View our leadership members below and click on each name for more information.
Listen to Pastor Chon on a recent Biz Stories Shared Podcast
The Evangelical Lutheran Education Association (ELEA) selected Pastor Chon Pugh the 2015 Distinguished Pastor of the Year. The award was established to honor pastors who have a strong commitment to the school or preschool in the congregation they serve.
One Line Bio: I am a child of God, married to Danny, with four grown children and four grown children-in-laws and 16 grandchildren age 10 and younger
Music: New country and old stuff – Carole King, James Taylor, Stairway to Heaven, the Supremes. My favorite song of all times is “Please Come to Boston” especially when sung by Kenny Chesney. I love listening to “The Messiah”. And my feel good listening is to a group of children doing the hokey pokey – it makes me smile every-time!
Films: Pretty Woman, The Holiday, Gone With the Wind, Dirty Dancing, Hope Floats
Literary Musings: Female Brain and Male Brain by Dr. Louann Brizendine, anything written by Tess Gerritsen, and of course the Bible
Favorite Eateries: Red, White and Brew and Chedders
Little Known Fact: I was a page for the Arkansas House of Representatives when I was 12
Who I’d Like To Meet: Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, Jimmy Carter, Ghandi. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the Last Supper
Favorite Quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson
One Line Bio: Native of Arizona, cross-stitcher, maker of Christmas ornaments
Music: John Stewart, John Denver
Films: Old science fiction monster movies; The Maltese Falcon
Literary Musings: Terry Pratchett, Janet Kagan, Georgette Heyer
Favorite Eatery: Rosita’s, Red Devil Pizza
Who I’d Like To Meet: a new friend
Favorite Quote: “The problem with Rock ‘n’ Roll is that the generation that created it is now the establishment. … Fortunately, I’ve found some protest music for today’s youth! This stuff really offends Mom and Dad! Easy listening Muzak. I play it real quiet, too.” Calvin and Hobbs as related by Bill Watterson
One Line Bio: Native, married, mother of 2 daughters, 1 step daughter, 13 grand children and 2 great grandchildren. retired medical assistant
Music: George Strait, The Texas Tenors, Faith Hill. Newsboys and ALL Christmas music
Films: Sound of Music, Gone with the Wind, ALL of the Harry Potters films, You’ve got mail and Sleepless in Seattle
Literary Musings: Lee Child, Clive Cussler, Kathy Reich, Tess Gerritsen Janet Evanovich and J A Jance
Little Known Fact: In 8th grade, I worked on the JFK campaign and met all 3 Kennedy’s
Who I’d Like To Meet: TOM SELLECK, Anne Frank, Abe Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Sandra Day O’Connor
Favorite Quote: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas A. Edison
One Line Bio: I’m a follower of Jesus, a daughter, a wife, a mom, a friend, and a nurse
Music: Beach Boys, Beatles, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor
Films: Dances with Wolves, Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, Sleepless in Seattle, Avatar
Literary Musings: Patricia Cornwell, Clive Cussler, Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steele
Heroes: Jesus, Florence Nightingale, Sister Teresa, my brother
Little Known Fact: I practiced with and tried out for a semi-pro softball team
Favorite Eatery: Mi Amigos, Fish Market Restaurant, Cafe Mix, Tia Rosa’s
Who I’d like to meet: Barack Obama, Clint Eastwood, Dorothea Dix
Favorite Quote: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr
One Line Bio: Grandmother, teacher, organizer, friend
Music: Classic rock, musicals, big band
Films: Dune (1984), Harry Potter series, musicals
Literary Musings: Sister Circle series, Miriam Bahsom, Church Choir Mysteries
Heroes: Champions – my dad, Brother Cadfael
Little Known Fact: Danced on TV for 3 years
Favorite Eatery: My Big Fat Greek, #1 Eastern Buffet, IHOP, Outback Steak House
Who I’d like to meet: Steve Perry, Anne Lenox, Eric Carle, Nancy Moser, Vonette Bright
Favorite Quote: “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you” Matthew 7:7; “We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.” Dr. Martin Luther King; “I came when He called.” Brother Cadfael
President: Bill Gappa
Vice-President: Karen Vidot
Secretary: Mark Bany
Treasurer: Barb Ashton
Mission: Joanne Hunt, Anna Duncan, Nancy Johnson
Bethlehem Lutheran Church was founded in 1986. Pastor Stephen and Estelle Knudsen began worship at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Mesa. On February 16, 1988, Bethlehem was organized as a congregation with 98 members.
1990 was a year that Bethlehem’s first unit of 7500 sq. ft. was built which included worship access, kitchen, fellowship, restrooms, and educational rooms. The four acres accommodated the worship and growth of young and adults, year-round members, and seasonal members. Pastor Maynard Midthun served as visitation pastor and Kris Anderson as the first intern.
In 1995 Pastor Knudsen accepted a pastoral call to Las Vegas. Pastor Adam Meidinger was the interim pastor. In 1996, Bethlehem called Pastor Dale Olson to be its senior pastor. In 1997, Bethlehem stepped out in faith to purchase an additional four acres with a comprehensive site plan for all eight acres.
By 1998 more children were filling the classrooms, so Bethlehem began a building program for its 2400 square foot educational/preschool building.
In 2000, Pat Servi was introduced as Intern. September marked an exciting time with the opening of Noah’s Ark Preschool with Jan Wilton as director and 36 children enrolled.
In July of 2002, Pastor Olson left to assume a position as pastor at Community Lutheran Church in Las Vegas. Pastor Ivan Gunderman began his ministry as Transitional Pastor in September, 2002.
Pastor Terry Pletkovich came to Bethlehem in April of 2004, after having served in Colorado for the previous nine years. Pastor Terry grew up in the Phoenix area and received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University before attending Luther Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota. In addition to parish ministry, Pastor Terry serves as a Navy Reserve Chaplain. Pastor Terry was recalled in support of the Returning Warrior project for 1 year beginning September, 2006.
In the Fall of 2006, Ryan Rouse, a recent seminary graduate, was called to serve as a half-time Interim Pastor for our congregation while Pastor Terry served part time during his Navy recall. During his time with us Pastor Ryan helped out with a variety of different ministries including: visitations, teaching, preaching, and leading worship. Before accepting a call to a congregation in Las Vegas (another congregation) he helped implement a youth ministry team to work with our adolescents at Bethlehem.
November, 2009: Pastor Terry resigned, Pastor Jerry Ebbinga fills in as Interim Pastor
April 2010: Pastor Chon Pugh joins to assist Pastor Jerry in pastoral duties
November 2010: Ms. Jill Majestic becomes Noah Ark’s Preschool Director
2010: Noah’s Ark celebrates 10 year anniversary
June 2010: Guitar Service begins as 4th Sunday worship
April 2011: Pastor Chon is called as permanent pastor
2012: Bethlehem Celebrates 25th Anniversary
Spring 2012: Harvest of Hope Community Garden becomes a reality
October 2012: Enrollment into Missional Leadership Academy
November 2012: First class of Stephen Ministers Installed
2012: Ventures in Stewardship Implemented. Stewardship is faith raising – not fund raising
Oct 2013: The Orchard becomes fields
2014: Arlene Jacobson was added to staff as Worship Assistant
2015: Elyse Wheeler begins her Deaconess Field work
2016: Bethlehem hosts her first Cursillio Ultraya and our first class of Stephen Leaders attend training