OUR STAFF

John Saethre

Interim Pastor

Pastor John Saethre is a retired Air Force chaplain and retired Lutheran pastor who enjoys serving as an interim pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Easton and serving as a contract chaplain at the VA Hospital in Fresno, California.

Pastor Saethre married Debby Karlstad August 19, 1978 and will be celebrating their 40th anniversary this August. They have five adult children: Kjersten, Jonna, Karin, Karl and Peder. The three oldest are married. Pastor John and Debby have two grandsons by Kjersten and Ryan Jimison who live in Rochester, Minnesota. Kjersten works for Mayo Clinic in HR. Jonna is an ordained pastor with the North American Lutheran Church, serving in San Jose. Karin teaches at a Christian school in Gainsville, Florida. Karl lives in Fresno and is training through Vocation Plus. Peder recentlly graduated from Concordia University, Irvine with a major in Theology. He just returned from a missions trip to Ethiopia.

Pastor John graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota with a BA in biology; the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota with an Master of Science in zoology; Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio with a Master of Divinity degree.

Pastor Saethre has served in the following congregations: Emmanuel Lutheran, Columbus, Ohio; Lutheran Church of the Cross, Sacramento; Conrad Lutheran Parish, Montana (interim); Concordia Lutheran Church, Kingsburg, CA; Sierra Lutheran Church, Auberry; and Immanuel Lutheran Church, Easton (interim).

While in the Air Force, Pastor John flew the C-130 Hercules as a pilot, then after a break in service became an Air Force chaplain, serving at Travis AFB, CA; Mountain Home AFB, ID; Hessisch-Oldendorf AB, Germany; Beale AFB, CA; Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ; and Malmstrom AFB, MT. He deployed to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba during the Haitian migrant crisis in 1994.

Pastor John joined the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) in 2010 and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) in 2011. His passion is for renewal of the Lutheran Church through the power of the Holy Spirit. He loves preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and has a high view of the Holy Scriptures and their authority for faith and life.

He lives in Kingsburg with his wife, Debby, as they are almost empty-nesters with their lone adult child, Peder still living with them. They are excited to be a part of the life of Immanuel Lutheran during this time of transition, awaiting the call of a new pastor!

Jacob Wood

youth director

Jacob Wood was born in Fresno CA, and has lived in the Fresno area his whole life. His parents first brought him to Immanuel Lutheran after he was born and had him baptized when he was only a few months old. His family attended Immanuel regularly until he was in high school. He spent his four years of high school regularly attending at Hope Lutheran Church in Fresno. In college, he attended several different churches throughout the Fresno area.
 
He graduated from Edison High School in Fresno in 2013, and from Fresno Pacific University in 2017, with a B.A. in History. After getting his degree, he took on his current role as Youth Director at Immanuel.
 
Jacob will tell you that he is a huge nerd, with pride. He enjoys comics, fantasy, Star Wars, history, etc.. He loves movies, and goes to the theaters very often. He also loves music of all genres, is a drummer and sort of plays guitar. He is also a Giants (MLB) and Colts (NFL) fan. 
 
Most importantly, Jacob has made it his passion and mission to share God’s grace and love to any and all youth that he gets the opportunity to talk to. He loves his job and everyone that he has the privilege to work with while he serves as our Youth Director.

Fred Cogan

Church President

I have had the great fortune of being part of Immanuel Lutheran Church since 1998, and have held a variety of positions during this time. That said, I love to read, play golf, and help wherever and whenever I can. Come God with us!

Marcia Hollenbeck

Vice President of Congregation

I have been a member of Immanuel all of my life.

I am a teacher at Fresno State University. My husband Scott and I have been married 30 years. We have 4 kids. Kristi is 23 and working on her teaching credential and masters, Robert is 22 and he just got married last November and he works at Jiffy Lube, Stephanie is 14 and headed to high school in the fall and Michelle is 12 and will be in 8th grade.

I am vice president of our church. I am an active member of Faith Bible study. I am in one if the adult Sunday school classes and often teach the children’s sermon.

I love Immanuel, I live being Lutheran, and I love Easton. You will love Immanuel Lutheran Church in Easton too.

Debra Goff

Council Secretary

As the council secretary, so that nothing is ever miscommunicated, I keep tabs on what happens during meetings. To make sure everyone is on the same page, I send my notes from the meetings to our other council member, Victoria, for distribution to the rest of the council. In addition to this, I review and summarize incoming mail, before reporting it all back to the council, during our meetings.

