The Rev. Dr. Amy Schifrin, NALS president
His steadfast love endures forever.
This refrain of faithful Israel sounds throughout the halls of the North American Lutheran Seminary at Trinity School for Ministry. We are a place and a people who trust that God’s faithfulness is leading us into the future that he has prepared for us.
With that refrain sounding in my heart, my calling is to help prepare the next generation of pastors and church leaders to be a bold and faithful witness to the love that God our Father has poured out through his Son, and which, in the power of his Holy Spirit, we live. My prayer is that when our graduates arrive in parishes, they will be competent and wise, expressive and articulate, humble and joyous, and above all—loving, serving those for whom Christ died and for whom he now lives.
NALS Board of Regents
The NALS Board of Regents is a group of nine to 12 people who commit their time and talents to act as the governing body of the North American Lutheran Seminary. Among their numerous duties, the Board of Regents appoint, advise, and evaluate the president of the NALS and also determine the hiring of faculty members and staff persons.
Dr. M. Roy Schwarz is chair of the NALS Board of Regents and has served in that capacity for four years. His background is in medicine, and he has served as chair of the American Medical Association’s Board of Ethics. He was also one of the first pioneers for distance education for medical students and helped to restructure China’s education systems for medical students.
Ms. Donna Evans is a long-term veteran in the public relations/advertising industry. While serving as SVP and director of Burson-Marsteller’s Pittsburgh Public Affairs practice, she earned multiple industry awards for her domestic and international work. Ms. Evans retired from the PR business to raise her children and currently serves her congregation as its Director of Family Ministry. She served on the founding board of the NALS and is currently serving her second term as Board of Regents vice-chair. “Preparing faithful teachers, pastors and theologians is of paramount importance to me—both for the future of the NALC and for my children.”
The Rev. Dr. Jeffray Greene is the secretary of the NALS Board of Regents. He has been a Lutheran pastor for 20 years and currently lives in Georgia.
The Bishop Paull E. Spring served as a parish pastor in western Pennsylvania for 30 years. For 14 years, he served as a synodical bishop within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He was an active participant in the renewal movements of Solid Rock Lutherans and Lutheran CORE. In 2010, he was called to be the first bishop in the newly-formed North American Lutheran Church. Bishop Spring has been a member of the Board of Regents since the inception of the North American Lutheran Seminary. In his words, “My vision for the seminary is that we train future pastors to be committed leaders in confessing the biblical faith and in witnessing confidently the Word of God to all people.”
I’ve served Christ Jesus and His church, really my whole life, but as a “called” servant for over 30 years and as an ordained pastor for over a decade. My husband for 35+ years is a clergy person also, and we have four grown children. I passionately hope that all God’s people live hearing the Holy Spirit’s call to ministry in daily life and knowing their part in Jesus’ body. I so desire to train competent and confident servants for Jesus’ Gospel ministry in our present time, multiplying God’s army of workers. That’s why I love the NALS and serving on its board!
The Rev. Dr. Cathi Braasch has been a member of the NALS Board of Regents for five years. She is a Lutheran pastor who has studied catechesis and spiritual formation.
The Rev. Phillip Gagnon has been a member of the NALS Board of Regents since 2015. He is a Lutheran pastor serving in Canada.
I was born and raised just outside Cape Town – South Africa. I am the oldest of two children. I spent my 12 years at school being educated in my mother tongue which is Afrikaans. After completing school in Cape Town, I left the protection of my parents’ home and moved about a 1000 miles and went to study theology at the University of Natal – Pietermaritzburg Campus.
During my time of study, I met my wife Heidi, who was also studying to become a pastor, and we got married in October 1992 and have since been blessed with 3 wonderful children, Angelique, Nadia, and Michael who is a USA citizen.
I started preparing for the ministry in 1989, and graduated in 1995, and was ordained in 1998, after two and a half years of intense practical work/ internship. Of which I spent one year (1997) in the USA- both in Pontiac and Dubuque Iowa Wartburg Theological Seminary.
After my return to South Africa I was charged with a two point parish on the East Coast side of the country, by the names of King Williams Town and Komga. These two congregations were about 40 miles apart.
At the end of 1999 I was asked by First Lutheran church if I would be interested in serving a Lutheran congregation in the USA, and in particular at First Lutheran. After careful, and prayerful consideration we made the choice to relocate the family to Pontiac.
It was a long and tedious road before we could get here because of the bureaucracy of the INS, and the need of having a Green Card visa, in order to become a rostered pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
We eventually arrived in Pontiac, November 28, 2000. I served at First Lutheran as associate minister until April 2008, At the end of April 2008 I was elected as Senior Pastor of First Lutheran Church and served First Lutheran till August 2013. While in the ELCA and in particular in Central Southern Illinois Synod I serve the larger church as chair of the global mission committee and also on the synod wide youth committee.
On September 2013 I started a new call to Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, I was elected to the Board of Regents and it has been a blessed experience servicing the larger church in this capacity.
In His Service
Dieter W. Punt
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Rev. Dr. Maurice Lee
Interim Director of Recruitment and Partnerships
The Rev. Dr. Maurice Lee has worked as an adjunct professor for the NALS for three years. In the past year, he has joined the administrative staff as interim director of recruitment and partnerships, working primarily on relationships between the NALS and various undergraduate institutions that are designed to save potential students both time and money on both their undergraduate and graduate education.
Ms. Shannon Ames
Administrative Assistant to the NALS President
Ms. Shannon Ames joins the NALS administrative staff with seven years of administrative experience. She works primarily with the financial side of the NALS office and also oversees our social media presence.
Ms. Marisa Crofts
Administrative Assistant to the NALS President
Ms. Marisa Crofts has worked as an administrative assistant to the NALS president for three years. She works primarily in communications for the NALS and also handles the NALS Board of Regents requirements.