Pilgrim Staff

Our staff guides, directs and supports our congregation in ministry, but the ministry of the church belongs to all of us.



The Rev. Dr. Karen Schuder began her service as Called Minister in October, 2016, following the retirement of Rev. Charlotte Frantz in January, 2015 and the Intentional Interim Ministership of Rev. Jennifer Amy-Dressler.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and Family Life from Montana State University, a Masters of Arts in Management from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, a Masters of Divinity from Luther Theological Seminary, and an Educational Doctorate in Leadership from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN. Her graduate work focused on professional development, ethics, organizational development, and cultural differences.  From August, 1998 through June, 2010 she served as pastor of Hillside United Methodist Church in Duluth. While working on her doctorate Pastor Karen has been helping numerous non-profit organizations and churches providing interim leadership, strategic planning, leadership development, and other consulting services.

Pastor Karen has worked hard over the years helping people whether it be coaching youth athletic teams or volunteering with non-profit organizations.  Organizations she has supported include CHUM, the Southern St. Louis County Council to Prevent Child Abuse, Community Action Duluth, Global Brigades, and Sociedad Amigos de los Ninos in Honduras.    Pastor Karen and her husband, Steven Schuder, D.V.M. of Duluth Veterinary Hospital, have three young adult children (Joshua, Caleb, and Sophia), one retired sled dog, and a shy cat.

If at any time you would like to meet with Pastor Karen or have a pastoral visit, you are welcome to email her (karens@pilgrimduluth.org) or call the church office at (218) 724-8503. If you have a pastoral emergency after church hours, please feel free to call her at home (218) 728-6205.

Music Staff

We are excited about our new music staff and hope you take the time to meet them!

Patrick Colvin, pianist, singer and educator, is Pilgrim’s Music Director and Choir Director.   Patrick grew up on the Iron Range, and studied music theory and composition at UMD.

Chandler Swift is Pilgrim’s organist and pianist. Originally from Glencoe, MN, he is a Computer Science major at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he studies organ with Dr. Justin Rubin. In addition to playing at Pilgrim, Chandler accompanies several choirs at UMD, and sings with Concert Chorale and Vocal Jazz.

Kristi Beaver is Pilgrim’s Children’s Music Director.  She has studied Theater, Music and Psychology at UMD, where she was a member of Vocal Jazz, the University Singers, and Concert Chorale.  Kristi is currently studying music education at UWS.

Administrative Staff

Mary Sopoci is Pilgrim’s Business Manager. She is a graduate of the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth and has worked in church administration for more than 25 years. Mary is responsible for maintaining financial records for the church and works closely with the church treasurer and the trustees. Mary schedules use of the building. marys@pilgrimduluth.org

Lorli Woitas is Pilgrim’s Administrative Assistant and coordinates office services, and serves as receptionist. She is a graduate of Oakland University, in Rochester, Michigan, and is an artist that works in multiple mediums, with a focus in graphic design and oil painting. She and her husband recently moved to Duluth from Michigan, where their two adult daughters still reside. Lorli can be reached at office@pilgrimduluth.org

Child Care Attendant

Annika Nielsen and various parent volunteers staff the Children’s Place on Sunday mornings and when needed during the week.  Annika is a certified babysitter (“American Red Cross Babysitting Basics”), and has previous experience assisting with Pilgrim’s Joyful Noise and the Pilgrim Nursery. Her hobbies include singing, drawing, tennis, writing, animals and reading.

Children and Family Ministries Coordinator

Mark Hakes was born in St. Paul, then moved to Iowa, and then back to Minnesota, but he did most of his growing up in Florida. He attended Stetson University in DeLand, FL and earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance with minors in History and German. After he graduated, he moved to Duluth and earned a master’s degree (also in voice) at UMD. When finished at UMD, he served as an AmeriCorps member at Men as Peacemakers for a year and joined the staff at Peace Church, where he worked as the Youth and Children’s Minister for 3 years. Mark can be reached at 218-724-5803 or email markh@pilgrimduluth.org.


Pilgrim is a volunteer organization and most of the work carried out by the congregation is done by members who give of their time and energy. Some members serve in leadership capacities and most members are involved in some phase of the congregation’s ministry. A Church Council, made up of members elected by the congregation, oversees and coordinates the work of the church. The staff offers resources, guidance and support in planning and implementing the work of the church.


In addition to our professional staff, Befrienders from our congregation are trained to offer a ministry of listening and encouragement for persons facing life transitions or crises. Their volunteer work is an important adjunct to the care extended by the rest of the staff. A new class of Befrienders is currently being recruited and will receive training in early summer. To contact a Befreinder, please contact the Pilgrim office.