Meet Our Staff

Reverend Doctor Scott Kenefake

Transitional Pastor
Phone: (651) 223-7542

Rev. Dr. Scott M. Kenefake is a Kansas City native (Overland Park) and has been an ordained Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church USA for more than 35 years.  He is a graduate of the University of Kansas (B.A., Government/History,), Washburn University School of Law (J.D., Public Interest), San Francisco Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (D. Min.).  He has served as an installed pastor in several congregations around the country (Rome, Georgia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Albany, New York; and Appleton, Wisconsin), as an exchange pastor in Ayr, Scotland, as a Hospital/Hospice Chaplain (Topeka, Kansas), and as an Interim/Transitional Head of Staff (New York, New York; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Bloomington, Indiana). He and his wife, Gail, have been married for 38 years and have two adult children: Mary Elizabeth, who lives in London, and William (spouse, Anna) who live in Kansas City, Missouri (Brookside).  Dr. Kenefake enjoys reading, listening to NPR, watching PBS, playing tennis, trying new restaurants, travel, all genres of music and the arts, and walking his dogs, Bindi and Pip.

Reverend Doctor Julia A. Carlson

Senior Associate Pastor for Spiritual Life and Care
Phone: (651) 223-7553

Reverend Dr. Julia Carlson is the Associate Pastor for Spiritual Life and Care. She previously served as a spiritual care counselor at Hazelden Treatment Center in Center City, Minnesota. Since her ordination in January of 2000, she has served as interim pastor and interim associate pastor at several churches in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and completed a chaplain residency at Fairview Hospitals and Clinics. Her many continuing education studies have included workshops in grief care, in leadership in times of anxiety, as well as the requisite interim ministry training. Of her work in congregational care, Julia says, “I have presence: an open heart, a curious and lively mind, and ears to hear. I honed the presence of deep listening here, expanded my vocabulary for God and Spirit, and take part in the healing of souls.”

Aaron David Miller

Director of Music / Organist
Phone: (651) 223-7550

Aaron David Miller is a renowned organ improviser having won numerous international awards and given concerts across the country.  Dr. Miller’s performances have been heard on Pipe Dreams and numerous television programs.  His orchestra works have been performed by such ensembles as the Seattle Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Zurich Symphony, and numerous new music ensembles.  His organ, choral and orchestra compositions are published by Augsburg Fortress, Paraclete Publishing, Morningstar Publications, and Oxford University Press.  Dr. Miller was the featured artist at the National AGO convention held in Houston, TX of 2016.  In addition to many performance prizes, Dr. Miller was recipient of the 2004 Hellenikon Idyllion Prize for Composition, Athens, Greece.

Matthew Culloton

Choir Director
Phone: (651) 223-7543

Dr. Matthew Culloton is the Choirmaster at House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. He is also the Founding Artistic Director of The Singers, a 40-voice professional choir based in the Twin Cities. He holds degrees from Concordia College (B.M.) and the University of Minnesota (M.M. & D.M.A.).  As a composer, Matthew has been commissioned to compose for the Dale Warland Singers, Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, the MMEA All-State Choir, and numerous school, community, and professional ensembles. He is editor of the “Christmas with The Singers Choral Series” published by MorningStar Music Publishers and co-editor of the “Matthew and Michael Culloton Choral Series” with Santa Barbara Publishing Company.  Matthew is a classical music producer, with credits on recordings by The Singers, the National Lutheran Choir, the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, and The Concordia Choir (Moorhead, MN).

Sofia Ardalan

Choir School Director
Phone: (651) 223-7548

Sofia Ardalan, Director, The House of Hope Choir School, conducts the ensembles of The Choir School, our unique music education program for singers ages 4-18. Under her leadership, the Choir School sings weekly in worship, and has performed several large choral works with professional orchestra including Vivaldi’s Gloria, Galuppi’s Dixit Dominus and Cantata BWV 4 by JS Bach.  Ms. Ardalan is a highly sought after vocal instructor and clinician, leading masterclasses and judging competitions around the state. A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Ms. Ardalan is dedicated to guiding all to find their true voice!​

David Johnson


Dave Johnson was appointed carillonneur in 1993. He is active in The Guild of Carillonneurs in North America and has performed recitals throughout the United States. He was an elected member of The Guild’s board of directors from 1999 to 2005, was again elected in 2010, has served on various committees, was its recording secretary for ten years, and in June 2010 was elected its president. Dave received his B.A. from Hamline University, M.A. from Stanford University and Ph.D. in American Intellectual History from the University of Kansas. He is the author of two histories of Hamline, a 150th anniversary history of House of Hope and a 50th anniversary history of Presbyterian Homes and Services of Minnesota.  He taught history at Kansas Wesleyan University, the University of Kansas and Pacific Lutheran University.

Tim Short

Music Associate

Tim Short joined the House of Hope staff as Music Associate in 2018.  He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from  Mount Union University, and a Master of Music degree in organ performance from Drake University where he was a Graduate Fellow.  A longtime musician and educator, he assists with the Choir School program, and he has a specific interest in the use of handbells for the enrichment of worship through musical offerings,  as accompaniment to hymns or sung liturgy, and as a musical complement to prayer.  He enjoys the creative and experimentational process of combining bell ringing with other instruments or voices.

Kiera Stegall

Director of Children and Family Ministry
Phone: (651) 223-7547

Kiera Stegall has served children and families in a variety of teaching and ministry roles since 2003. She joined the House of Hope staff in 2017. Kiera holds a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries, Bible, and Children’s Ministries. She is pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry in Theology and the Arts at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Kiera enjoys exploring Scripture with children via storytelling, theatre, and visual arts. Believing justice stems from our faith, Kiera seeks opportunities to involve children in using their voice and actions in pursuit of social change. As a local children’s theatre teaching artist, Kiera enjoys theatrical performances with her child, Ash, and partner, Jon.

Elsa Kendig

Director of Youth and Family Ministry
Phone: (651) 223-7549

Elsa Kendig is a third generation Presbyterian through the Mexican side of her family and a Ruling Elder who has worked in youth ministry for over 15 years. A graduate of St. Olaf College with a dual degree in social studies education and history, Elsa believes strongly in the power of how we tell the stories of our history and our faith. Engaging youth with playfulness, joy, and a deep respect for their growing wisdom, insights, and questions, Elsa looks forward to the ways the youth program can grow in the coming years by adults of the church helping youth faithfully engage the real issues of today. Alongside her service to the wider denomination through presbytery-level service, in her free time, Elsa enjoys mountain and commuter biking, a good road trip, and used book stores. 

Michelle Freyholtz

Director of Administration

David Goudzwaard-Vaught

Executive Assistant for Pastors and Programs

Malinda Johnson

Lead Communications Coordinator

Ellen Lewandoski

Administrative Assistant

Mark Schwister

Administrative Assistant

Jim Brzezinski

Facilities Manager

Shelley Baumgart

Facility Lead

Julie Stanley

Facility Staff

Michelle Theisen

Facility Staff