Pastor Dennis Laherty began his ministry at Emanuel in February, 2005. Community outreach has certainly been an emphasis during his time at Emanuel. Over these years the structure of the pastoral staff has changed from there being a solo pastor to a couple of years when the congregation was also served by seminary interns. More recently a co-senior pastor has been a part of the staff at Emanuel. Pastor Laherty requested to be called part-time in 2014 in order to pursue other outreach in the community. With this transition to part-time came more involvement with the North Orange County Senior Collaborative, an organization that has as its mission to meet the unmet needs of seniors in the community. Pastor Laherty also serves as a chaplain with the La Habra Police Department which comes as a natural involvement after his 20 years as a chaplain with the U.S. Navy.
Pastor Laherty is a native Californian having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Following Seminary at Christ Seminary-Seminex in St. Louis, Missouri, he has served congregations in Los Angeles and Indiana as well as Garden Grove, California. Pastor Laherty has four children, all grown and living in different parts of the country. He and wife Phyllis live within a mile and a half of Emanuel.
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.
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.