About our Pastor

Rev. Ryan M. Henkel

I grew up in Graymont, Illinois on a farm with my four older siblings and my parents. My wife, Natalie, and I both attended Wartburg College where we met our first year on Valentine’s Day at a bible study. I was very active in the music department at Wartburg. I was in the Wartburg Choir all four years and was their president my senior year.

Throughout college, we worked at Camp Ewalu as counselors and coordinators of various programs. We fell in love with outdoor ministry and each other while working at camp. Our love of camping continued after working at camp. Although we haven’t gone camping as much as we would have liked since being married, we are hoping to get out soon either this fall or next spring. We both graduated in 2017 with Bachelors of Arts. Natalie received a degree in Elementary Education and I received a degree in Religion: Pre-Seminary.   

After getting married on July 1st, 2017 we moved to Conway, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA where I attended seminary at North American Lutheran Seminary/Trinity School for Ministry. I received my Master’s of Divinity in 2019.

We were excited to be back in the midwest for my Vicarage (internship) in Flatville, Illinois to be closer to family and be back in a more rural setting. Natalie was a first-grade teacher, while I was completing my Vicarage.  She has a passion for working with children which showed through her teaching at school and in the Sunday School classroom. At Thanksgiving this past year, we announced to our family and friends that we were expecting and are looking forward to welcoming a little boy into our family at the end of June.After living in Illinois for a year, we were called here to Emmons Lutheran Church in April 2020 to start in June to be your Pastor.

Throughout our almost three years of marriage we have enjoyed cooking, traveling, and visiting national parks/historic sights. We love to spend time in the kitchen cooking and baking together. One of Natalie’s favorite things to make is homemade spaghetti noodles.  One of my favorite things to make is pie because it reminds me of the pies my grandmother used to make at family gatherings. After getting engaged, we bought a National Park Stamp book and have been traveling and obtaining stamps from different historic sights along the way. We recently spent some time in San Francisco where we got several stamps such as seeing the National Seashore, Muir Woods (Redwoods), and the Golden Gate Bridge. Although this is only a snippet of who we are, we look forward to sharing more and getting to know each of you.