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Staff


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Rev. Victoria Wilgocki, Pastor
Victoria earned a B.A. in music from St. Olaf College, an M.A.L.S (Master of Arts in Liberal Studies) from Hamline University, and a Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. She has served as solo pastor of St. Anthony Park UCC since 2008, and truly loves her "flock," from infants to elders and everyone in between. Victoria enjoys singing, playing the piano and collaborating with other musicians, reading The New Yorker magazine, fiction and memoir, riding the giant slide at the State Fair, and going to yoga class. She lives with her husband and two sons in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.


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Liam Magistad, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries
Liam came to SAP UCC as a young child and has many fond memories from growing up here at the church. He graduated from Macalester College in December of 2019 with a B.A., majoring in sociology and minoring in political science. Since then, he started a small tutoring business and a digital therapy tools company with friends from college. Liam has had an interest in working with youth since he was in high school when he worked as a peer tutor and helped spearhead several service projects with the church. Liam is passionate about issues of housing and homelessness as well as climate justice. He loves going camping in the BWCA and other wilderness areas. He lives in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of Saint Paul.


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Jacob Ristow, Office Manager
Hailing from Neenah, Wisconsin, Jacob graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2012 with a B.S. in Nutrition. Before joining St. Anthony Park UCC, Jacob held a variety of positions in education, nonprofits, and the grocery industry. When he’s not office-managing, Jacob plays boards games with friends; watches action movies and The Office (US) with his partner, Claire; listens to true crime podcasts; writes fiction; folds origami; and goes for walks. He and Claire live in Saint Paul.


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John Habermann, Choir Director
Since the age of fifteen, John has served as a musician at several churches that represent a number of denominations. A Vocal Music Teacher since 1996, John spent his first four years at Centennial High School in Circles Pines, Minnesota, and currently teaches at Mounds Park Academy, a preK-12 private, college preparatory school located in St. Paul. John graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota and received his Master of Arts in Music Education from the University of St. Thomas. A resident of Northeast Minneapolis, John enjoys reading fiction, gardening, playing piano, and spending time with his orange tabby, Oscar.


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Melanie Ohnstad, Organist
Melanie Ohnstad has been a church musician since her graduation from St. Olaf College in 1974. She led the music ministries of St. Stephen Lutheran, Wausau, WI, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Phoenix, AZ, and Westminster Presbyterian, Minneapolis. Melanie received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, has served as Dean of the Twin Cities Chapter of the AGO, and has accompanied Minnesota choirs on three separate European tours. Melanie was named Minister of Music Emerita at Westminster during her retirement celebrations and is now freelancing as an organist. She and her husband, Philip, are eager to spend more time with their families in Colorado and California and explore nature and cultures in the U.S. and abroad. She shares the organist position with Michelle Gehrz.


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Michelle Gehrz, Organist
Michelle Gehrz loves sharing her passion and joy as a church musician, organist, choral conductor, music educator, and accompanist throughout the Twin Cities area. She has served as Organist/Choir Director at many churches including the Cathedral of St. Paul, Lake of the Isles Lutheran, Mount Calvary Lutheran in Excelsior, Hennepin Avenue UMC, and Minnetonka UMC. Michelle received her undergraduate degrees from St. Olaf College in Church Music and Music Education, the Master of Music degree from the University of Notre Dame in Sacred Music/Organ Performance. She has completed all but her thesis at the University of St. Thomas for the Master of Arts program in Music Education. Michelle is on the Artistic Team of Directors with Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs in Bloomington, directs the Senior Chorale (55+) with the Music Association of Minnetonka, and is Artistic Director of Bella Lumina, an adult community treble choir in the Twin Cities. Her school music teaching career has spanned all grade levels K-12 and has included teaching at Mounds Park Academy in St. Paul, St. Croix Preparatory Academy in Stillwater, and the Wayzata School District. Michelle is married to Jon (who keeps the home front steady!) and they are parents to Nate. Michelle will never turn down a good cup of coffee or a glass of wine especially if it comes with good conversation and laughter! She shares the organist position with Melanie Ohnstad.

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Yelma Bekle, Custodian
Yelma is full-time employed at Mitchell Hamline School of Law as a custodian and maintenance staff person. Here at the church, he serves as our part-time Custodian, caring for our building and grounds. Yelma hails from Ethiopia, coming to the U.S. in 2005. He lives with his family in St. Paul. His hobby is gardening and agriculture, especially growing and harvesting vegetables.

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Lauren Brown, Child Care Provider
Lauren is a graduate of Irondale High School and has worked in the nursery since 2009. She enjoys being with the children and brings her energy and kindness to the infants and toddlers of the congregation. Lauren likes hanging out with her friends, and lives with her family in Mounds View.


This page last modified on September 20, 2021