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Pastor Aaron DeBenedetto, Pastor and School Administrator

Pastor Aaron is a passionate believer in Jesus Christ and enjoys preaching and teaching.  His specialty is caring for people in the church and the families and children of our school. Originally from Wisconsin he not only is a Green Bay Packers fan, but also has previous experience in camping ministries.  His degrees are from University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point (BS) and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina (MDiv).  His other main priority in life is being a great husband and father to his family. E-mail

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Angie Williams, Administrative Assistant

Angie joined the staff in October 2012.  She was born and raised here in Virginia Beach.  She has a human resource background and many years of administrative assistant experience.  She always has a big smile on her face and is great at greeting people in person or over the phone.  Stop by to meet the face of the Emmanuel congregation! E-mail

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Shannon Tate, Director of Emmanuel Lutheran School (ELS)

Shannon has been Director of Emmanuel Lutheran School since 2009.  She originally joined the school staff as a teacher in the two-year-old room in 2004.  She holds a Bachelor's degree in early childhood psychology and earned her NK-5 teaching certificate in 1996.  Her career has been focused on preschool education.  Her experience, smile, and laugh is an asset to Christ's ministry at Emmanuel. E-mail

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Carrie Nell Backus, Director of Worship and Music

Carrie has a passion for worship and seeing music as worship. She loves all the people she works with and strives that they grow in their relationship with God through music. A former Marine Band member and instructor she keeps us all in shape...with a smile. E-mail
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Mike Tate, Director of Youth and Christian Education

Mike is a fabulous guy who loves God and loves helping others grow in their relationship with God and others. He's always around helping out. Rumor has it that he has a cot in his office. A graduate of Christopher Newport University, he's a local boy with tons of heart. E-mail

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Randy Sturm, Sexton (Janitorial)

"Mr. Randy" joined Emmanuel's staff in 2011 and continues to be a favorite of the school children.  His smile and positive attitude are contagious.  Originally from Pennsylvania, he's a Steelers fan and a very good man of God.  Rumor is that he loves playing Rudolph when Santa comes to visit the ELS children around Christmas time.

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BJ Atkinson, Accompanist

BJ is not only an accomplished pianist and organist, but also a composer and former opera singer. Her lively technique and bright smile brings a shine to worship.

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Linda Vogl, Bulletin Coordinator

Linda and her husband, Robert (who is a Lutheran Minister) are originally from Chicago, Illinois. They also lived in Orlando, Florida, Virginia Beach, Virginia, and most recently Staten Island, New York, before moving back to Virginia. She enjoys paper crafting, reading and spending quality time with her family and miniature Schnauzer, Nicky. Linda admits she tends to be on the quiet side until becoming more comfortable with her surroundings and then her dry/weird sense of humor is revealed.