Mark Carlson, Senior Pastor


The Reverend Mark Carlson has served as Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church since his installation in November, 2011. His previous pastorates were at Zion Lutheran Church, Bogalusa, Louisiana, from June, 1983 until January, 1987; and St. James Lutheran Church, Marion, Indiana, from February, 1987 until October, 2011. Pastor Carlson has been married to his wife, Carole since April 28, 1979. They are blessed with four children; Ryan, Timothy, Kristin, and Lauren. Pastor Carlson is guided in his life and ministry by the personal mission statement, “A Passion for God and His heart for people”.




Open — Associate Pastor of Adult Discipleship & Worship


The position of Associate Pastor of Adult Discipleship & Worship is currently open, and our Leadership team is investigating how best to fill the position.


John Cross, Manager of Operations

John was born and raised here in the Dayton area.   A graduate of Oakwood HS, as well as Wright State and Xavier Universities, John was raised Catholic and joined Emmanuel shortly after he and his wife Jillyn were married.  Formerly a financial advisor with JP Morgan, John joined the staff of Emmanuel as our Manager of Operations in 2016.  When not busy serving on our Campus ministry team, as well as the Endowment, Stewardship, and Worship Committees, John is also an active part of our Worship team for Sunday morning worship services.  In addition, John and Jillyn are busy raising their one son, Charlie, who is in the midst of his toddler years.


Dave Malas, Asst. Manager of Operations


Dave was born and raised in the hill country of southwestern Pennsylvania. His grandparents were German Lutherans who immigrated to the “new country” in 1914 and became actively involved in Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Glen Savage, PA. Dave’s rich heritage in making God and the Bible a central part of family and community life has been an inspiration to him ever since.

After high school, Dave served in the USAF with assignments in the Far East and in Wichita, Kansas. It was in Wichita in 1965, that he met and married Patricia Bunner. They raised a son Daryl, and daughter Kathy, and now have 9 grandchildren. Dave and Pat were members of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Wichita, KS for 25 years.

Dave and Pat came to Dayton, OH, in 1994 as part of a company job change and have been members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church ever since. At Emmanuel Dave has served on the Board of Education, the ECA School Board and the Board of Elders. He now serves as Manager of Operations.

Seth Illich, Manager of Youth and Young Adult Discipleship


SethSeth Illich is a Director of Christian Education (DCE) serving in the role of Manager of Youth and Young Adult Discipleship. He graduated from Concordia University Chicago in December of 2012 with a DCE Degree and a minor in Theology. After graduation he took the call to serve in Iowa City, IA. In June of 2015, he and his wife Emily moved to Centerville and he is excited to work with the youth and young adults of Emmanuel.





Lisa Sauer, Interim Assistant Manager of Operations


Lisa is the Assistant Manager of Operations at Emmanuel Lutheran Church focusing on payroll and benefits. Lisa is originally from Indianapolis where she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Ball State University. Lisa has worked in the areas of payroll and employee training and development for over twenty years.

Lisa married her college sweetheart Eric in 1990 and moved to his hometown of Dayton. They have lived in Mason, Lebanon and currently reside in Centerville with their high school daughter Lexie and grade
school son Cole.

Lisa was raised in the Methodist faith (in Indianapolis Indiana) and both she and Eric joined the LCMS when they became Emmanuel members in 2005. Lisa has volunteered on many church committees as well as serving as a Sunday school teacher, MOPS president, Sunday morning greeter, service reader and as part of the Children’s Sunday morning message team.



Tony Latessa, Web Administrator – Special Projects


tonyOriginally from Tipp City, OH, Tony grew up Catholic and was very involved as a teen in the Ohio Youth Commission’s youth ministry program for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  After high school, Tony attended the University of Dayton, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and his Law Degree.  It was at this time that he met and later married his wife Laura in 1993.  Tony and Laura have three children, Nick, Bethaney, and Daniel.  Tony enjoys following all of his kids various activities, and he and Laura continue to be actively involved in their kids youth groups at Emmanuel.  Tony recently took the position of Assistant Manager of Operations at Emmanuel, focusing on IT, Media and Property.



Randy Holdeman, Manager of Connection Groups and Lay Ministry


Randy was born and raised in northern Indiana.  He attended Trinity Lutheran Church where he was baptized and confirmed.  Shortly after graduating from Manchester University he relocated to Dayton Ohio where he has lived since.  He married his wife Karen on Jan. 1, 1983.  They have been blessed with four daughters, Kristin, Laura, Ranae, and Elise, and five grandchildren.

