Pastor & Staff
Rev. Dr. Scott E. Olson
Phone: 507-345-4248 x 202
Dr. Olson accepted the call to be pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in August 2010. Prior to that, he served the congregations of Central Lutheran Church, Winona, MN (2000-10) and St. Paul Lutheran Church, Chatsworth, IL (1996-2000).
Olson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College, a Master of Divinity from Gettysburg (PA) Lutheran Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry in Congregational Mission and Leadership from Luther Seminary (St. Paul). The subject of Dr. Olson’s thesis involved identifying and engaging missional church leadership for the Southeastern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA.
Dr. Olson is Co-Convener of the Mankato Area Ministerial Association (MAMA) and serves on the boards of Ecumen Pathstone Living, Crossroads Lutheran Campus Ministry, and Pastor 2 Pastor.
Preceding the call to ordained ministry, Olson worked in retail management, beginning in over the counter fabrics and eventually specializing in custom window treatments. As a layperson, he served several churches in various leadership capacities. These experiences, including his own faith struggles as a young adult, that provide a lens for parish ministry. Olson continues to be amazed at how God constantly and graciously meets us where we are in our journeys of faith.
Olson is married and, with his wife, Cindy, has two adult daughters who are both teachers. In addition to being a parish pastor, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading murder mysteries, playing golf, and doing crossword puzzles.
Grace Lutheran Church Staff
Minister for Discipleship and Faith Formation
Phone: 507-345-4248 x 207
John Odegard grew up in St. James, MN. He was a carpenter for 10 years before changing careers to join Grace Lutheran Church as Minister for Discipleship and Faith Formation in June of 2014. John’s work as a carpenter has taught him the importance of Christian values in the workplace. He also learned that when you love something, you will always have more time for it, which is what led him to a career in ministry.
John lives Mankato, MN with his wife, Jenna and their two daughters. He enjoys camping, canoeing, fishing, photography, and riding his scooter among other hobbies. One of his greatest passions is spending time with youth and helping them develop a strong personal identity in Christ. He especially enjoys the time he spends leading mission trips and retreats. Getting to know new people and learning about their lives brings a lot of joy to John’s work at Grace.
Phone: 507-345-4248 x 203
Rich grew up on a farm northeast of Mountain Lake, MN. He graduated from Mankato State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. For over 34 years he and his wife owned and operated ServiceMaster of Mankato and Waseca, a professional cleaning company. Prior to coming to Grace in July, 2014, Rich worked at another church in the Mankato area as their Financial Administrator.
Rich and Fay have been married for over 47 years and have two children. Stan, his wife, Handan, son, Tanner and daughter, Sema live in Woodbury, MN. Stan is a lab technologist at Regions Hospital in St Paul and Handan recently received her nursing degree and works at a nursing home. Lana and her husband, Dave, currently live in Greenwood, ME, after living the past 18 years in Alaska. Dave manages a ski area and Lana is in charge of the food and beverage service for the ski area.
With a daughter living in Alaska Rich and Fay have made numerous trips to Alaska and have been involved in missions work with the native Alaskan people in some of the bush villages. A trip to Netherlands, Germany, Turkey and Greece in 2013 was a highlight in their travels. That trip included a tour of the Travels of the Apostle Paul in Turkey and Greece. Rich also enjoys alpine skiing and has served on the Mount Kato Ski Patrol for 25 years and has worked with the Mankato Area Adaptive Ski Program since it started in 2000.
Phone: 507-345-4248 x 201
Born in Albert Lea, MN, Joan grew up in Albert Lea and St. Louis Park, MN. As a teen her family relocated to Long Island, NY where she graduated from Hicksville High School. She Returned to Minnesota to attend St. Cloud State University for two years and then married. She is now divorced, but enjoys spending time with family.
Joan loves animals! She has an Italian Greyhound and her friends often ask her to look after their cats while they are away. In 2005, Joan earned a B.S. in English with a focus in Technical Communications and a B.S. in Psychology with a focus in Organizational Psychology from Minnesota State University, Mankato. When she has alone time, you will usually find her glued to a book, TV, or computer game. When she gathers with friends, her current game favorite is Quiddler.
Although Joan was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church, she is currently a member of the local Episcopalian Church. She sings in the church choir, is a Lector and a Lay Eucharistic Minister, assists with the local Pride Fest, and promotes Fair Trade. In July of 2015, Joan began working at Grace Lutheran Church as an Office Specialist.
Worship Coordinator, Organist, Choir Director - Voices of Grace, and Children's Music Leader
Worship Technology Coordinator
Jason is a graduate of Augustana College (now Augustana University) in Sioux Falls, SD and of Minnesota State University, Mankato. He's been the guy who "knows computers" for decades and has been overseeing Grace's worship technology and presentation since 2007. He is a former president of the Grace church council, is the current chair of the Worship and Music committee, and enjoys assisting with children's education and VBS on a regular basis. He lives in Mankato with his wife and three daughters.