Rev. Phil Fenton, Administrative/Senior Pastor
My wife Carol and I have been married for 44 years and have 3 grown children who live and work in Houston, Texas, Los Angeles, California, and Kansas City, Kansas. I was born in Longview, Texas and was educated at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas (BS in Psychology), and Luther Theological Seminary in St.Paul,Minnesota (Master of Divinity). I am now in my 38th year of ministry, having served parishes in Fairview, Montana, Rollag, Minnesota, Tyler, Texas, and Longview, TX. I enjoy saltwater fishing, cooking, travel and golf.
A Scripture passage that inspires me, defines me and compels me: Matthew 25:38-40
‘When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply,’I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did for me.’
Life Convictions: “The only important things we do are those things we do for others.” – and –
“The Church of Jesus Christ exists for one reason only: to give its life away for the neighbor in need.”
Rev. Briana Merkle, Associate Pastor
Hello there, I go by Pr. Bri and am serving at St. Paul’s in my first role as a pastor, having recently graduated from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. I moved to Texas along with my husband Kyle who serves as pastor as St. John Lutheran Church Prairie Hill. We just got married in Tacoma, WA where I grew up. And we are so excited to get settled into our lives together and our jobs here in Brenham, TX.
The last few years I’ve found myself drawn into looking at my own faith development. One of my mantras has become “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46.10). I love to be active and busy doing things, yet my faith helps me to find the peace, awareness and gratitude in life that can only come from God. As a pastor, I am excited to work on discovering this renewal from God in the church and in our own lives.
“Seek the welfare of the community where I have sent you, and pray on its behalf, for in its welfare you will also find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29.7
Director of Music Ministries and Artist in Residence, Erich L. Knapp
I was raised in a Christian home in which participation in worship, Christian education and the church music program was expected. I have striven to never separate my life of faith from my employment, but to do everything to the glory of God.
I am blessed with a very successful and varied career in music as an organist, recitalist, choir director, composer, and educator in public school, university and church work settings. My degrees include a MM in choral conducting with organ as my primary instrument, and a nearly completed a DMA in choral conducting with organ as my primary instrument.
I am very mindful of the pastoral dimension of my position. I believe that in order to be effective in a call at St. Paul’s I must be a minister first and a musician second.
Life verse: “I will never leave you or desert you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Christian Day School Director, Sherrie Winkelmann
I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Texas A&M University, taught five years in the public school system, and have been director of St. Paul’s Christian Day School for 29 years. My husband, Rob, and I are both Brenham natives and have been married 35 years. We are faithful members of St. Paul’s, and are blessed with three daughters; Jill, her husband, Josh; their children Isabelle and Luke; Jodi, her husband, Daniel; their children, Grace, Wyatt, and Annie; and Jan and her husband, Mark. We enjoy family time at the farm, Aggie sports, and traveling. I also love to read! Family ministry is my passion, and I love my job!
A Favorite Bible Verse: “All things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1: 16-17
Church Secretary, Janie Blum
I was born and raised in Austin, Texas, graduating from A. N. McCallum HS in May of 1968. I attended Blinn College where I met my husband Wayne, who is a Brenham native. We were married August 15, 1970, in my home church in Dripping Springs, Texas. After two years in Waco and four years in Mesquite we moved to Brenham in May of 1976, we became members of St. Paul’s on August 15, 1976. Our daughter Sarah was born on our 14th wedding anniversary. I have been on staff at St. Paul’s as Administrative Assistant since May of 1999, Wayne has been employed at the LaRoche Dealership since May, 1976. Wayne and I love family time spent with Sarah and our granddaughter Emily. We enjoy traveling and being outdoors.
Financial Secretary, Rhonda Weynand
I was born and raised in Victoria, Texas and grew in my Christian faith at Trinity Lutheran church in Victoria. I graduated from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos with a BBA in Finance. I married my husband, David in 1984 and moved to Brenham in 1985 and joined St. Paul’s a year later. We baptized and confirmed our 4 children; Jessica, Jennifer, Trey and Kelsey at St. Paul’s. I have worked in various accounting positions, and then returned to college in 2001 to receive a teacher certification in Business Education. I taught Business Information Management and Accounting for 15 years at Brenham High School. My family and I enjoy all types of sports, fishing, boating, traveling, and playing games at all of our family gatherings.