Randy has always had a passion for sharing the Gospel and his life mission statement is based on Psalm 71:18 “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”  In addition to camping and family activities, Randy enjoys life coaching, teaching, and using multimedia technologies to enhance the delivery of the Gospel message.  He is excited to be a part of God’s Kingdom work through Connection Groups at Emmanuel.



Wilson Cohoon, Manger of Missions


Wilson was born and raised in Kansas. He jokes that he did twenty years in Leavenworth, but on the outside. His childhood religious experience was with a cult and during a Sunday school opening he received a clear picture that what he had been taught just wasn’t right. A high school friend and he began to discuss their faiths and as a junior he accepted Jesus as his Saviour and joined the Presbyterian Church.

It was also in high school that he met Val. After attending the College of Emporia for two years he transferred to the University of Kansas. I was while he was there that he asked Val to be his wife. She accepted and in discussing what church they would attend, she was a Missouri Synod Lutheran, that Wilson took adult instruction at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lawrence, Kansas. They were married in August 1961 and after his graduation in 1962 they moved to Kansas City, Missouri where they joined Holy Cross Lutheran Church. In 1971 they moved to Bellbrook and joined Concordia Lutheran church and then became Charter members of Emmanuel.

Wilson and Val have a son, Scott; daughter, Kelly; and grandson Corey. They once served as youth directors at Emmanuel. In 1987 after returning from a cruise, he was asked about going to Haiti for a visit to a beginning orphanage. In 1988 he and Val visited the Crow Indian reservation and then he visited the orphanage in Haiti. The Lord had called him into mission. Val also has a heart for missions and besides accompanying Wilson to Haiti has a heart for an Alaskan mission. His passion for mission has not waned. He has served on the Mission Board for many years and now serves as the Mission Team Director as well as a Lay Minister.

Magdalena Greenewald, Director ELC Worship Choir


magdalena-pictureEarning her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, with a GPA of 3.963, Magdalena Greenewald wishes to inspire all through her performing and teaching to love and appreciate music and its power. For the past three seasons, she has been a full-time member of the May Festival Chorus of Cincinnati. In addition to performing with the May Festival Chorus, she has performed with Wright State University Opera in their full production of Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Pirates of Penzance, and in their Opera Scenes production in excerpts from Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Poulenc’s Dialogue of the Carmelites. While at Sinclair Community College, her solo appearances in their Opera Scenes production consisted of playing Laurey Williams in scenes from Oklahoma and singing Gartin’s art song The Lilac Tree. Greenewald has also performed with the Wright State University Chorus (Fall 2014-Spring 2016), with the Sinclair Community College Chorus (Fall 2012-Spring 2014), and with the Sinclair Community College Women’s Chorale (Spring 2013).



Debra Kaiser, Director Clarion Handbell Choirs


debra-pictureBorn and raised on a farm, Debra attended Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois, where she was baptized, confirmed and later married David.  Music has always been an important part of her life.  She graduated from Western Illinois University with degrees in Music Therapy and Music Education.  After spending 16 years in Peoria, a job change relocated them to Dayton.  They joined Emmanuel Lutheran Church in 2002.  Debra and Dave have two daughters and four grandchildren.





Carole Wright, Admin Assistant, Worship


Carole Wright serves as Administrative Assistant for Worship at ELC.  She began working in the office part-time, creating bulletins and slides to enhance the worship experience at Emmanuel in 2012.  Carole has a background in graphic design and has worked as an illustrator and graphic designer.  She also enjoys photography and outdoor activities.  Carole and her husband Tom have 2 children and joined the Emmanuel family in 2011.





Marcie Bailey, Admin Assistant, Church Statistics


Marcie has lived in the Dayton area for at least 15 years. She was raised in Cleveland, OH and attended the Immanuel Lutheran Church. She joined Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Kettering  4 years ago, and serves as Administrative Assistant – Church Statistics on Monday and Wednesdays. She is divorced and settled in a Townhouse and with Gingee (spoiled poodle) who rules the house. Marcie attends several Bible  studies during the week and enjoys the fellowship we have in the church.





Laura Latessa, Admin Assistant, Office


Born in Colorado Springs, Laura grew up across the country as the daughter of an Air Force officer, eventually settling in Dayton.  A life-long Lutheran, she met and later married Tony Latessa.  She worked as an office manager at both Captial University and the University of Dayton before leaving to work as a stay-at-home mother to her three children (Nick, Bethaney, and Daniel).  As the kids grew, Laura worked for several years as a Preschool Teacher, is active in the PTO at her children’s schools, serving as PTO secretary and for several years as the chairperson of the school book fair.  She is also very involved at Emmanuel, serving in the nursery, as a mentor to the Youth, and working on VBS.  In 2013, Laura began working at Emmanuel as an Admin, focusing on Office Communications.