Senior Pastor - Ben Sandin
I have served at House of Prayer since March of 2014 and it continues to be a blessing! My ministry is focused on the continued renewal of the congregation and becoming a community church. The many signs of growth and new life at House of Prayer are a great encouragement for me as the partnership we share in grows stronger. I am blessed to work with an awesome church staff that is both highly gifted and fully committed to the future of House of Prayer!
On a more personal note, I was raised in Ashland, WI and attended Gustavus Adolphus College and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. I have served congregations in Michigan and South Dakota, focusing on congregational renewal, youth ministry, and social justice. I am married to Kelly Sandin who is my partner in life and ministry. We live in Bloomington and are blessed to have our adult daughter, Jasmine, living nearby.
Interim Minister of Faith Formation & Visitation - Kelly Sandin
firstname.lastname@example.org (612) 500-9525
It is a privilege and joy to be serving at House of Prayer! As a person who loves people, I have a passion for hearing the stories of others through one-on-one listening. It is sacred space and does not leave us the same. I look forward to deepening current relationships and getting to know many others I have yet to meet.
As a native of Detroit, and life-long Michiganian until 2014, I have degrees in teaching from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Oakland University in Rochester, MI. In the year of 2016-2017, I interned at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and then graduated from Luther Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in August of 2017.
I enjoy watching the Food Network, like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and have a love for dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, and frozen yogurt.
Director of Youth Ministry & Community Engagement - Ben Whalen
email@example.com (612) 500-9523
I knew I wanted to work in youth ministry since my own high school youth group. I studied religion & music at Gustavus, was involved in several campus ministries, and worked at Pine Lake Camp in the summers. Shortly out of college I fulfilled that dream with my first youth group. I've also worked with a lot of community building organizations and recognized the need for Christians to love not just our metaphorical neighbors but also our literal ones. I am privileged that my work at House of Prayer allows me to combine both these passions to work with the children, youth, and families of our congregation AND the community of Richfield.
Outside of work, I play trombone in a brass quintet, love the outdoors (biking, camping, hiking), fix up bicycles, enjoy playing board games, and really like puns.
Director of Operations & Communications - Cara Wright
firstname.lastname@example.org (612) 866-8471
I'm a planner and an organizer... and am very blessed to be able to put my skills to good use in this energetic, welcoming, and faith-filled community! I grew up at House of Prayer and have held leadership roles in the congregation. Knowing many people and how things work around here is huge help - but I find that every day brings new challenges, opportunities, and relationships.
My husband, Scott and I met at Gustavus Adolphus College where we both majored in Business Management. We have two awesome daughters, Chloe and Caity -- a Tommie and a Gustie! I worked in Finance and Human Resources at Northwest/Delta Airlines and General Mills managing Retirement Plans before coming to HOP. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering (church/American Swedish Institute/Gustavus), travel, essential oils, and being a Segway tour guide.
Director of Worship & Music - Phil Mennicke
email@example.com (612) 500-9533
Church music has been present in my life since birth. My dad was choir director at Zion Lutheran Church in Brainerd, so I had no choice from an early age! In the Fall of 2007 my previous teaching position fell victim to budget cuts, so I found myself needing to do SOMETHING, and was fortunate enough to stumble onto the Director of Music position at House of Prayer. More than a decade later I am still stumbling with that SOMETHING and have never looked back!
I live in Minneapolis with wife, Mindy (a superior musician to me), and two active boys, Jack and Jamie, who know me more as a baseball coach than a music director. House of Prayer has been an amazing blessing to me and my family, and I'm thankful to be in a place that values quality worship and is not afraid to unleash the magical powers of music in a worship setting!
ReFuel Worship Leader - Josh Countryman
My name is Josh Countryman, and I am excited to be House of Prayer's ReFuel worship leader. I and my wife Amy are proud parents of 3 kids and a puppy. I’ve been a music teacher for 15 years, and I’m currently teaching at Henry Sibley High School in Eagan. In addition to teaching I am also a performing musician, singing in a local band and in the choral ensemble Kantorei. Previously I was part of the music ministry every Sunday at Richfield United Methodist Church but have been looking for the opportunity to take a more active role in worship. Music is how I pray and connect to God, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to make music with the members of House of Prayer. God bless!
Financial Administrator - Jo Shoberg
firstname.lastname@example.org (612) 500-9528
I grew up in a commune and am the love child of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez.
Maintenance Manager - Ramo Zejnilovic
Beef and chocolate.
Director of Preschool - Nicole Olson
email@example.com (612) 861-7110
I’m thrilled to join the House of Prayer staff as the Preschool Director! I’ve loved children since I can remember and always knew I wanted to teach. After studying Montessori education, I spent nearly 10 years working at the Montessori Center of Minnesota and most recently have been a substitute teacher in area schools. I look forward to getting to know the children and families that I’m blessed to work with.
Director of Children's Music - Mindy Mennicke
I am delighted to have the honor of leading our Sunday School children in song! As many of you know, this is my true passion, as I have been leading one of the children's choirs (3rd-6th graders) at Bethlehem Lutheran in Minneapolis for over 12 years and I also teach PreK-5th grade music and choir at La Academia Elementary School in Chaska by day. It has been exciting to get to know our youngest House of Prayer members and share God's love through music with them.
You might also know that I married into music - my husband Phil directs the Senior Choir and Handbells - and we have 2 musical boys, Jack and Jamie, but they are very humble about this.
Simple Supper Coordinator - DuAnn Thompson
Baking and cooking are life. How much onion and garlic can I put in this dish?