Cohort 2 (2017-2018) | Cohort Participants


Rev. Kristin Berglund

Rev. Kristin Berglund

St. Peter Lutheran Church, Sheboygan

Kristin Berglund is the pastor at St. Peter Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Sheboygan, WI.  After her ordination in 2007, she served as an associate pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Davenport, IA for five years and then as an interim pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, WI for two years.  In 2016, Kristin received a M.S. degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Mount Mary University.  She also has a M.Div. degree from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and a B.S. degree in Physical and Environmental Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Her passions include: spending time with family; reading; camping and outdoor ministry; involving children in worship; middle and high school ministry; traveling to visit friends; seeing God in daily life; and playing with her nieces.



Rev. Yamid Blanco

Rev. Yamid Blanco

St. Joseph, Lyons; St. Charles Borromeo & St. Mary, Burlington

My name is Yamid Jose Blanco Ariza. I was born and grew up in Colombia. I have one brother and three sisters. I am the youngest. My entire family lives in Colombia.

In 1994 I graduated from High School. Immediately I finished high school, I enrolled in the Police Corps. I worked with the Police for four years. In 1998, I moved to Bogota city to study to be a lawyer. It was when studying law that I decided to enter the seminary. I joined a religious order called “The Missionaries of the Company of Mary” whose founder was Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort, a French Roman Catholic priest. I was with them for three years.

After I finished Philosophy I decided to take an experience outside the seminary. During that time I got to know the Archdiocese of Milwaukee through a Colombian Priest friend of mine who was already serving here. A year later the vocation office of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee sent me an invitation to come here. Once I arrived in Milwaukee the vocation director sent me to Sacred Heart School of Theology to learn the English Language. I took classes in ESL for a year and then began studying Theology for four years. I was ordained a priest on May 19, 2012.

After ordination the Archbishop sent me to serve as an Associate Pastor at St. Francis Borgia Church in Cedarburg, WI. St. Francis Borgia was my first parish school. I say so because it was there where I learned how to be a parish priest. I am still learning because every day brings a new learning experience. However, when I went to St. Francis Borgia I was like a little boy who just enters 4K and when I left SFB and moved to Burlington I was like in first grade. In June of 2014 I moved to Burlington to serve the Burlington-Lyons churches - St. Mary, St. Charles Borromeo and St. Joseph. These are the churches I am still serving at. I am very thankful to the people of St. Francis Borgia and the people of St. Mary, St. Charles Borromeo and St. Joseph because more that parish communities to serve what I found was a family to join.

I am grateful to God for the gifts of life and priesthood and to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for all the support and love.



Rev. Heidi Borkenhagen

Rev. Heidi Borkenhagen

Grace Lutheran Church, Grafton

I grew up the youngest of three kids.  I was born in Iowa but had moved 4 times by my 8th birthday, when we finally settled in the Chicago suburbs.  As a result of moving so much, I learned the importance of looking out for and including those on the "outside."  I felt very at home in church, spending lots of time there and also going to church camps every summer.  I attended Luther College, which I consider one of the best decisions I've ever made.  I explored my call and the world's needs there, and graduated with a psychology degree.  After spending a year as a live in nanny for four children I began my MDiv studies at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.  I did my internship in St. Louis working mainly in campus ministry, and when I graduated was called to Grace Lutheran Church in Grafton.

I am honored to share God's love in this world.  I enjoy parish ministry because I get to work with people of all ages, and have a unique role and opportunity to share God's love in the good and bad times of their lives.  From a very young age I've considered myself a feminist, and creating a world that is a better place for women and all people has been the motivation for much of what I do. I am constantly challenged personally and professionally by the gospel.  I am excited to consider how we as the church can be faithful to Christ's call to work for justice by what we do both in and outside of Sunday mornings.



Rev. Gideon Buya

Rev. Gideon Buya

Holy Name and St. Clement's, Sheboygan

My name is Father Gideon Buya. I am a priest of the archdiocese of Milwaukee. I was born and raised in Kenya (coastal region), and completed most of my education there.

I moved to the Dominican Republic from Kenya for two years as part of my discernment journey with the Community of St. Paul. In the Dominican Republic I was based at the sister parish of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee named La Sagrada Familia. Working at La Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) was powerful and eye-opening experience for me. I was involved in some of the outreach endevors of the parish like the parish nutritional centre, catechesis programs, empowerment projects for the parish families, etc. The experience of seeing and living the liberating power of the gospel was very profound.

