The Rev. Dr. Lisa Pace Stephens, Pastor
The Rev. Dr. Lisa Pace Stephens, Pastor Lisa as she prefers to be called, is ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has been serving First Lutheran since 2021. She is also a chemistry professor and encourages thoughtful discussions around any subject that people are interested discussing. Prior to going into ordained ministry, Pastor Lisa served as an organist and choir director.
Pastor Lisa is the mother to 3 children, who are no longer children, who make her immensely proud.
When asked about why she loves being at First Lutheran, Her response was, “Primarily I love it because this is a community that is filled with and guided by God’s Holy Spirit and for a small group they do amazing things for their neighbors. Secondly, I am so happy to be here because I am accepted and loved for who I am with all my silliness, seriousness, and quirks, and know that anyone who walks into that door will be given the same kindness.”
Please feel free to contact Pastor Lisa by leaving a message on the church office phone (845.452.6050) or by sending an email to VicarLisaStephens@outlook.com.
Eric Hepp, Director of Music
Organist Eric Hepp is organist and choir director at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Poughkeepsie. He holds M.S. degrees in Computer Science and Geophysics from Michigan Technological University, , and works in NYC as a data analyst/scientist. Prior to accepting the position at First Lutheran in early 2006, Eric spent his first year in the mid-Hudson valley as a very busy substitute at many local churches.
Eric began his organ studies with Carolyn Deuel in Casper, WY, where he lived from 1981 to 1985. He served as organist of Portage Lake United Church (UCC and Presbyterian) in Houghton, Ml from 1985 to 1989. After moving to Rochester, MN in 1989, he again began formal lessons with Robert Scoggin, practicing on the 5 manual, 55 rank Robert Sipe instrument at the Rochester United Methodist Church. He became assistant organist at The Congregational Church, Rochester MN in 1992, and remained in that position until his transfer to IBM Poughkeepsie in 2004. From 2000 – 2003 Eric was a frequent recitalist in Rochester, appearing on the summer noontime organ series held at Rochester United Methodist, the Lenten series held at First Presbyterian Church, and the Advent series held at Calvary Episcopal.
Eric maintains an active and involved interest in all things related to the organ. He is treasurer of the Central Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. During his time in Rochester, he served various offices in the S.E. Minnesota Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Eric assisted local organ technicians with tuning and minor repairs, and oversaw the addition of 8 ranks of pipes to the 35 rank Reuter Organ at the Congregational Church.
Peter Slingerland, Deacon
After leaving college, Peter Slingerland was hired by IBM and worked there for 31 years in Human Resources. During that time, he was in the Air Force, got married and raised a family of a daughter and a son. While at IBM, he worked my way up to a middle management position.
Near the time he was going to retire from IBM, he attended Diakonia Class for 2 years. When Diakonia was about to be over, he received approval of the members of First Lutheran Church in Poughkeepsie, NY to become a deacon of that church.
During his time as a deacon, he was asked to join the Diaconate Committee of MetroNY Synod. After several years on the Diaconate Committee, he was asked to become the Chairperson of that committee. Peter writes, “I have been blessed by God throughout my life and would like to serve anyway I can.”