Our Team
Meet the Shalom Lutheran Staff
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.
Pastor Kurt has open office hours on Thursdays from 1-3pm or by appointment. 
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.
Katie Higgs
Office Administrator and Communications Coordinator 
Katie is from Brighton, Michigan and has been a life-long Lutheran. She has spent the last 4 years at Michigan State University where she studied Comparative Cultures and Politics at James Madison College. Katie has always loved music and sometimes she sings with the Band on Sunday mornings. 

Katie is responsible for the Shalom Office and all of the communications at the church. She also runs all our social media (so follow Shalom on Facebook and Twitter @Shalom_life and on Instagram @shalom_lutheran!) 

And yes! Katie is Amy CH’s daughter!

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.
Vera McEwen
Pastoral Intern
Pastor Vera McEwen is incredibly excited to be interning at Shalom Lutheran church, she embodies the Love of Christ through witness and discipleship. Her primary emphasis at Shalom is spreading that Love by: providing pastoral care, preaching God’s Loving Word, teaching God’s Living Word, implementing God’s Living relational group architecture. She has completed her MDIV academic studies at Luther Seminary. She is currently reviewing the prospects of a doctorate in religious studies with an emphasis on Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic as encouraged by her professors at seminary.
In addition to her vocation at Shalom she ministers via project management at Michigan State University (MSU) in their Information Technology (IT) department. Where, with God’s help, she implements 1 Thessalonians 5.11 motivating people to be and do their very best by building one another up. If you see a joyous, ever singing sister in Christ rapidly moving by, yes in the wee hours of the morning too (without coffee), that it is likely to be Vera. Vera, who after years of being pursued by God, stopped running and answered the call, halleluiah, הַלְלוּיָה!
Lisa Gross
Licensed Lay Minister Intern

Lisa Gross is a Dearborn, Michigan native.  She attended Divine Child Catholic school for twelve years.  She attended Central Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University and received a degree as a Special Education teacher.  She has been teaching for 30 years, and has been teaching at Pinckney High school for the past 20 years.

Lisa is married and has three adult children, one grandson and another grandchild on the way!

Lisa is studying to be a Licensed Lay Minister.  She has completed two years of theology classes and is currently committed to a one year internship at Shalom where she has been a member for six years. Lisa leads the Women’s Bible Study class, has been a member of the Mission’s and Outreach team and currently holds a position as an Elder.

Lisa’s quiet, calm and compassionate personality lends itself to her ministry style.  She has a passion for learning about Jesus and strives to serve others in any capacity that Jesus leads her. In her spare time Lisa enjoys reading, riding her bike, taking walks with her husband and spending time with family and friends, especially her grandson.