Favorite verse: Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Director of Youth and Family Ministries, Alex Norden
I was born and raised in Houston, TX by parents who took an active role in growing my faith. As such we attended Advent Lutheran Church where I was extremely active in worship and the Christian Education programs offered. My love for Youth and Family Ministries started at a young age with the love and support of my family and my faith community.
I attended Texas Lutheran University where I received my Bachelors in Theology. While attending Texas Lutheran I worked with the campus ministry program to grow ministries and took an active role in chapel. Also while attending Texas Lutheran I worked at a Lutheran Church in Seguin as the Children and Family Director.
My philosophy is that as faithful Christians we are always growing and learning. I am excited to begin my journey at St. Paul’s and to work with the children and their families.
Ministry verse: “Jesus, however, said, “Let the little children come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the kingdom from heaven belongs to people like these.”” Mark 10:14
Youth Ministry Associate, Julie Guiberteau
I was born and raised in Brenham, Texas. I was baptized, confirmed and married here at St. Paul’s. My husband Rick and I have a daughter, Sara. I graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and worked in the computer industry at NASA before moving back to Brenham. I am currently employed at Brenham Wholesale Grocery Co. as the Director of Programming. About 10 years ago, I felt a calling into the ministry. My passion is working with the youth and over the years have been fortunate to be a part of building our Youth and Family Ministry into what it is today. God continues to open doors for me and I am now blessed to be the Youth Ministry Associate here at St. Paul’s. God is Good!
Life Verse: “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good, not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Day School Extended Care Director, Tammie Robbins
I have been teaching & directing Extended Care here at St.Paul’s for 27 years, and I am looking forward to many more wonderful years here at St.Paul’s! I attended Blinn College for 2 year’s and I also have my Child Development Associate’s Degree for Early Childhood. I am certified with the State of Texas as a Day Care Administrator. I was born in Kansas, with most of my family living in Missouri. I have lived in Brenham since I was 4 years old. I was raised as a Brenhamite! My husband is James Robbins and he is employed at Dealers Electric here in Brenham. We have been married for 23 years. We have 2 boys, Shea (21) and Rhead (16). As a family we love to watch our boys play lots & lots of football & baseball, and we love to fish. My hobbies are family outing’s, photography and watching ‘I Love Lucy’.
Day School Secretary/Bookeeper, Sandi Schawe
I was born in Brenham but my family relocated to Bryan when I was about five years old. I attended Bryan public schools & graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School. After graduation, I attended McKenzie-Baldwin Business School. Upon completion of the courses, I began working at the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab. I attended Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and was confirmed by Pastor Carlton Ruch and Pastor Ron Birk.
I met my husband William and we were married at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in College Station by Pastor Robert Otterstad. This year we will be married 41 years and I will have been a member of St. Paul’s. We have two daughters – Amanda & Suzanne. Amanda is married to Corey Finke and Suzanne is married to Justin Flasowski. William & I have three precious grandchildren – Mason, Morgan and Parker are currently St. Paul’s CDS students.
I have always loved working with children. When my daughters were young, I taught Sunday School, VBS, Children of the Church, etc. Currently, I am a member of the Prayer Group and coordinate Cradle Roll mailings. I began with St. Paul’s CDS in August of 1989 and still love watching the children with their smiles and stories. They bring joy to my heart. Some of my hobbies include gardening and sewing – when time allows.
Favorite Verse: “This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Facilities Manager, Rocky Ullrich
I was born and raised in Carmine, Texas. My wife of 35 years, Stacy Ullrich works here in the St.Paul’s Christian Day School since it opened in 1984. Together we have two children. A daughter Reanna and a son Paden. My expertise has been horseshoeing for the last 36 years. I have been attending church here at St.Paul’s for 35 years, with both of my children being baptized and confirmed here. I enjoy bowling and being outdoors hunting and fishing.
Media Coordinator, Matt Bryan
Matt Bryan has assumed the responsibilities of Media Coordinator for St. Paul’s. Matt most recently served as the chaplain at Hospice Brazos Valley. He moved to Brenham from Waco, where he graduated with a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry from Truett Seminary at Baylor University. During his time at Truett, Matt served as an on-call chaplain for Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center. He also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry degree at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR. In his free time Matt enjoys whitewater kayaking, camping, working on his ranch, and chasing after his dog.