Sarah Aasheim, Interim Ministry specialist
Pastor Aasheim is the Called Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Wyndmoor, PA. Her duties at St. Michael’s include guiding the Counsel through the process as we transition to a new called Pastor, advising and guiding the Transition Team, and advising and guiding the Call Committee. She also will be leading some services for our congregation.
Pastor Aasheim graduated from Simpson College in 2010 with a degree in History and Religion. She then enrolled at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH and graduated in 2014.
While in Seminary, Pastor Sarah met, dated, and married her husband Pastor K. Russell Crouthamel (yes, they have different last names because Pastor Sarah likes the double A’s). He is the pastor at St. Marks Lutheran Church in Pennsburg. They are the parents of two little boys.
Pastor Aasheim has many hobbies, including reading, knitting, and weaving. She recently discovered that she has a corn-intolerance, which makes her Iowan heart very sad.
Barbara Grove, Office Administrator
In most instances Barb will be the first experience of the friendliness of St. Michael's, whether by telephone, e-mail, or stopping by the church office. A church member and volunteer since 1998, Barb began her "Office Ministry" in 2003. In addition to her administrator tasks Barb serves as a Lector and Assisting Minister, and participates in the Adult and Bell Choirs.
If you have a question about St. Michael's, Barb may know the answer or can point you in the right direction.
Carol Nase, Director of Music
I began my career back in the 60's, in my home church in Maryland, where I sang in the Junior Choir. As I got older, that choir director began training me to take over from her when she left Maryland to pursue her Master's. By the time I was 15 years old, I was playing for service every week and directing the Junior Choir, which I continued to do until I left to go to college in Allentown.
At Muhlenberg College, Allentown, I took almost every music course available and sang in the College Choir, going on tour with that group every season. I graduated with a BA in music in 1970.
When I came to the Pennridge area in 1971, with my husband, who grew up in Sellersville, I soon became involved in the area churches. My first professional position was at St. John's Lutheran, Ridge Valley, where I played for services and directed the Senior and Junior Choirs. During my time there, I brought to life (with the help of other local parish musicians) the Pennridge Cluster Choir. We drew membership from the 8 Lutheran churches in what was then the Pennridge Cluster of churches. We sang at the Cluster reformation services and the Cluster Lenten services as well as presenting independent choral concerts. We were asked to provide music at the Community Day celebration in 1976. A highpoint for me was the presentation of Handel's Messiah. We numbered about 70 voices in that group.
I subsequently served in a number of parishes: Trinity, Springtown, St. Michael's, Sellersville (1979-1986), Christ Lutheran, Hellertown, Luke's, Ferndale, St. James, Chalfont, Grace Lutheran, Pottstown, and back to St. Michael's in 1996. (So now, I've been back here almost 20 years!)
I did organ studies with Ludwig Lenel at Muhlenberg, and Barbara Hartenbauer in Schwenksville. I have also done numerous courses at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, including Children's Choir work with Helen Kemp, Handbell work with Don Allured and others, other choral work and even a course in "Body Mapping"(!) (Ask me about it!)
Sometime ago, back in the 80's, I believe, I became certified by the Southeastern PA Synod as a Lay Professional. This was the forerunner of the AIM certification currently in place.
In the meantime, I started my Suzuki piano studio, following the teaching practices and philosophy of Shinichi Suzuki. I attended teacher training sessions at Queen's College, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. I have completed training and am registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas for all levels of Suzuki Piano Training. I firmly believe in Dr. Suzuki's idea of the "Mother Tongue" approach. As a young man, he spent time in Germany, where he became aware that the local street kids were able to do something that he, a very well-educated Japanese man, could not do: speak fluent German. He knew it was because these children heard that language, even in the womb. He reasoned that our children need to learn music in the same way: to be surrounded by good, well-structured music from the very beginning. He also hoped that by surrounding our children with beautiful music, we could help them become people with beautiful souls. A very basic part of the Suzuki approach is having students listen, as much as possible, to the music they are learning, performed by professional players on top quality instruments. This is particularly important for string players, who need to be able to hear if their strings are in tune. (On the piano, if the strings don't sound good, we call the tuner!)
Along the way, with the help of some friends, in particular Delpha D. Wolf, a Suzuki violin teacher from Lederach, I started a summer music camp program, Midsummer Music Mayhem. We ran our music camp for almost 20 years, holding it at different venues as they were available (including a few years at St. Michael's). We started out with about 10 kids on DD's porch and by our 19th year had a staff of about 7 teachers, including 2 from Canada, and about 35 students. One thing we did from the very beginning was Grand Ensemble: every person who was at camp, regardless of why they were there or how many lessons they had had on an instrument, was part of the group. We utilized everything we could: bells (big and little), Boomhackers, even a floor keyboard, and all kinds of percussion instruments.
I continue to teach piano from my home studio and for the past three years have been on the Board of Directors of the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association.
Barbara A. Nemecek, Christian Education Director
As a lifelong member of St. Michael's Church, I am deeply honored to be the Director of Christian Education. I am truly excited to help the children learn about God’s love. One of my favorite parts of being the director is organizing Vacation Bible School.
I graduated from East Stroudsburg University earning a Bachelor's degree in Elementary education with an area of concentration in reading. I have taught kindergarten, first and second grades in the Pennridge School District. While teaching I continued my education by earning a Master's Degree at Kutztown University. As a part of my Master's program I became a certified reading specialist. After the Master’s, I earned additional credits. It is my strong belief that learning should never stop because when you're through learning, you're through.
I have been married to a wonderful man named Jim for over 38 years. We have four cats. My hobbies include traveling, reading, gardening, collecting all kinds of glass, and working on crafts.
David Alburger, Visual Media Assistant
After a 30-year career in program and database design, in 2003 Dave retired from a major insurance corporation as Director of Data Administration.
In 2005 Dave was asked to upload and maintain St. Michael’s website. He maintained the website until it was redesigned in 2014. Post redesign Dave received training in maintenance of the new website which he has used to maintain the new web pages.
In 2009 Dave was asked to serve as president of the Sellersville Church and Cemetery Corp. He converted the handwritten records to a relational database and created the Sellersville Cemetery web page In order to make the burial data public. The page has won high praise from numerous historical and genealogical societies.
In 2013 Dave was hired as Visual Media Assistant, creating video presentations for St. Michael’s contemporary service.
Dave is a member of St. Michael’s New Creation band, playing bass, guitar & vocals. He has performed with his own band, Brothers & Others, for over 25 years and a senior swing band, The Brittany Boys, for 8 years.
With the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dave became the producer of the Sunday morning internet church service. His duties include designing and engineering the weekly service as well as performing and recording a weekly video of the contemporary band for inclusion in the service.