Steve Hayden, Pastor

I am writing a letter to introduce myself, but am left with the question, what are you supposed to say about yourself as you meet new people? Is it enough to share the bare facts of your life? A sort of back cover bio where you are the author; “Steve Hayden was born and raised in Chicago, IL but lived in Iowa for 22 years before coming to Georgia. He is married to Linda. They have three adult children; Kate who is a newspaper journalist, Hannah who is a Lutheran DCE, and Christian who is a middle school choral teacher.”

What do you say when you meet someone for the first time? How do you get to know one another? Is there a universal poster like the ones they use in grade school for the first days where you list your favorite foods or favorite things to do? Do you get extra points if you put your poster into a musical song? “I like pina colodas, getting caught in the rain….”

The only way to really get to know someone is to spend time with them, to experience things together. We get to know others, not by the words that we speak about ourselves, but by being with others, listening and watching each other, rejoicing and crying with one another, by truly being with others and sharing our experiences together.

God knows this. When He really wanted us to know about Him, He didn’t just write about Himself but came down and lived with us.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. John 1:14-18

God came down in Jesus Christ to make it possible for us to really know who He is, to know how much He loves us. God shares Himself with us, not just in words or pictures, but in real life, truly being present with us and sharing our experience together. He came to live, die and rise again so that we can be not just acquaintances, but sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, children of the same heavenly Father.

Now, however much you don’t know me, you already do know and already are certain of God’s love and presence in Jesus Christ, not by words but because He came in person to let us know Him and call us to be His, because He shared our life, our hurts, our fears and carried them to the cross so that we might have life. We know Him….because He is here!

Pastor Steve

Pastor at Lake Oconee Lutheran, teller of dad jokes, child of God

Deb Krahling, Church Secretary

Most of my life has been spent in Northern Virginia, McLean to be exact, staying close to my parents & friends from high school. After graduation, I worked toward my B.A. in Business from MaryMount University, while I simultaneously worked at SRA Corporation (now General Dynamics) as a Personnel Administrator and eventually a Technical Analyst.

After leaving the governmental job behind, I followed my dream of helping people and became a Church Administrator at an American Baptist church in Reston, Virginia. I remained there for 17 years before my husband & I relocated to Milledgeville Georgia to be closer to my husband’s family.

Joining Lake Oconee Lutheran was a true God send. I did not know the area nor did I have any contacts with which to network. After applying at local temp agency, I found that Lake Oconee Lutheran was searching for a new secretary. That same day I took the chance that someone might be at the church since I was told it was just down the street. I showed up at the door with my resume and through God’s grace I have been here almost 5 years! I feel a part of their “family” as will anyone who comes to visit us.

You can reach me in the church office Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Lev Ryabinin, Instrumentalist

Dr. Lev Ryabinin graduated with distinction as a pianist from the Kharkov Institute of Arts in Ukraine, and later earned his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa, where he held a three-year teaching assistantship. Dr. Ryabinin has worked as a collaborative pianist/accompanist for Interlochen Center for the Arts, Chicago Opera Theater, Roosevelt University, the University of Iowa, and numerous music theatre productions. He participated in competitions and presented solo and collaborative recitals both in the United States and abroad. Dr. Ryabinin currently serves as staff accompanist and piano instructor at Georgia College.

Katherine Lutz, DCE Intern

Katherine was born on January 29 and raised in the Fort Worth area of Texas.  She is the oldest child, having a brother and 2 stepsisters who are all younger.  Her father currently resides in Fort Worth, Texas and her mother and stepfather reside in Concord, North Carolina (where, incidentally, she was visiting when I spoke with her).

Katherine states in her message to the Pastor that, over the past few years, the Lord has placed a calling on her life to serve His people through simply loving and being in relationship with many people in many places.  The past few summers she has lived in Malawi, Louisiana and Kentucky and has also led many visiting short term mission teams.  She states these experiences have given her the ability to learn more of the Lord’s faithfulness and the beauty of sharing His love.

Katherine’s hobbies include being outdoors, low key hiking, playing games and painting (watercolors and oils).  We are planning ways in which she may be able to incorporate these hobbies into outreach activities for the church.