Meet Our Staff

Rev. Dr. Patrick Lovejoy

 Pastor Lovejoy joined the family here at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in April of 2021. In 2004 he graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Law from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. In 2009, he completed his Master of Divinity (MDiv.) degree from Concordia Seminary, St Louis, Missouri.  In 2019, he earned his Doctor of Ministry (DMin.) in Marriage and Family Counseling from Denver Seminary, Littleton, Colorado.

Pastor Lovejoy has been married to his wife Sarah since 2008. They have four beautiful children, and as a family they enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. Fishing has always been a part of their life and they look forward to continuing this passion with the children in Minnesota. He has a Harley that he and Sarah enjoy riding any chance they get. As a family they enjoy riding ATVs, dirt bikes, hunting and exploring the countryside. If you get a moment, swing by, and introduce yourself to him. His door is always open. 


Direct: 218-999-4100




My name is Beth Iliff.  I am very happy to be part of First Lutheran’s staff. We joined First Lutheran in June of '22 and are so thankful to have found our church home and such a welcoming congregation. From the first service we attended and each one since, we have been greeted and welcomed First Lutheran style... “Where strangers become neighbors”. It has been a wonderful experience for us. And we look forward to meeting all of you in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, you know where to find me. I know God’s hand is at work as Kevin and I reach each new milestone in Grand Rapids. From finding a nice apartment to live in until we find a house, to joining First Lutheran, to my new position at our church, everything is settling into place as He has planned. Despite the ups and downs of waiting to find our new house, God’s plan has definitely become clearer to me each step of the way. Which helps keep me at ease. As far as me and what I enjoy doing, I love being active and outdoors as much as possible running, snowshoeing, kayaking, and camping. We also have started biking more since moving here. Photography is another hobby of mine. When we lived in Thief River Falls, I took photos for Visit Thief River Falls for use in their visitor guide and website for many years. I also love to take photos of animals and landscapes and anything outdoors. We are big fans of North Dakota State’s football team the Bison. We travel to as many home and away games as possible. We have followed the Bison to games in Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Delaware, Texas and of course Fargo, ND home of NDSU. So, college football season is our thing! Go Bison! Thank you to First Lutheran for the opportunity to serve as the Administrative Assistant. I look forward to meeting you all! ~ Beth 

Left to right: Kevin, Beth, son Shane, daughter Kara and husband Nate Sharp.  

Direct: 218-999-4101

Family Ministry Program Director


Hello Families! My name is Jessica Pellinen and I am the Family Ministry Program Director at First Lutheran. I have been a member since 2006 and been employed since February 2018. I am so blessed to be able to work with families and be a resource to help them grow spiritually. I work with the Board of Education and the Board of Youth to provide quality ministries for the children. I am also a part of the Audio Video team by working directly in the service to social media.  We offer monthly activities for families and the youth. 


Direct: 218-999-4102

Organist/Praise Team Director


Meet Heather Angell. When she is not working her job, or going to school you can find her in the organist loft practicing and coming up with new songs for the Praise Team. She is a leader and goes above and beyond to make sure the church services have the proper music to go with the lessons. God surely speaks to her when finding the music. 






Custodian/ Audio Video Operator

Brad Bensen keeps the church looking meticulous. He is always working on a project whether upkeep, cleaning, or maintaining the property. No matter the size of the job, he will find a way to fix it.  He is also a member of the Board of Elders.

Direct: 218-999-4103