CHURCH OFFICE: 602.265.3394



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Benjamin Olmedo

Deana Cortes


Revered Lara Forbes - Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church

Reverend Lara Forbes of Mount Vernon, Washington, attended the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago where she received her Master of Divinity degree in 2009. After majoring in both Spanish and Political Science at Central Washington University in 1991, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Education from Northern Arizona University in 1995. During the years between college and seminary, she worked as a manufacturing engineer for the Boeing Company for seven years, as a missionary for two years in Costa Rica for the ELCA, where she gained added fluency in Spanish, and as a sales associate in her seminary’s book store.

Pastor Lara was ordained in October of 2010.

She obtained her teaching parish experience (ten hours per week) in a Chicago bilingual (English/Spanish) congregation much like Faith and she served as a Vicar/Intern with the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rahway, New Jersey. Her preaching is always gospel centered; and she is excellent with youth and was the driving force in taking a group of youth to New Orleans for an ELCA National Youth Assembly. When asked how she handles stress, her internship pastor and a classmate in the seminary both emphasized that she “takes excellent care of herself” and has a disciplined practice to take time for herself every day.

Her areas of expertise are: Small Group Ministry, Multicultural Ministry, Self-Care/Family Life, Ministry in Daily Life, and Youth and Family Ministry. Her top five areas of strength are: Preaching / Worship Leadership, Teaching, Stewardship, and Social Ministry and Ecumenical Work.


Dr. Craig Westendorf - Director of Music

Born in Waterloo, Iowa and baptized at First Lutheran Church there, Craig enjoyed early exposure to organ and choral music. He has been active as an organist and choir director since the age of 14. Liturgy and church music in practice and in research have been his lifelong vocation.

Dr. Westendorf holds a BM in Organ Performance form the Eastman School of Music, a MM in Music and Liturgy from the University of Notre Dame, and a DMA in Choral Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His dissertation on the Spruchmotette was given the Julius Herford Dissertation Award. In addition he studied musicology at the Universität Erlangen- Nűrnberg, Germany. He has been on the music faculties of both the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois, where he taught musicology and conducted choirs. He has played organ recitals throughout his career in the Midwest, the East Coast, Arizona, California, and northern Germany.

Craig has been active as an organist and choral director in the greater metropolitan Phoenix area for the last 20 years. He founded and directed the Central Phoenix Oratorio Choir, was artistic director of the Grand Canyon Men's Chorale and the Fountain Hills Community Chorus, served as full-time Director of Music at First United Methodist Church, Phoenix, and has performed as organist for the Phoenix Symphony and the Phoenix Bach Choir. He taught at Arizona School for the Arts for 13 years and has just left Central United Methodist Church to assume his duties at Faith. His choirs have performed at ACDA and MENC conventions, and he has published scholarly articles on 17th Century Music as well as organ and choral music. Free time is spent backpacking in the canyon country of southern Utah with his wife, Sue, an accomplished organ recitalist and laureate of American and European organ competitions.



Erik Rehms

Bunni Rowlett

Suzanne Johnstonbaugh

Dave Hulin



Caroline Cerda, Jaime Duarte, Amy Duemler-Tyler, Madaline Hansen, Jan Kuenzli, Gail Turner


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