Mark Vinge, Senior Pastor
I have had the privilege of living in a variety of places: in Japan and Canada, as well as several states including North Dakota, California, Washington, Wisconsin and Minnesota. La Crosse, Wisconsin is where I finished high school and where my faith was shaped significantly through the ministry and life of St. Paul’s Lutheran church. After attending both UW-Madison and Concordia College, Moorhead I graduated in 1977 with a BA in Business Administration and Accounting. I worked for Lutheran Brotherhood for ten years in various capacities including my years at Luther Seminary. Since completing my MDiv in 1986 I have served calls in Bemidji, the Owatonna area, and in Minnetonka, before coming to House of Hope in 2006. I have a strong interest in Luther Studies and continue to strive to be a “theologian of the cross”. I met my wife Ronna, while we traveled on a summer gospel team. We like to say that we’ve been making beautiful music ever since. We have three children, Peter, Rachael and Mariel who enrich our lives every day. I like to run and play basketball, and I enjoy doing various projects around the house and occasional woodworking. Ronna and I love to travel when we have the opportunity; we love visiting with friends and family!
Gretchen Rode, Associate Pastor
After growing up in Northfield Minnesota, I left the land of Cows, Colleges, and Contentment for Vassar College in upstate New York. After graduation, with a degree in biology and Latin American studies, I traveled to Concepcion, Chile with an organization called WorldTeach. When I returned to the States, I pursued my love of teaching at two KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) charter schools in California, teaching 6th and 7th graders about the wonders of plate tectonics as well as the structure of DNA. I became very involved in University Lutheran Chapel of Berkeley and with that congregation, I led a delegation to our sister synod of El Salvador where I fell in love with church, advocacy, and the deep relationships that are grown through faith. I returned to the Bay Area to study at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and received my Master’s in Divinity in 2014. Along the way, I met my wife while we were both working as chaplains at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital and, subsequently, was the Vicar at Trinity Lutheran Church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I love salsa dancing, watching cooking competitions shows, reading young adult fiction, and going on long road trips. My wife, Jill, is a pastor at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church in St. Paul and we live happily with our pup, Petunia, in Minneapolis.
George Brooke, Director of Music
From the Quad Cities to the Twin Cities. George Brooke comes to us from Bettendorf, Iowa. He started out his career as a church musician in Rock Island,Illinois as he settled into the Quad Cities area. In his last church position he was organist, director of choirs and handbells and will be assuming those responsibilities with us as well. He was in that congregation for almost twenty years. He was also a teacher in the public school system in Moline during that tenure. George received his Bachelor of Music Education from Augustana College, Rock Island, with and emphasis in keyboard performance and church music. He also has a Master of Music degree from the University of Colorado and has also pursued advanced studies at other schools including Drake University. We are glad to have George and his wife, Linda, with us sharing life and faith and music.
Barbara Suckerman, Administrative Assistant
My husband John and I moved to the Twin Cities in 1974. I am a Wisconsin transplant (that’s right – a “cheesehead”) and John is from North Dakota (we met in Washington,D.C. – it’s an interesting story – ask me about it sometime!). We have three grown children, two married sons and a daughter, and two grandsons. We are active members at St.Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church inPlymouth where I sing in the Parish Choir. Before coming to House of Hope as Administrative Assistant in April of 2005 I was on the staff at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in New Hope for almost eight years, spent two years as Worship and Music Secretary at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis, and for the last 8 years have been employed at Gina B. Designs, a greeting card wholesaler in Plymouth where I was Customer Service Supervisor.