Pastor Ben Buchanan was called as the Lead Pastor at Zion in April 2019. He previously served as Associate Pastor from August 2013. Born in St. Paul and raised in Duluth, Pastor Ben graduated from North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, and Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, PA. While attending school, Pastor Ben served in the United States Air National Guard, enlisted as a Chaplain Assistant and later commissioned as a Chaplain Candidate. He met his wife, Lisa, at seminary before moving back to MN. Pastor Ben's first call began at Hope Lutheran in Embarrass and later expanded to include Evangelical Lutheran in Babbitt. Ben and Lisa are the proud parents of twins, Alexander and Scarlett.
Worship & Music Ministry
Worship and Music Director Patty Dorn arrived at Zion in June of 2017. She taught music and directed choirs in Duluth for the past twenty years, to include elementary schools and colleges, Lake Superior Youth Chorus, and her home church, First Lutheran. For the most recent eight years, she taught classes and directed choirs at Lake Superior College. Patty is a graduate of University of Minnesota Morris and University of Minnesota Duluth. She and her husband, Harley, have four grown children and two yet-growing grandsons.
Children, Youth & Family Ministry
Sonja Nelson coordinates and leads the middle and high school ministry, connecting children and youth to the life of the congregation. As a life-long Lutheran, Sonja grew up in Minnesota and Colorado. Her ministry of over 25 years has led her to communities in Colorado, South Dakota and Minnesota. While in Colorado, she received her Masters of Arts in Youth and Family Ministry at Denver Seminary. Sonja loves spending time with her family at her parent's cabin, taking trips to Disney World and connecting with friends across the country.
Tiina joined the staff in December of 2012. She and her husband, Lyle, have two grown children and one in heaven, two precious grandchildren and a fluffy golden retriever. Tiina has worked for two other ELCA churches in the past and is a graduate of Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. She and Lyle are originally from farther up north--Tower, MN, where they enjoy spending time on Lake Vermilion. She especially loves spending time with family and doing art and craft projects.