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 works for a nonprofit, Hannah who is a Lutheran DCE, and Christian who works in business.”

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

Sonya Plunkett, Church Secretary

Hi, my name is Sonya and I am so excited to be joining the team here at Lake Oconee Lutheran Church. Here is a little bit about me.  I am 33 years old. I was born and raised right here in Georgia. I grew up In Lawrenceville and Loganville. I meet my husband of 12 years when I was 17, We have a 10-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. I love being a mom. I studied to be a massage therapist and practiced for a couple of years until I had my son. We love to go fishing as a family and just enjoy being in each other’s company. My daughter and I love to craft and make things together. My son loves to talk and is very inquisitive and keeps me on my toes with his questions. We have a house full of pets 3 cats, 1 dog: 1 hamster and a yard full of chickens. My family and I have lived in the area for 7 years now and we love being out of the hustle and bustle of the busier cities.

You can reach me in the church office Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Youngmi Kim, Choir Director

Dr. Youngmi Kim is an Associate Professor of Music and Voice area Coordinator at Georgia College. She has previously taught at Radford University in Virginia and Wilberforce University in Ohio. She received her education at the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati (DMA and MM) and Ewha Womans University (BM) in Korea. As a recitalist and chamber music artist, she has performed in prestigious venues, including Spivey Hall, Franz Liszt Museum in Hungary, Newton Free Library in Boston, Moss Arts Center in Virginia, and Weil Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York. She also has performed and given masterclasses at numerous universities, such as Murray State University (KY), University of Texas, Arlington (TX), Lee University (TN), Toccoa Falls College (GA), Ewha Womans University (Seoul, Korea), Ball State University (IN), Central State University (OH), and University of Mount Union (OH). Her outstanding voice has been hailed by San Francisco Classical Voice as “one of those silvery, “strand-of-pearls”-type voices.” A versatile artist, Youngmi Kim is an accomplished interpreter of early music.

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 won First Prize in the Tel-Aviv Academy Competition and was a finalist in the Kankakee Piano Concerto Competition. 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.