Pastor Troy Countryman
Pastor Troy Countryman
Pastor Troy was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Lutheran parochial education was an important part of his childhood, as he was blessed to attend Holy Cross Lutheran School and Concordia Lutheran High School. After graduating with a BS in Industrial Management from Purdue University in 2000, he worked four years at Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company in Indianapolis.
During his time at Eli Lilly, Pastor Troy met his wife, Andrea. Andrea is a native of Anderson Indiana, and a graduate of Indiana University. In addition to vocations as a wife and mother, Andrea is currently working toward a nursing degree.
Pastor Troy and Andrea were married at Carmel Lutheran Church in 2003. Thanks to the encouragement of Andrea as well as his pastors, Pastor Troy began seminary education at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 2004. Upon seminary graduation in 2008, he was called to St. John’s Lutheran Church and School in Mattoon, Illinois, where he served as Associate Pastor and then Senior Pastor until accepting the call to serve at St. John, Indianapolis.
Pastor Troy and Andrea have been blessed with three children (two daughters and a son).
Favorite family pastimes include hiking, living room dance parties, and travel.
Statement to the congregation: “For me, life in the Church is quite simple, it’s about relationships. The primary relationship is with our Triune God, and every other relationship is centered in Christ Jesus.”
Favorite verse of Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1:20 – “For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus]. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
Pastor Luke Wattx
Pastor Luke Watt
Julie S. Klopke grew up in a strong Christian home with her parents and younger sister in an area called Gages Lake, IL. which is very close to the Wisconsin/Illinois border and north of Chicago. She attended Concordia College/University in River Forest/Chicago where she earned a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education (1982), a MA in Early Childhood Education (2001), and a School Leadership state certification (2007).
Her first call was to be the director/teacher of St. Luke’s Nursery School (1982-1987). During that time at St. Luke’s she married Paul J. Klopke, who also has certification as a LCMS Director of Christian Education and an Elementary Education teacher. Paul and Julie served at St. Luke’s together from 1984-1987 when they moved to St. Louis so Paul could attend Concordia Seminary. During their seminary years, Julie taught 1st grade at Zion Lutheran School, St. Louis, and 1st & 2nd grade at St. Paul Lutheran School in Wood River, Illinois and art at Mt. Olive Lutheran School, in Omaha, NB, as well as serving as a home daycare provider.
Following Paul’s graduation from the seminary, the Klopke’s moved to southern Illinois where he served as a pastor of a dual parish in Carmi and McLeansboro, During that time, Julie worked as the Pre-K At-Risk Coordinator and Teacher in the Carmi-White County Public Schools.
From 1997-2023, Julie was blessed to serve as the Early Childhood Director & Teacher/Assistant Principal at St. Peter Lutheran Church & School in Arlington Heights, IL.
Julie & Paul are blessed with two grown, married children, Philip (Kyrie) and Jillian (Matthew) and one grandson, Porter. Their children and grandson all live in the Nashville, Tennessee area.
In addition to her parish ministry roles, Julie has been serving as an early childhood consultant for the Northern Illinois District- LCMS, speaker and board member for Lutheran Education Association, and on National Lutheran School Accreditation Committee.
Julie’s past times include connecting and being with her family especially with her children and grandson. She also enjoys reading children’s books, gardening, and scrapbooking.
Director of Musicx
Director of Music
Mrs.Johnson was born and raised in Montague, Michigan, where she was baptized, confirmed, and married at St. James Lutheran Church. She attended Concordia Lutheran Junior College (now Concordia Ann Arbor) where she received her Associate of Arts degree, Concordia Nebraska, and Concordia Chicago, where in 1976 she received her B.A. in Education, D.P.M., and in 1998 her M.A. Mrs. Johnson is in her 31st year of teaching and has been at St. John since 1992.
She has also served congregations and schools in Montague, Chicago, and Evansville. Besides enjoying her fourth grade students, she serves St. John as Director of Music, adult and children's choir director, and organist. She is blessed with sharing life with her husband Paul, and their four daughters and their families, including five grandchildren. She enjoys traveling (with only 2 states left to visit), playing the organ and piano, reading, knitting, tennis, and waiting each fall to cheer on the Michigan football team.
Kat Wiegand has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Boston University. She has worked for Ernst & Young in Connecticut and PepsiCo in New York, prior to moving to Indiana for her husband’s job transfer.
She has used her skills in budgeting, planning and forecasting at prior Lutheran congregations and schools as their treasurer or budget manager. Before coming to St. John, her last role was as Treasurer on the Evansville Lutheran School Association Board in Evansville, Indiana.
Kat’s husband, Phil, is a Sox Consultant here in Indianapolis. Their family has two children who attend St. John Lutheran School and one at Lutheran High School, plus two older daughters in college and beyond. Kat enjoys genealogy, history, movies, reading, traveling, long walks and bible studies. You can always find Kat with her head in a book or checking out the latest movie!
Shannon Velzen graduated from Indiana Business College (now Harrison College) with an Associate Degree in Business Management in 1987. She has worked as an accountant, paralegal and administrative assistant at various central Indiana businesses, before finding a truly enjoyable job here at St. John in 2006.
In 1998 Shannon met and married Patrick Velzen, an Engineer with Ryobi Die Casting. A short three years later their first child, a little girl, was born and just a few years after that their family was rounded out with the addition of a son. Both of their children attended school at St. John. The children would insist that you not forget their three dogs and gecko that think they are also "children." When not chasing around children or animals or keeping Patrick in line Shannon loves reading "books" on her Kindle, enjoying family movie nights and traveling (especially their family trips to Disney).
Lori Reno Howard
Lori Reno Howard
Mrs. Reno-Howard earned her Bachelors Degree from Indiana University and has been employed at St. John since 2005. She is married to Kenny Howard Sr., together they have 6 children, and 1 grand-daughter they absolutely adore.
The two of them are very much looking forward to the next chapter of their lives together enjoying many blessings of family, traveling, and home.
Heidi Mielke was born and raised in Randolph, New Jersey. Heidi attended Concordia University River Forest (now Chicago) and graduated with her degree in teaching. After graduation, Heidi served as the Director of Christian Education for 15 years at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Indianapolis.
While at Concordia, Heidi met her husband, Matthew. Matthew is a native of Danville, Illinois and enjoy his profession as a Real Estate Agent. Together, they have 5 kids.
Heidi and her family enjoy traveling, hiking, and watching the kids in all of their various activities.