I was raised Lutheran and attended church regularly, during my childhood. However, as I became an adult, I found it increasingly difficult to find a church that had an atmosphere that I was comfortable with. When I came to Immanuel, I was welcomed with open arms and warm hearts into the church’s family. I settled in within no time at all, and I believe this was partially due to the fact that it reminded me so much of my childhood church.

I work as a tax analyst in the Department of Treasury. I prepare weekly reports and statistical data. I am also responsible for my team’s website. I have currently been doing this job for almost 33 years. I enjoy crocheting, reading, and spending time with my wonderful family. When I’m not working on my career, I will sometimes help my husband with his grave cleaning business.

Victoria Salwasser

Office Secretary

I’m from the small town of Tranquillity, I met my husband, Mark, at Fresno State and after we married I moved to Easton in 1990. We joined Immanuel in 2001when I realized it takes a village to raise a child and I wanted friends and a church home in our community for our three children. We have a son and daughter -in-law, Drake and Alejandra who live in Clovis, a son, Shane who lives in Irvine, and a daughter, Audra, who lives in Los Angeles.

At Immanuel I found much more than a church home and friends, I found that God is with us here and I found a church family. Our lives changed for the better. We became involved with Bible Studies and activities with the kids, I was hired at the wedding hostess for the church and thought that was so much fun. I enjoyed working with the brides and grooms and getting to know them.

In 2004 I left the food industry and started working for Immanuel, as the church secretary. I help with the business of the church and programs as well as organize a weekly Women’s Bible Study on Thursday mornings. In 2017 my daughter was serving as deacon and had to move away for college. I was blessed to finish her term and I am now serving as a Deacon for Immanuel, a role I thoroughly enjoy.

If you visit Immanuel, please introduce yourself to me. I love to meet new people and show you what Immanuel is all about.

Laura Nielsen

Treasurer

My name is Laura Nielsen. I joined Immanuel 33 years ago when I got married. My husband Mike and I have raised our 4 children in this church. Because Immanuel is such a family church, we feel like we helped raise dozens of other children as well.

I have been a financial officer for the church and the Women’s Ministry. I have lead Sunday school, VBS, youth ministries, volunteers, funeral luncheons, quilting and many mission projects. I have sung in the choir, praise band and was a member of our Country Gospel band for years. Our children have continued in music ministry by all playing instruments or singing and two of them are are in full time ministry with CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ).

My favorite passage is the 100th Psalm. Verse 1 says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands and serve the Lord with gladness and come into his presence with singing.” I have loved using my gifts here at Immanuel to serve the Lord.

Christie Pettitt

Deacon

I attended Immanuel from childhood through college. Moved to Seattle, WA where I was an elementary teacher/asst. principal for 30 years; retired and returned to Fresno where I met and married Don Pettitt, who is one of the lead ushers.

I enjoy gardening, reading, traveling and volunteering at Holiday Boutique, which supports Children’s Hospital. We also enjoy our granddaughter and family get togethers.

John Jensen

Deacon

Member of Immanuel for 65 years. Leader of the senior adult Sunday school class.

Contributed to the monthly news letter Chimes. I’m a retired creamery worker.

My beautiful wife passed into God’s arms two years ago. I have three adult children and one handsome grandson. I enjoy my flower garden, tinkering in my shop and helping others wherever I can.

Richard Cisneros

Deacon

My name is Richard Cisneros. I am currently serving as one of our Deacons. I joined the church in the Fall of 1997, just prior to being married to the beautiful Jennifer Petersen Cisneros. I have previously served on the council two separate times as a trustee and have been on a few committees over the past 20 years.

Jennifer and I have two sons, Elijah 19 and Noah 17. Immanuel has always been a comfortable, safe, supporting place for me and my family. If you see me at church or anywhere else please stop and say hello. Blessings to you all!

Nancy Newsom

Deacon

I am a life-long Lutheran and have served in just about every capacity that needs to be filled in a church. I am currently a Deacon. I have attended Immanuel for over 23 years and I was drawn to it as it is close to my home. But what made me stay was the genuine welcoming feeling I have when I worship. It is not one or two people, but a feeling of a gathering of kindred souls looking to worship the Lord. That is what keeps me here.