From the Dominican Republic I moved to Milwaukee and was admitted to St. Francis de Sales Seminary to continue my discernment journey to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. I was ordained to the priesthood in May 2014. I was assigned as the Associate Pastor at St Mary Catholic Faith Community, Hales Corners for the first two years of my priesthood. Thereafter, I was reassigned to Holy Name and St. Clement parishes in Sheboygan as Associate Pastor. I have the privilege here in Sheboygan to serve both the Anglo and the Hispanic communities. Serving in our parochial school, leading our communities in prayer, reaching out to the needy of our city and walking with our families, in both their joys and trying times has been a joy to me.





Rev. Mary Carlin

Rev. Mary Carlin

Mary Carlin was ordained as a teaching elder (minister) in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2014. Having served in various interim/ bridge pastorates in the greater Milwaukee area, she currently works in a free lance capacity and enjoys preaching, writing and traveling. Mary holds an MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary (2010) and is presently pursuing a D.Min. at McCormick.

Some of her current roles in the community include serving as a cabinet member for the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, as well as being a member of both the Unity and Relationships Commission for the Wisconsin Council of Churches and the Commission on Ministry for the Presbytery of Milwaukee. She also enjoys volunteering as an assessor for social interactions at Alverno College. Prior to her call into pastoral ministry, Mary worked in the corporate sector as an independent contractor. This work significantly influenced her understanding for building relationships as the foundation for working together.

Mary has lived in Milwaukee for nearly twenty years with her spouse, Jude, where they raised their three children. She believes in the power of story to build bridges of understanding and respect, and seeks to cultivate safe places where people can share their stories in varying cultural contexts.



Rev. Angela Khabeb

Rev. Angela Khabeb

Ascension Lutheran Church, Waukesha

The Rev. Angela T. Khabeb is a Lutheran pastor serving on staff at Ascension Church in Waukesha, WI. Angela, a Bridges Scholar, completed seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago where she won the James Kenneth Echols Prize for Excellence in Preaching. At Ascension, she serves as an Associate Pastor and shares the Ministry of Word and Sacrament with the Senior Pastor. Angela also enjoys other responsibilities like providing pastoral oversight for the Small Group Ministry as well as the Grief Support Ministry. In this dynamic congregation, she is also active with the Mission Outreach team and is delighted to deepen relationships with ministry partners in Tanzania, El Salvador, and Milwaukee through the ELCA model of accompaniment.

Pastor Angela completed her undergrad at Carthage College in Kenosha. She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska but has lived in many other cities like, Chicago, Denver, Kenosha, and Springfield, MO. From 2000-2002 she was an ELCA missionary in Namibia, Africa where she met and married her husband, Benhi. Benhi and Angela have been married for sixteen years and they have three wonderful children Konami, Khenna, and Khonni. In their spare time, this vibrant family enjoys world music, creative writing, leisurely walks, and bike riding. Pastor Angela is eager to enhance her ministry career through Marquette’s Pastoral Leadership in a Cultural Context program.



Rev. Peter Patrick Kimani

Rev. Peter Patrick Kimani

St. Michael, Shorewood;
St. Rose, All Saints & St. Martin de Porres, Milwaukee

Fr. Peter Patrick Kimani is a Kenyan native arrived to the US in 2010 and started his studies and St. Francis De Sales Seminary and Sacred Heart. He was assigned to St. William in Waukesha as his teaching parish for four years until he was ordained. Second year summer went to train for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). His chaplaincy assignment took him to Chicago for half a semester. He spent time in the Archdiocesan Mission Parish in the Dominican Republic (without knowing Spanish!). Father met each challenge with his wonderful sense of humor and ingenuity. After his ordination to priesthood in 2014, Father Peter Patrick was assigned as Associate Pastor at both St. Robert’s Shorewood and Holy Family Parishes Whitefish Bay for the past two years. At Archbishop Lesticki’s personal request, he is now assigned as a shared Associate Pastor at St. Michael and St. Rose, All Saints and St. Martin de Porres; working with two Pastors; Fr. Rafael Rodriguez and Fr. Bob Stiefvater respectively and Fr. Tim Kitzke as the Administrator.



