The Rev. Dr. Arden C. Strasser — Pastor
Pastor Strasser was called to be our Interim pastor on March 1, 2018. After serving in this position for 20 months our Call Committee presented him to the congregation as the candidate to receive a Settled Call to become the 8th Pastor of Saint Luke’s since our founding in 1850. The Congregational Vote took place on Sunday November 10, 2019.
He speaks widely about God’s mission in the world and the place of the sacred in our daily lives. Pastor Strasser brings gifts in retreat direction, music, and preaching. Formerly an engineer, he also brings strengths in planning and management.
Previously, he served as pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in northern California, from 2000 to 2006, and then was appointed ELCA missionary to Zambia for church leadership development in southern Africa, until 2014. Most recently, he served as interim pastor for congregations in Long Island and Westchester County.
Pastor Strasser has earned degrees from the University of Rochester, the University of Colorado, and the University of Natal, South Africa. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University. Pastor Strasser has also served on the boards of the Volunteer Missionary Movement and the American International School of Lusaka.
He lives on the upper west side of Manhattan with his wife Susan, a professor in public health at Columbia University. They have two daughters, Chloe and Alea. His hobbies are piano, singing, working out and volunteering with kids. He loves meeting new people and sharing stories.
The Rev. Dr. Martha S. Jacobi, LCSW-R — Pastoral Associate
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Pastor Jacobi was baptized into a congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; confirmed into a congregation of the former American Lutheran Church; and after a family move, became a member of a congregation of the former Lutheran Church in America, into which she was ordained in 1981. She has served in a variety of congregational and agency-based ministries throughout the territory of the Metropolitan New York Synod.
Her academic work has been diverse, including an A.B. in ballet and mathematics from Duke University; an M.Div. focusing on parish ministry and mission re-development and an S.T.M in pastoral theology from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg; an M.S.S.W. from Columbia University School of Social Work; and a Ph.D. from International University for Graduate Studies and Charisma University in clinical psychology.
At Saint Luke’s, Pastor Jacobi supports the overall ministry of the Senior Pastor and the congregation. She participates regularly in worship leadership and general congregational life, provides pastoral care, and teaches adult education classes.
Pastor Jacobi is married to James Carter Cathcart. Their blended family includes adult children Stephanie Roche, Carter Cathcart and Mackenzie Cathcart — and kitties Bella, LydaRose, Cleo and Clem.
In addition to his work at Saint Luke’s, he serves as Precentor and Music Director of the traditional Latin Mass community at the historic Church of the Holy Innocents in the Garment District, Music Director of the Catholic Campus Ministry at Columbia University, and Organist and Choir Director of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun of Short Hills, New Jersey, the largest and one of the oldest synagogues in the Garden State. He has held similar positions in congregations in the New York area over a period of 40 years.
Pedro is a faculty member of the School of Sacred Music of Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. A graduate of Stony Brook University, Pedro studied organ with Meredith Elaine Baker and Anne Wilson, conducting with Marguerite Brooks, liturgy and sacred music at the Royal School of Church Music in England, and Gregorian Chant at the Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes in France.
His vocal and instrumental compositions and arrangements have been premiered by One World Symphony and the choirs of Temple Emanu-El; Temple B’nai Jeshurun; Temple Rodef Shalom of Falls Church, Va.; and the Church of the Holy Family (United Nations) in New York City, as well as at Syracuse University.
In 2009 he was named a Fellow and Choir Master of the American Guild of Organists and was awarded both the Choir Master Prize and the prestigious S. Lewis Elmer Award.
The Rev. Paul D. Schmiege — Pastor Emeritus
Pastor Schmiege was called as the senior pastor of Saint Luke’s in 2000, and retired on January 7, 2018. He was the seventh pastor in the history of Saint Luke’s, founded in 1850. Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, both his father and grandfather were Lutheran clergy as well.
His academic work includes an undergraduate degree in German and Greek from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana; an M.Div. from Concordia Seminary, now located in Ft Wayne, Indiana; and a Th.M. in early church history from Harvard Divinity School.
He was ordained in 1973 in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and has served parishes in Westminster, Massachusetts; New York City; Seaford, Long Island; and London, England.
He is married to Constance Duever and they are the proud parents of daughter, Stephanie, and son, Philip.
In his service to Saint Luke’s he sought to guide the congregation’s strong liturgical and music tradition, and maintain its important community outreach through its Soup Kitchen and Clothing Bank ministries. His interest in adult education was evident in the development of a range of Bible studies and in the semi-annual retreat programs that began under his guidance.