Congregation Calls Annemarie Burke as Pastor


Esperanza will begin 2021 with a new pastor, Annemarie Burke.

The congregation voted to call Pastor Annemarie at a special meeting on December 12, following three well attended Zoom meet-and-greet receptions where the pastor and members chatted and got acquainted.

“Esperanza is thrilled to have Pastor Annemarie guide our forward journey,” said Michelle Tinsley, council president. “Her discerning approach and ability to include all points of view will enable us to build on our strong foundations. I look forward to serving her and the congregation through this transition.”

“I’m so very glad to be coming to serve with all of you at Esperanza,” said Pastor Annemarie. “You are beautifully poised for ministry and outreach in the community, and I’m so looking forward to joining you as we step together with Christ into new beginnings.”

Next steps are still being worked out, but Pastor Burke is expected to begin her ministry with us in mid- to late-January. Interim Pastor Paul Campbell will continue to serve until Pastor Annemarie is on board. The congregation is deeply grateful for Pastor Paul’s ministry during our transition, and he will be missed.

Pastor Burke is currently serving as the interim pastor at Central Lutheran Church, which has two congregations – one in Arizona City and one in Casa Grande. From 2017 until May of this year she was the Associate Pastor for Worship and Administration at Mountain View Lutheran Church, our neighbor in Ahwatukee. Prior to that she served as the solo pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church in Novato, California; associate pastor at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, Louisville, Colorado; and solo pastor at Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Pastor Burke grew up in Tucson – quite literally, she said, in Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. Her mother played the organ there, and her father sang in the choir. She was active in the youth group and participated in service trips to the Navajo Nation even after she was in college.

After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Arizona, she worked for 10 years in professional positions, including a stint in Tanzania for Wycliffe Bible Translators. After returning home to recover from malaria, she felt called to enter the ministry. She received a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2005.

Pastor Steve retired in October 2019, and the congregation was served by Interim Pastor Carol Breimeier through July, followed by Pastor Paul. The congregation elected the call committee in May of this year. Members included Jim Gisselquist, Beth Leaf, Brian Cantoni, Tom Vega, Jim Nelson, Tyler Wilis, Paige Somero and Ron Tuszynski.

The committee met weekly through the summer and fall. In November, the committee recommended Pastor Annemarie to the council executive committee. After a successful meeting with the staff, Pastor Annemarie met the council, which then voted to recommend that the congregation extend the call.

Pastor Annemarie will be Esperanza’s fifth minister, following founding Pastor David Risendal, Pastor Jeff Ruby, Pastor Pam Challis and Pastor Steve Hammer.

Welcome Pastor Annemarie!