Rev. Kevin McManaman

Rev. Kevin McManaman

St. Joseph Church, Big Bend

I was born and raised in Cudahy, Wisconsin. After graduating from high school I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison with dreams of entering the medical field. However, God had other plans for me. During my first couple of years in university I had a conversion experience that had me coming back into the practice of the Catholic Faith. Also, within my first year at the University it became clear that the medical field was not for me, so I switched to History; a lifelong passion. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology. I had also begun to discern a vocation to the priesthood.

After a few years of discernment I entered St. Francis De Sales Seminary in Milwaukee in the Summer of 2005. I graduated with a Master if Divinity degree and, more importantly, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in May 2011. My first parish assignment was as the shared Associate Pastor with St. Robert of Newminster Parish in Shorewood and Holy Family Parish in Whitefish Bay. These two parishes provided my first taste and experience of parish priesthood. I had many profoundly formation pastoral experiences in my three years in service to the great people of those parishes.

In June 2014 I was assigned as the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Big Bend Wisconsin (that's located between Muskego and Mukwonago in Waukesha County). This parish is in a community that is slowly transitioning from rural to suburban. This is my first experience in administration and management and I can't begin to list how many things that I have learned in these two and a half years and I feel I am still learning!



Rev. Arul Ponnaiyan

Rev. Arul Ponnaiyan

St. Paul, Milwaukee & Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Francis

I am Fr. Arul Ponnaiyan, was born in Kolundirampattu, a small town in the state of Tamilnadu in South India. My town is home to 65 % Catholics and we are a third generation Catholics. My ancestors were evangelized by the MEP missionaries (Mission Paris Foreign Missions Society). I have two older brothers, two younger sisters, seven nieces and a nephew and 49 cousins. My dad served as a primary school principal for 35 years and he is home with God now and my mom is home maker and she has always been a reflection of St. Mother Teresa for me. I received Catholic education and went on to graduate from a Jesuit college in B.A. Philosophy. My desire for priesthood started from my high school. I spent years of seminary formation with the Society of African Missions in India, Philippines, and in Kenya. In 2001, my path changed as I decided to pursue law. After graduating from the law school I started practicing law in the High Court of Chennai, India for five years.

My desire for priesthood took me back to Kenya for another six months which I spent in the missions. It was a time of discernment where I came to discover that God was calling me to be an intentional disciple. And I was convinced that priesthood was the best way to fulfill that discipleship. So with the guidance of Bishop Harrington and with the help of the Missionary Community of Saint Paul I applied to the archdiocese of Milwaukee and got accepted in 2010. I received four more years of seminary formation and graduated in MDiv (Master of Divinity) in 2013 and was ordained on the 18th of May, 2013. Then I was appointed as an associate pastor at Holy Apostles form June 2013 to June 2016. Holy Apostles will always remain a holy place in my life. I miss the parishioners, their love, bond and friendship. They have helped me deepen my faith, my discipleship and my love for God. I am glad to find a new family now in St. Paul and Sacred Heart of Jesus and hope to journey in my discipleship with the people of these two parishes. I look forward with great hope that with the help of these people of God we will build a community of love.



Rev. Brandon Robinson

Rev. Brandon Robinson

Canaan Missionary Baptist Church, Milwaukee

Brandon Robinson is an Associate Minister at Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee, WI. He holds and M.DIV and Doctors of Theology from Grace Christian College and Theological Institute. Brandon also holds a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Human and Social Services from Springfield College. After completing his education Brandon accepted the call as Youth and Young Adult/ Associate at Canaan Missionary Baptist Church. Brandon is a member of the associates’ minister conference of the General Baptist State convention of Wisconsin. Brandon serves as the Co-Director of the Young People Department for the General Baptist State convention of Wisconsin. Brandon is a certified instructor for the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. teaching Spiritual Formations and the New Testament survey.

Brandon serves his community as a Social Worker at the Guest House of Milwaukee. In his role he assists families in gaining permanent housing and connects them to clinical services. Brandon’s goal is to bridge the gap between the Youth and Young Adult and Elder Population of the Church. He plans to do this through activities that would give both groups and better perspective as well and work in the community and provide outreach opportunities for both groups. Brandon is married to Tiffany Robinson.



Rev. Matthew Schlake-Kruse

Rev. Matthew Schlake-Kruse

St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Milwaukee

The Rev. Matthew Schlake-Kruse is in his third year as Pastor at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa, where his specific responsibilities involve adult education, evangelism and new member outreach, social ministry and advocacy, as well as other pastoral responsibilities. He previously served a rural congregation near Madison, WI, after graduating from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.

