Meet Our Church Council for 2016

Carolyn Christenson, Council President

Carolyn and her husband Joe are recent, happy transplants to Fort Collins. Having cavorted throughout Europe and the United States for the past 25 years courtesy of Joe’s career with the US Army, Carolyn now joyfully travels for her own delight, visiting her globe-trotting children (Noah, Hana, and Zella), family, and friends. She finds emotional, physical, and spiritual succor through shared meals, well-planned gardens, captivating scenery, and engrossing literature. In her former life she was a Soviet Intelligence Analyst, which turned out to be pretty darned handy for raising kids.

Linda Larkey, Council Vice-President

I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  After we were married, my husband Jim and I moved to Michigan, where we raised our 3 children.  Jim was an engineer, and I eventually had a career in mental health. We always enjoyed spending time outdoors.  So in later years, when we began exploring Colorado, we were captivated by its majestic mountains and healthy lifestyle. After retirement, we moved here, joining 2 of our children who had already made Colorado their home.

Nowadays I continue to hike when I can, and have discovered other interests as well.  I am a Spellbinders oral storyteller, and regularly tell stories to local schoolchildren.  I also enjoy a good game of Scrabble, although I am laughably shortsighted when playing cards!  I am also pleased to call the warm and friendly Shepherd of the Hills my Church home.

DSC_0109Cheryl Rakness, Financial Secretary

I grew up on a farm near Brookings, South Dakota. I met Kerwin while at SDSU and we married in 1969. We lived in San Antonio, Texas, for two years, and in the Denver area for three years, before moving to Fort Collins and joining SOTH in 1975.

I worked at Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp for 18 years doing various office duties, especially their bookkeeping. I have always been a crafter and decorator of my house. Kerwin and I travel quite often. I love my social life and am always willing to go to lunch or play a game. But I also need my time to stay home and just do nothing. I love being a grandmother to Harper, Quinlan, Saoirse and Ellie.

Alwena Cooper, Secretary

I am the ninth of 11 children, seven girls and four boys, born to two best parents, farmer and teacher.  I enjoyed a very exciting life on the farm, over-protected and cozy; my dad and brothers, they kept me safe from lizards and bullies!    Climbing trees was not an option!

 I left my hometown, Maldon, St. James, Jamaica a year before graduation, to finish high school in Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica (our Baptist high school was closed down due to lack of funds).  I graduated in 1966.  In 1968 I graduated from the College of Arts, Science and Technology, in Kingston, Jamaica.  I worked in Kingston before migrating to the U.S. in 1978.  I enjoyed an excellent career as Administrative Assistant in Houston, Texas; married my husband, Paul in 1987, and retired in 2013.  We immediately moved to Fort Collins to assist with the care of his parents. 

 I joined SOTH in 2015, Lutheran is a new experience I am learning and enjoying! It is an honor to be a member of the Council, the Prayer Shawl group, and Living Word Bible Studies.

 I enjoy family, teaching yoga, attending group classes: cycling, Pilates and TRX; traveling with Paul, my siblings and friends.  We have two daughters and four terrific grandchildren.

Margaret Blaho, Treasurer

I grew up in a very rural area near Mt. Gilead, Ohio and attended St John’s Lutheran Church in North Woodbury.  My husband Bruce and I met and were married while we were both students at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.  We moved to Fort Collins right after college in 1985 so Bruce could start his career with Hewlett Packard.  We have three children:  Kelsey who lives in Denver and identical twins Alex and Austin who are both students at Colorado State.  We also have a brown Pomeranian named Kodiak.  I enjoy walking, crocheting, knitting, Sudoku puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and spending as much time as possible with my husband and our amazing kids.

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Dan Henderson, Buildings & Grounds

Dan Henderson has recently retired as a building inspector from Larimer County. He has over 40 years experience in the building trade. He has been a member of SOTH since 1964 when his parents moved here from Fort Morgan. Dan and Sue have 2 grown daughters Becky and Christy with 6 grand children, 5 grandsons and 1 grand daughter. He enjoys fishing, antique cars, and is currently enjoying the Living word bible study.

Judy Asherin, Congregational Care Team

I grew up in a small town in southern Wisconsin.  Church (alas, not Lutheran) was a big part of my childhood and I started singing in the church choir in 7th grade.  We moved to Fort Collins in 1977 ( a career move for my husband, Duane) and joined SOTH a couple of years later.  I retired from nursing at Poudre Valley Hospital in 2012.  I enjoy spending time with our four children and four grandchildren.  I also enjoy travel, reading, hiking, cross-country skiing and all time spent in the beautiful Colorado Mountains.


Jane Homann, Faith Formation

Jane’s bio

Darin Luze, Generosity Team (Stewardship)

 Darin Luze is family man and an independent Financial Advisor with over 22 years experience in serving this community. He enjoys being an educator of numerous wealth protection strategies that help enhance people’s lives. He has been a member of SOTH since 1976 when his parents moved here from Minnesota, was confirmed here, and has raised his kids here. SOTH enhances his life as he enjoys assisting on Sundays and helping around the church where he can. This, he hopes, leads to being effective in the Generosity/Stewardship role for council. Darin and wife Dawn have 2 daughters Katelyn and Averi currently attending Poudre High School and very active in FOCOLU. He enjoys family game nights, bowling, golfing, and pretty much gaming of any kind.

Learn more about our Generosity team

DSC_0101Lois Lawson, Social Concerns Team

I was born & raised in Bismarck, ND. I met my husband Dick at a Laundromat in Glasgow, Montana in 1966. Dick was in the Air Force stationed at Glasgow at the time. From there we had tours of duty to Puerto Rico, Rome, New York, Philippines, Minot AFB, ND, Grand Forks AFB, ND, Warren AFB, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, SD. Our two sons and daughters-in-law have blessed us with four grandchildren, 2 boys and twin granddaughters. All live close in Loveland and Aurora. Dick & I became members of SOTH in May of 1998, at which time I joined the Social Concerns Ministry Team. I enjoy reading, walking, traveling, and especially spending time with my family and the many wonderful friends at SOTH.

                            Learn more about Social Concerns


Debbie Sunken, Worship & Music Team

I grew up in Southeast Denver and attended Cross of Glory Lutheran church and was active in Youth Choir, Handbells, Vacation Bible School, and a variety of plays and skits. College took me to Southern California where I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater. I met and married my husband Richard in a lovely ceremony officiated by my childhood pastor. After working for 10 years in a corporate setting, I returned to college, relocated with my husband to Colorado and ultimately earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from CSU.  These days I have my own mobile veterinary practice serving the mountain and rural communities of Larimer County. I have been a member of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church for 11 years and enjoy being part of the Handbell Choir and serving as one of the Lay Assisting Ministers.

 Learn more about Worship & Music

Kara Patten, Communications

Kara Lamb Patten is a public communicator with more than 25 years experience in public relations, media, policy and corporate messaging. She has been a Lutheran even longer, growing up with wonderful places like Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp and later completing her undergraduate degrees from California Lutheran University. A near-native Coloradoan with California influences, she hopes her skills in issue-based strategy management, planning and development, and relationship building will be an asset to the congregation and the community it serves here in Fort Collins and beyond.

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