Our Team
Meet the Shalom Lutheran Leadership Team
Pastor Kurt Hutchens
Senior Pastor
Pastor Kurt is a Dearborn, Michigan, native. He played baseball at Hillsdale College and earned a degree from Concordia University. He began his career as an owner of a health club but decided to listen to the Lord and start his seminary education. He received a Masters of Divinity from General Theological Seminary in New York. After receiving his Masters Kurt accepted a call to serve the people of St. Luke in Time Square area. In 1999 PK was called to Shalom Lutheran Church. Since his arrival, Shalom has grown from a small country church to one of the largest churches in the area. Under Pastor Kurt’s guidance, Light of the World Academy, a christian Montessori School, was birthed and has educated hundreds of children over the past 10 years. Pastor Kurt’s enthusiasm is contagious. He has a passion for missions and seeing people experience the transforming love of Jesus Christ. His visionary leadership style motivates others to think outside the box and see the church in a whole new light. Pastor Kurt is a passionate, devoted follower of Jesus Christ and values fun in all areas of life. He is a major Tigers fan, loves boating, skiing, hunting and play in the outdoors, and is a lover of life. Kurt and his beautiful family reside in Pinckney, Michigan.
Amy Cooley Higgs
Director of Family Life
Amy grew up in Vermontville, Michigan. She earned a degree in Elementary Education at Michigan State University and worked many years as an early childhood teacher and administrator. Amy felt called to serve in ministry and was certified in Youth and Family Ministry through Wartburg Theological Seminary in 2009. For the past four years, she has served full-time in Children, Youth & Family Ministry in Brighton.
Amy loves art (both viewing and creating it), to travel, and to cook. After traveling to Palestine with youth in 2013, Amy has become an advocate for justice and peace in the Holy Land. She also serves as a leader at Bridge Builders each summer, teaching leadership skills and anti-racism awareness.
Amy lives nearby in Brighton with her daughter Katie, and their pets, Maizey and Pumpkin.
Laura Shehan
Facilities Manager

Laura is an Ypsilanti native. She began attending Shalom in 2012 and was called to join the Shalom team in 2014. Laura manages all of the office details, the church calendar, and everything else that comes her way with a smile on her face.

God has blessed Laura with an unbelievable talent for writing. Each week she writes a favorite column, “Musings From the Mind of a Mother of Many” for the @Shalom_Life church newsletter and blog. She is a talented speaker and is very resourceful. Laura, her husband, five sons, and gaggle of animals reside in Pinckney.

Tony Giamanco
Director of Creative Arts and Worship
Tony serves a very important function overseeing the music, drama and tech ministries. Just ask the pastor! His official title is DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE ARTS AND WORSHIP, which means he’s in charge of (1) planning the music for each service, assigning musicians and preparing them to lead the congregation in worship; (2) coordinating the drama team which includes actors, writers, directors, and occasionally, animals—(although, to be honest, it can sometimes be difficult telling them apart); and finally, (3) assembling the finest computer and sound techs Shalom has to offer, guaranteeing that every worship service will run smoothly, free of glitches, audio feedback and computer malfunctions, —hey, we can dream, can’t we?
His job also allows him to indulge in my musical passions: playing keyboard (acoustic and electronic pianos and organ); singing (solos and ensembles); conducting (choirs and instrumental ensembles); and composing (piano, organ, choral, handbell and chamber music, many of which are published). Tony’s other interests include reading, studying WW II history, and recording.
Cherie Clawson
Office Assistant
Cherie grew up in Livonia Michigan. She has been attending Shalom for twenty four years. Cherie is the Office Assistant. She enjoys supporting the staff and helping out in whatever way possible.
Cherie facilitates a Women’s Bible study on Monday mornings. She is blessed by helping others on their faith journey, while growing in her own faith.
Cherie’s hobbies include reading, knitting, crocheting, crafting. She also enjoys building jigsaw puzzles and playing board games.
Cherie lives in Pinckney with her family and their dog, Star.
Laura Woodside
Communications Manager
Laura was born and raised in Livonia, Michigan. She started coming to Shalom with her family when she was just a baby. Shalom is also where Laura meet her husband, Jordan. Shalom is truly her spiritual family.
Now Laura serves as Shalom’s Communication Manager. This means she is in charge of Shalom’s social media, website, video boards, our electric sign, and livestreaming. Laura loves being creative while serving in her home church. 
Laura often has her assistant, Teddy, with her. Teddy is her 1 year old son. She also has another baby on the way and two dogs (Phil and Lil). When not working or spending time with family, Laura loves teaching and taking yoga classes.