Pastor Jeff Ruby
Phone: 480-948-1234 ext.1104
Pastor Jeff Ruby was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Arizona at the age of five. He received a B.A. in Political Science from California Lutheran University and a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific Lutheran Seminary. He has served as a pastor-developer and lead pastor in three churches across the United States before coming to La Casa in 2006.
Pastor Jeff is married to Susan, who has worked in the business and education fields. They are the parents of two children, Kaitlin and Erik. As the lead pastor, he is responsible for the spiritual and administrative oversight of the congregation and staff and is committed to leading our community through Jesus with the skeptics, strugglers, and doubters, so that the Good News can be shared with all generations.
Pastor Matthew Knopf
Executive Pastor of Innovation
Pastor Matt Knopf was raised in Tempe, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Theater Arts, concentrating on youth education. He then continued his education at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, earning his Master of Divinity degree. Upon graduating from seminary he served as a missionary pastor in Atlacomulco, Mexico. He then served as a parish pastor in Logansport, Indiana and Fremont, Nebraska. Pastor Matt has served as a course instructor of Christianity and Lutheranism in the religion and philosophy department at Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska.
He continues to teach Bible, religion, and archaeology courses through Arizona State University’s Osher Institute. He also serves as a course instructor at Huntington University in Peoria, Arizona teaching Bible, Christianity, and Biblical Archaeology classes. His hobbies include Biblical archaeology and the study of early Judaism and Christianity. Pastor Matt is passionate about sharing God’s Word with people in engaging ways and he feels blessed to serve as a Pastor at La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church. Pastor Matt is married to his beautiful wife, Jessica, and they have two children; Noah and Grace.
Pastor Joel Bjerkestrand
Phone: 480-948-1234 ext.1133
Pastor Joel Bjerkestrand was born of missionary parents in India and moved to Illinois at age twelve. He graduated from high school in Peoria, Ill., and from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minn., where he met his wife, Sue. Pastor Joel received his Master of Divinity degree from Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. Pastor Joel and Sue have two grown children, six grandchildren, and three bonus grandchildren, all living in the Phoenix area. Sue retired in 2013 as a third grade teacher at North Ranch elementary school in the Paradise Valley School District. Pastor Joel served one congregation in California and three in the Phoenix area before retiring from full-time ministry after 32 years.
In 2011 he began his work at La Casa de Cristo as Visitation Pastor, visiting shut-ins and those hospitalized. Pastor Joel also teaches Sunday morning adult education classes, preaches occasionally, and is invited frequently to speak to groups within the congregation. After retiring from full-time ministry he received training to become a certified life coach and was also an adjunct professor at Western International University for six years. Through his On the Way Ministry, Pastor Joel officiates at weddings and funerals for those who don’t have a church home/pastor.
Pastor Susan McCormick
Pastor Susan grew up in western Pennsylvania and graduated from Butler High School and then completed a Bachelors and Masters Degree at Edinboro State College, Edinboro, PA.
In 1982 she was married to Frederick Ramsay, an Episcopal priest and mystery writer, until his death in 2017. They moved to Arizona in 2000, while Susan continued to work in business aviation 20 years before pursuing a call to ministry.
She received an M.Div. from Fuller Seminary while serving at Spirit of Grace Lutheran Church in Surprise, then served full-time on the La Casa staff for several years before retiring. In 2019, Susan married Steve McCormick and recently returned to the staff to assist with pastoral visits. Both feel very blessed to be part of the La Casa family.