Pastor Steve grew up in northern Iowa cheering for the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Vikings! He is a native Iowan who went to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was a History major and then on to Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, where he studied to be a Pastor. After serving Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar, Minnesota and Faith Lutheran Church in Clive, Iowa, Steve and Patti moved out to Scottsdale with their family to serve the Lord at New Covenant Lutheran Church. Pastor Steve loves reading, cooking and traveling. He and Patti have three adult children, two of whom are married: Meredith (Seth), Katelyn (Stephen) and Peter. Steve and Patti take GREAT JOY in their five grandchildren: Lila, Wynne, Sidney, Maeve and Sandy.
Patti Kruse, known by many as Ms. Patti, has worked at New Covenant Lutheran Church for 23 years in the Worship and Music Ministries and is currently the Director of the New Covenant Arts Academy. She is married to Pastor Steve and they have two married daughters, Meredith (married to Seth with a four children, Wynne, Sidney, Sandy and Nell) and Katelyn, (married to Stephen with two daughters, Lila and Maeve) and one son, Peter. Patti began taking piano lessons when she was seven and studied at the Joliet Conservatory of Music for 11 years as well as while she was a student at St. Olaf College for 4 years. She has taught piano for 37 years and loves teaching children and young adults how to play the piano and sing with great joy! Her love for God shines through her work in everything she does – from conducting choir musicals to building relationships with people. Her other interests include running, hiking, baking, reading and traveling to see family and friends. Seeking a healthy lifestyle of prayer, worship, exercise, rest and good nutrition describes Patti well – although she absolutely loves M & M’s!
Dana Engstrom completed her degree in Psychology, Business and Spanish at ASU and quickly moved into a position in education management. After getting married and becoming a mom, she was blessed to be able to stay home with her children while they were tiny. Once her children were all in preschool, she jumped at the chance to teach Spanish at New Covenant! It was so much fun to reach all these bright little minds and hearts each day. Following these years of teaching, she was given the opportunity to move back into a management position as the Director of her favorite school of all time!
New Covenant holds a very special place in her heart, as all 4 of her children attended here from the time they were 3 years old. She is so grateful for the beautiful little smiles and hugs that she is greeted by each day and truly feels so blessed to be surrounded by such immense love and joy.
When she is not at school, you will see her at one of the many events or games that she attends weekly for her own children who are enrolled at multiple schools in the area. Dana has such appreciation for the gift that God has given her to be able to positively impact the lives of so many families within the community. She is honored to work with such an amazing teaching team that loves every student and family here and prays every day that we are all able to do God’s good work and follow His lead in our every action.
Alex Duarte and his wife, Annie are so excited to be joining the New Covenant family. We have been in Lutheran ministry together for nearly ten years and now our daughter Francis (2) and son Juniper (5 months) are along for the adventure of what it means to follow Jesus and walk with others as they explore who he is as they develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. After graduating from Concordia University Portland, we served a Lutheran church in Sydney, Australia until returning to the states in 2021. We are passionate about worship music, discipleship, and seeing the next generation of believers grow vibrant relationships with Jesus. We love good coffee and old music and would love to get to know you more!
Brianna Andrews was born and raised in north Phoenix. She is married to Erik and has two kiddos, Easton (3) and Sawyer who will be a year old in September. Brianna graduated from Arizona State University and has worked as a nurse for the last 7 years. She is now taking this time to work for the church and change the pace in this season with young children. She enjoys spending time with her family and two dachshunds, Stella and Charlie.
Amy Birchard and her family moved to Scottsdale from the Bay Area in 2016. Amy holds a BA in Communication Studies from San Jose State University and an MBA with an emphasis in Accounting from UOP. Her last corporate role was at Apple computers in Cupertino working as an Analyst for the WorldWide Financial Planning & Analysis Team. Amy left corporate America to become a Momma and has since enjoyed working part-time for the church and other small businesses both here in Arizona and the Bay Area. Amy enjoys spending time with her husband, 2 boys and 2 puppies. She also enjoys reading, taking naps and anything Disney.