Pastor Leon LaCross

Leon LaCross was born in Gaithersburg, Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C.  He grew up in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) however transferred into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) when he began to sense his call to ministry.  Leon spent most of his life in Maryland, going to the University of Maryland, College Park and then eventually starting his first career promoting energy efficiency for businesses.

Ignoring his call to ministry for several years, he finally began seminary at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran University (PLTS of CLU) in Berkeley, California.  He resided in the Bay Area for three years while completing the academic portion of his Master of Divinity degree in conjunction with the larger Graduate Theological Union.  Upon entering seminary, he also became active in the Proclaim community of LGBTQ+ seminarians and clergy as part of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries (ELM), winning the Joel R. Workin scholarship.

Leon then moved to Los Angeles, California to complete his internship year within a congregation in Santa Monica, until COVID-19 shut things down.  Leon finished his internship year remotely and started working as a hospital chaplain in 2020 where he spent a year as a chaplain resident at UCLA Medical Center amidst the global pandemic.

After completing his residency, he moved to Portland, Oregon where he was called to be pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church. 

Aside from church related things, Leon enjoys getting the most out of his Netflix subscription, crocheting, exploring the great outdoors, and discovering all that Portland has to offer.

David Tafone,

Director of Music

David grew up in Long Island, NY and studied at SUNY Purchase and the New England Conservatory of Music for both his Bachelors and Masters degrees respectively. At the New England Conservatory of Music he studied with the world renowned distinguished professor of voice Ms. Carole Haber who is also the first endowed chair of the voice faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and has been teaching there for over 30 years. While at SUNY Purchase, he performed in three operas and studied with the head of the voice and opera department, internationally renowned tenor, Jacque Trussel as well as Baritone Thomas Goodheart who currently teaches voice at SUNY Binghamton. 

He began his masters at the Jacobs school of music at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.  He studied there under the tutelage of internationally renowned pedagogue Dr. Dale Moore who during his career also served as a voice professor at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and served as President of NATS between 1988-1991. At the New England Conservatory of Music David sang five operas in two years – all leading baritone roles. He is a classically trained pianist as well, having studied with New York pianist Virgil Barkauskas and is a self taught harpist. During his education he served as a musician at First Baptist Church in Newton, Massachusetts. His studies at both SUNY Purchase and the New England Conservatory of Music were on half scholarship for the duration of his years attended. Currently, David lives in the Portland suburb of Hillsboro, Oregon. He teaches music lessons privately for voice, piano and harp and he is a long time flight attendant for Alaska Airlines. David is excited to join Bethel Lutheran Church as the new music director!

David is going to moving on from Bethel as he pursues a career change. We will miss his wonderful music and wish the best for him on his new endeavors.

If you know someone who may be interested to join Bethel as the music director please follow the link

Kerry Czuba,

Office and Communication Coordinator

Kerry Czuba is Bethel’s Office and Communication Coordinator since 2022. She has been primarily a mom with stints as an administrative assistant. She loves to bring people together and work for the betterment of the community.

She lives with her husband, 2 grown kids, chickens and a dog in North Portland.