youth, fostering a growing and vibrant faith amongst young people has always been part of Pastor Cate’s ministry. However she is quick to share that our lives of faith never stop evolving and as adults we need to keep exploring how we live out our relationship with our Lord. Just as our lives and world change and shape who we are, so do our lives in Christ. Pastor Cate’s preaching and teaching reflect the promise that in Jesus Christ we have been forgiven of our sins and called to be disciples, showing our love of the Lord by loving our neighbor.
Pastor Cate grew up in Northern Minnesota. In May 2009 she graduated from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was ordained shortly following graduation. Prior to entering seminary Pastor Cate worked as a Director of Educational Ministries in Salem, Virginia. She is married to Clayton Mark, a third grade teacher in the Whittier City School District.
Matt joined Emanuel in June of 2019 as part of his pastoral education. He is currently a graduate student at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is part of a pilot program with Luther in their new program called “MDivX.” The traditional time it takes to get through seminary is 4 years, but in this pilot program it is 2 years. Instead of doing a traditional year long internship Matt will be with Emanuel for 2 years in this program. Before moving to La Habra and serving Emanuel, Matt was a full time stay at home dad and worked part time at serving Immanuel Lutheran in Forest City, Iowa. He worked there for 7 years doing middle school and high school youth ministry. Prior to church work Matt has worked as an admissions counselor, insurance agent and in the retirement industry.
Matt graduated from Concordia University Chicago where he met his wonderful wife Jenni. They have three children together. They previously lived in Forest City, Iowa for 9 years. It has been amazing to see how the congregation has opened its arm to the Polsdofer family.
When Matt was meeting with Pastor Cate Luehr, he felt God calling him to Emanuel. He knew that this would be a great environment for himself and his family to grow into their ministry call. Matt enjoys working with people of all ages and building relationships. It is amazing to get to know people more and hear their faith stories and how God is impacting their lives. He will focus on learning congregational care, preaching and sharing Christ’s love with all the many ministry opportunities here at Emanuel.
Stephanie joined the music staff at Emanuel in August 2006 and serves as the Director of Choirs. Stephanie received her Master of Music degree at Cal State Fullerton in May 2007. Stephanie studied voice as an undergraduate at the University of Oregon as well as a graduate student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In addition to being a full-time student and serving Emanuel with her talents, Stephanie also offers private voice lessons to students in Irvine, CA. She performs in a couple of operas each year at Cal State. Stephanie is a member of Music Teacher’s Association of California as well as Mu Phi Epsilon.
Kevin Wiley has served as the Organist/Accompanist at Emanuel since June 2006. He has served liturgical congregations over the past 20 years. Kevin earned a Master’s Degree in Music from Cal State Fullerton in 1989 with an emphasis in Keyboard and Vocal Performance. Since 1989 he has been a member of the staff at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA where he serves as Full-time Staff Accompanist and Music Librarian. In recent years Kevin has performed with the chorus of Opera Pacific in Costa Mesa as well as the Pacific Chorale. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists and the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity.
Jonine Sodders has served as our Preschool Director since 2000. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Cal State Fullerton, and an Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Cerritos College. Working with children in many capacities, she has found her love in the preschool environment.
Jonine is married, with two energetic boys. While not at our preschool, she can be found at the local inline hockey rink cheering for her sons.