Rev. Maristela Freiberg
Director of Evangelical Mission, New Jersey Synod
Biography: Pastor Maristela Freiberg was born and raised in Brazil. She received a Bachelor’s in Theology and a Master in Practical Theology at the Lutheran School of Theology in São Leopold, RS, Brazil. Pastor Freiberg started her ministry as pastor of the Lutheran Parish of Palmitos, SC, Brazil. In 1997, with her husband Pastor Moacir Weirich, they accepted a call to serve as mission developers at a store front mission start in Newark, which later became St. Stephan’s Grace Community. The congregation is a reference in the community as a hub of grace and hope. People involved in the ministry interact in three languages, English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Since 2013, Pastor Freiberg serves as the Director for Evangelical Mission & Assistant to the Bishop in the New Jersey Synod. Last year, she invited a group of leaders to design Go And – a monthly virtual gathering to learn from each other how to reach out, to listen and build relationships with neighbors, to figure out ways to be church now, and into the future to which God is calling the church. Maristela and Moacir are the parents of two young adult daughters, Francisca and Victoria.
Rev. Christopher Otten
ELCA Churchwide Representative
Biography: Rev. Otten serves as the Assistant to the Presiding Bishop and Director of Federal Chaplaincies. Rev. Otten served nearly twenty-one years as a Federal Chaplain, activated United States Air Force Chaplain, and Air National Guard Chaplain/Federal Technician. He now oversees the 181 ELCA Federal Chaplains who serve the government in the military, Veterans Administration hospitals, Bureau of Prisons, and other Federal Agencies. Beginning in June 2021, he also supports and coordinates for all Chaplains within the ELCA, including hospitals, hospices, and other service agencies. Welcome Pastor Christopher Otten!
Rev. Scott Alan Johnson
Bishop, Nebraska Synod
Biography: The Rev. Scott Alan Johnson was born and raised on a family farm near Wakefield, NE. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary. Prior to being elected bishop of the Nebraska Synod in 2022, he served as pastor of Peace Lutheran Church in Barrett, MN, as campus pastor of the University Lutheran Center at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, as pastor of St. Petri Lutheran Church in Story City, IA, and as Director of Campus Ministries at Midland University in Fremont, NE. Scott and his wife Kristin are the proud parents of two daughters, and they live in Fremont, NE.