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Senior Pastor

Pastor Chris has a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. He was ordained in 2005 and has been serving as a pastor in various locations ever since. Pastor Chris’ areas of expertise include preaching, worship leadership, small group ministry, spiritual formation, counseling, social work, and youth and family ministry.


Pastor Erik Thone

Associate Pastor

Pastor Erik is a graduate from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and Gustavus Adolophus College. He was recently ordained and is excited to serve South Canyon as Associate Pastor. Erik is passionate about preaching, worship, and community formation. He believes the church is called to be a space where God forms community for the community.


Linda Black

Pastoral Care Coordinator

Linda and her husband Joel moved to Rapid City from St. Paul, Mn in the fall of 2014.  Linda had spent 20 plus years working with children as a preschool teacher and director and then, after completing seminary in 1998, as Director of Children and Family Ministries.  She joined the staff at South Canyon in June.  Linda also sings in choir and enjoys hiking and biking in the Black Hills.  Linda and Joel have two adult children living in St. Paul.


Small Group & Ministry Coordinator

Lynne joined South Canyon Lutheran's staff in August of 2017. She serves as the Small Groups and Ministries Coordinator. Lynn feels very blessed to work with such a great group of people.


Lori Brey

Nursery Attendant

Lori has been South Canyon’s nursery attendant for over 22 years. She is married to Tom and they have three children, two of which currently serve in the military. During the work week, Lori runs an in-home daycare center, and she is well known as the “baby whisperer.”



Outreach Coordinator

Deanna Darr spent more than 20 years as a newspaper editor, in addition to stints at local nonprofit organizations and as youth director at South Canyon. She rejoined the staff in 2014. Deanna also serves as director of Kids Against Hunger in Rapid City. She and her husband, Les Wermers, have three grown children and two grandchildren.


Cindy Dressler

Friend-Ship Preschool Director

Cindy has been the director and teacher of Friend-Ship Preschool for 16 years, and a teacher in Rapid City for 20 years. She received her degree in Elementary Education and a Paralegal degree from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT. Cindy is a certified SD teacher, specializing in early education. She also has training in the Love & Logic parenting program. Cindy is married to Todd and they have five children and two grandchildren.


Emanuel Herrera

Youth Director

Emanuel is from Mexico City. He earned a Bachelor in Administration with a Minor in International Business from University of the Valley of Mexico. Before joining South Canyon as Youth Director, Emanuel spent three summers working as a counselor at Outlaw Ranch. Emanuel is passionate about teaching and guiding young people in their walk with Jesus. In his “spare time” he is also a Level 1 Crossfit Trainer at Rushmore Crossfit in Rapid City.

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Ellie Hinseth


Ellie joined the South Canyon Lutheran Church staff in May of 2014 with 40 year experience in bookkeeping. She and her husband, Rich, enjoy golf, and the company of their two dogs, Jake and Charlie.


Kim Horsley

Assistant Secretary

Kim has worked at South Canyon Lutheran as a secretary and previously the custodian for eight years. She has been married to her husband Bob for over 30 years, and they are parents to five children and grandparents to two granddaughters.


Linda Jensen

Kitchen Coordinator

I am so grateful to be serving the Lord and his people here at South Canyon Lutheran Church. It is a blessing to work with the staff, the volunteers, and the servers each week.


Office Manager

Tristan came on board as Office Manager in January, 2017. She is passionate about being part of a team, and feels beyond blessed to work alongside the wonderful people at South Canyon Lutheran Church.

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Ellen Shirley

Music Director

Ellen Shirley joined South Canyon in 2016 with her husband Tim and sons, John and Brian. Ellen has served as music director at churches in Iowa and Ohio and has taught college in California, Texas and Iowa. Ellen stitches hardanger ornaments for the Chapel in the Hills gift shop and plays flute in the Rapid City Municipal Band.


Kristi Wellendorf

Childhood /Adult Education Director

Kristi has been with South Canyon Lutheran church since the summer of 2001 as the education director and now as the children's ministry director.  Kristi and her husband, Brad, have two children. Kristi loves working with children and their parents spreading the love of God.