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.

Shlomo Farber,

Director of Music

Shlomo was born in Israel and relocated to the Portland/Vancouver area to be close to family. With passion for jazz, classical music, folk tunes, and film music, Shlomo earned degrees in piano performance, composition, and Cinematic orchestration. A former member of the Portland Symphonic Choir, Shlomo won their competition for choral music composition in 2018. As a multi-disciplinary musician, Shlomo has played
in various jazz ensembles in the Portland area and is pursuing a career as a film composer.

Maintaining a teaching studio, Shlomo works with students of all ages and has developed learning games for his students. Shlomo’s music has been performed by various orchestral and choral ensembles including the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. He was chosen by the Washington State Music Teacher Association as the commissioned composer of the year for 2022 and was a finalist auditioning as a music arranger for the United States Army Band, Pershing’s Own. Shlomo has recently joined Oregon’s National Guard band and is a recent graduate of the U.S. Army school of music.

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, and a dog in North Portland. Her Interests include hiking, biking, walking, and a passion for traveling, oh and food.

Marie Houk,

Summer Youth Program Director

Check out my bio in the Summer Youth Program Page.