Phone: (734) 994-4455
Fax: (734) 994-4454

Pastoral Staff

Jim Debner

Pastor Jim Debner, Senior Pastor

Phone Ext.19

Hi, I’m Pastor Jim. I live a life devoted to Jesus and look at life from an eternal perspective. I would love to have time to share God’s love, mercy and grace with your family. I’m so grateful to be a son, a brother, a husband and a dad. I came to Ann Arbor in February 2015 from another exciting Zion Lutheran in CT. I’ve been a pastor scattering seeds of hope for 27 years and have seen God at work in four different ELCA congregations after graduating from Luther Northwestern seminary in St. Paul, MN. My wife, Barbara has been faithfully forgiving me for 31 years. Our two grown children are making a difference in the world and serving their Lord with some amazing talents. We feel so very blessed to experience Ann Arbor and we are looking forward to our first year exploring the miracles of Michigan. Ask me about my 1978 Gold Wing or my passion for being out in nature. But don’t ask me to make any craft projects with glitter.

Vicky Lovell, Assistant Pastor


My name is Vicky Lovell. I am excited to serve as a pastoral intern at Zion Lutheran Church beginning August 1st. My beautiful family will be accompanying me for this new journey. My husband is Erik. He is a former University of Michigan football player from back in the 90s so our house bleeds maize and blue. Our three children are Luke (13), Charlie (12) and Addy (10 ½). All three of them play basketball and football. They enjoy living near the water and spending time fishing and boating. They are pretty great kids!

As for me, I look forward to getting to know all of you! I’m a former educator who taught all ages and abilities in nearly 20 years of teaching and coaching. I heard a call into ministry about five years ago when I started serving as the Director of Family Life at Shalom Lutheran Church in Pinckney. It didn’t take long for me to enroll at Luther Seminary in the distributed learning program to earn my Master’s of Divinity. I plan to graduate in May of 2017. Over the years, the Shalom family grew me as a leader and allowed me to serve as an assistant pastor for the last three years.

A few fun facts about me…I am a Chicago native who went on to play basketball at Marquette University in Milwaukee while earning a bachelors degree in Elementary/Middle School Education. After graduation, I moved to Atlanta to teach in the inner city and earn a masters degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University. After moving to Michigan, I became an award winning author, started a youth center, and created the Uganda Chicken Farm Project to empower women in the villages of Africa. Lastly, I serve as a chaplain at St. Joe’s Hospital where I love giving hope to people in need.

I’m excited to learn more about each of you.
Make sure to introduce yourself to me!

Program Staff


Natalie Emptage Downs

Natalie Emptage Downs, Director of Choirs and Special Music

Phone Ext. 18

Natalie Emptage Downs is the Director of Choirs and Special Music at Zion. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Otterbein University, a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from Michigan State University. Her doctoral research was focused on women in music, specifically the life and works of Pauline Viardot, a famous mezzo soprano of the nineteenth century. Along with her duties at ZLC, Natalie also teaches private voice at Spring Arbor University, directs the Women’s Chorale at Concordia University (Ann Arbor), and performs regularly in recital, opera, and musical theatre productions throughout Michigan. She comes from Trinity Lutheran in Ann Arbor, where she played in the hand bell choir with her husband and performed in the festival choir and praise band. Natalie lives in Dexter with her husband, Trevor, and their daughter, Genevieve. She is excited to be called to join the music ministry at ZLC and invites all musicians to share their talents to make a joyful noise unto the Lord.


Alison Hendricks, Director of Contemporary Worship

Phone Ext. 18

Alison Hendricks is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in trombone performance and music education. She currently teaches band in the Ann Arbor Public Schools at Allen Elementary, Angell Elementary, Scarlett Middle School, and Huron High School. Throughout college, Alison attended Lutheran Campus Ministry at Lord of Light Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, now known as Intersection. As a performer, Alison has participated in a variety of musical groups from concert bands, orchestra pits, garage bands, church ensembles, as well as her involvement in her folk vocal trio and solo performance of her own music. She is excited to become part of the Zion community once again, since she was also confirmed there!


Elgin Clingaman, Zion Organist

Phone Ext. 18

Elgin Clingaman began his musical career by studying the piano in 1968. He graduated from Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan in 1983 with a B.M. in Piano Performance. He then studied organ at the University of Michigan with Marilyn Mason, James Kibbie, and Michele Johns. In 1995, Mr. Clingaman performed in Detroit at the National Convention of the Organ Historical Society. He resides in Ann Arbor and is co-owner of Renaissance Pipe Organ Co., Inc. He was the Dean of the Ann Arbor Chapter of the American Guild of Organists from 1996-2001 and served on the Steering Committees and as Registrar for the Region V AGO Conventions in 1999 (Ann Arbor) and 2009 (Detroit).

Emmeline Weinert

Emmeline Weinert, Wedding Coordinator

Emmeline is the Wedding Coordinator here at Zion. She loves to find the ways in which God is at work in the lives of every person she meets and making room for the sacred in each moment. In 2014 Emmeline graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a double major in Dance and Political Science. After graduating she spent a year in Soweto, South Africa working at the Diakonia AIDS Ministry through the ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission program. Emmeline is an Ann Arbor native and around town she is involved in interfaith and refugee work. She also teaches dance with Hockettes Synchronized Skating Teams and works for the Ann Arbor Group of Thrivent Financial, a Christian financial services organization.

Support Staff


Diane Rinehart, Administrative Assistant

Phone Ext. 10

Diane Rinehart is our Office Administrator. Diane is a graduate of the Detroit Business Institute and majored in marketing. She and husband John have been married for 32 years and tend to their “spoiled” cat Little Orphan Annie. When not working, Diane likes to visit lighthouses – out of 115 in Michigan, she and John have seen approximately 40. They also like to spoil their nieces and nephews by bringing them on vacations. She loves to sing and has been a member of the American Liberty Pop Singers for three years, and she has also been singing in church choirs her whole life. Diane comes to Zion from working as Administrative Assistant at the Southest Michigan Synod ELCA office in Detroit.


David Beck, Finance Director

Phone Ext. 11

David Beck is our Finance Manager and came to Zion in 2008. He grew up in Ann Arbor and in the Lutheran Church and graduated from Huron High School. David started working at Fiegel’s Clothing on Main Street while in high school and worked there full-time after graduation. He earned a BA in Language & International Trade (he speaks German fluently) at Eastern Michigan University and then earned an MBA with a concentration in Finance. David enjoys camping and is ScoutMaster for a local Boy Scout troop, and he also enjoys training his dogs (“the best dogs in the world,” he says), restoring his vintage 1983 BMW motorcycle, and especially, spending time with his family.

Additional Support Staff

Eddie VanRiper Worship Media Coordinator
Anna Dupke,  Lizzy Peters, Anna Peters, Kaili Dence Nursery Attendants
Nina Johnson Sunday School Coordinator
Jessica Rudy Vacation Bible School
Emmeline Weinert Wedding Coordinator
Tyler Dence Soundboard Operator
Chris LaVasseur Custodian
Max Wojewski Weekend Custodian

Church Council

Contact information available through church office.

Dan McConnell President Vicki Matthews Vice President Laura Berry Secretary
Bob Bertrand Treasurer Chris King Gordon Loll
Carrie Morton Bob Thompson Sharon Van Riper
Marc Warwashana                           Members at Large