The Rev. Jason Churchill (he/him/his)
The Rev. Jason Churchill, St. Luke Lutheran Church’s Senior Pastor, is a 2016 graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago where he received a Master of Divinity with special emphases in Jewish/Christian Dialogue and Biblical Studies. Reverend Churchill also serves as the Lutheran Campus Chaplain for Cornell University and Ithaca College’s Protestant Chaplain to the community. He also serves as the Upstate New York Synod Bishop’s Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer.
Originally from the Chicagoland area, Pastor Churchill attended Elmhurst College, in Elmhurst Illinois, where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Geography in 2003. Before attending seminary, he worked in political campaigning and sales and eventually in higher education.
Currently he is working on a doctorate at United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia exploring the intersection of gender and queerness in extracanonical texts and the first century CE. Of his three focus texts, A Thunder; Perfect Mind is by far his favorite.
In 2016 Pastor Churchill was ordained to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s ministry of Word and Sacrament and called to serve St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Wilmington, Delaware. At St. Stephen’s, the foremost ministry focus is feeding the hungry through the largest volume food pantry in the State of Delaware, and by addressing the systemic causes of hunger in the city and county. St. Stephen’s, under the leadership of Pastor Churchill, has engaged the community through hosting community art galleries, a robust concert series, and citywide vigils to address the injustices that affect the most vulnerable in the community. In addition to serving St. Stephen’s, he also served the Delaware-Maryland Synod as the Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer.
In 2021, Pastor Churchill was called to St. Luke Lutheran Church in Ithaca as their senior pastor. Additionally, he also serves as Cornell University and Ithaca College’s Campus Chaplain. Most recently Pastor Jason was invited to step into the role as the Upstate New York Synod’s Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer.
Pastor Churchill and his husband Craig Larimer were married in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood in 2013, about two years after meeting. Living in Cortland NY near SUNY Cortland, they enjoy spending time outside gardening. Both are dedicated to native plantings and restoration of wildlife habitats, even in their small semi-urban yard. Together they enjoy art shows, musicals, concerts, and exploring the many waterfalls and trails in Ithaca and Cortland. Pastor Churchill enjoys cooking, reading, BBC comedies, and some science fiction. Together with his husband, he is an animal lover and has both dogs and cats.
Erik Kibelsbeck (he/him/his)
Erik Kibelsbeck has been the music director at St. Luke since 2003. Leadership of the assembly’s song is his primary role; the parts of that include planning the music, rehearsing and conducting the choir, and playing the organ (and occasionally piano).
In 2023, he added the roles of administrative manager to become a full-time employee at St. Luke, serving as administrative assistant and building manager for daily operations.
He has also been the music director of the Onondaga Civic Symphony Orchestra in Syracuse since 2001, leading 4-5 concerts per season. A favorite moment with the orchestra was the Reformation 500 concert when the players came to St. Luke to present Bach and Mendelssohn.
From 2001-2022 he worked at the Ithaca College School of Music, mainly as Manager of Concerts and Facilities.