Pastor Schlake-Kruse has interests in Old Testament Theology, teaching biblical reading principles, reinterpreting Martin Luther in contemporary language, and the intersection of economics, faith, and justice. He is chair of the board of Lutheran Campus Ministry in Milwaukee and serves on the Cabinet of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee. He is married to the Rev. Delaney Schlake-Kruse and enjoys reading, racquetball, and the St. Louis Cardinals.



Rev. Stacy Seger

Rev. Stacy Seger

Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Kenosha

I grew up in northern MN. My family was active at a very small country Lutheran church. I earned a BA from the University of Minnesota @ Morris in Psychology and Liberal Arts for the Human Services. I began working as a social worker right out of college. In order to move closer to family, I took a job as a broker in Minneapolis. I passed all the required exams and became a licensed stock broker for Lutheran Brotherhood. When they merged with Aid Association for Lutherans, I found myself without a job. When I was panicking, my mom reminded me of my call to seminary.

I graduated from Luther Seminary in 2008 with my MDiv. My first congregation was a small church in NW Arkansas; the "buckle of the Bible belt", I like to say. Being a progressive, liberal, female Lutheran posed it's challenges; but it was 5 years full of learning and growth for my ministry. I am currently serving my 2nd congregation here in SE Wisconsin.

My husband, Silas, and I have 2 kids; Sam & Sophie and we live in Kenosha, where Silas owns his own architectural firm.



Rev. Matthew Short

Rev. Matthew Short

St. Luke Lutheran Church, Slinger

My name is Matthew Short, and I am a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I currently serve as the pastor of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Slinger, WI. Slinger is a small town outside of Milwaukee, known locally for its 1/4 mile racetrack (the "Slinger Speedway") and the closest ski hill to Milwaukee.

While I have a deep appreciation for the beauty of the Midwest, I am a Southwestern guy at heart. I was born and raised in Lake Havasu City, Arizona; a town that often nabs the dubious honor of being the "hot spot of the nation" during the summer weather forecasts (our record set was 128 degrees in the summer of 1994). Lake Havasu is a river town, right on the banks of the Colorado, so I still love boating, swimming, and all things water-related!

I share this because my upbringing in the Southwest has a deep impact on how I approach ecumenical and interfaith relationships. In the Southwest, no denomination has a stronger foothold than any other. My hometown is an eclectic mix, with each denomination having one church present, but very few having more than that. The town is geographically isolated (a characteristic of Arizona), which means all the denominations simply have to work together. This is still my default, and ecumenical efforts are still one of my greatest sources of joy in ministry. I look forward to getting to know the others in this cohort, and the stories that bring you to this experience as well!



Rev. Steven Tipton

Rev. Steven Tipton

Holy Cathedral Church of God in Christ, Milwaukee

Steven is the proud husband of Dr. Marica Tipton and together they celebrate the life of their son, Steven C. Tipton II. Elder Tipton obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University in Psychology, Sociology, Theology and Philosophy. He has also received a Masters of Business Administration Degree from the University of Phoenix. His entrepreneurial career led him to become the Founder of his own Evangelistic Ministry and CEO of Visions Mortgage Company, Inc. Through his Evangelistic Ministry he has helped Pastors, churches and community leaders across The United States of America. Visions Mortgage Company, Inc. was voted as one of the Future Fifty companies by The Milwaukee Metropolitan Association Commerce (MMAC).

Steven is the co-founder of a social service agency, Eulopia Family Service Inc. Further, he is a sought out Financial Advisor. Currently he serves in various leadership positions on the National and local level. Steven is the Dean for the Elder Academy for the National Pastor and Elder Counsel under Chairman Michael Eddy. His local church is Holy Cathedral Church of God in Christ, where he is an assistant to The Bishop Charles H. McClelland Jurisdictional Prelate of Wisconsin Northwest, and the Chairman of Auxiliary In Ministry (AIM). He serves nationally as the Dean of NJAC, National Jurisdiction of AIM Chairmen. In addition he is the Host of the “Empowerment Hour” Radio Broadcast on JOY 1340, as well as the host for “Joy in Our Town” on Trinity Broadcasting Network TBN. He presently is pursuing his Doctorate. The favor and anointing of the Holy Ghost is on his life to minister to Saints and Sinners. His professional affiliations include: Adjunct Professor at various Universities, the National Association Security Dealers (NASD)®, Registered Representative of Country Trust Bank, Investment Solutions Representative Designation, and Accredited Residential Manager from the National Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM)®.