Merger Steering Committee

Pastor Amandus Derr has served as the Interim Senior Pastor of Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church since 2021. He retired in June 2020 after 46 years of pastoral ministry, 23 years as senior pastor of Grace Lutheran Church and School, Teaneck, in New Jersey and 23 years as senior pastor of Saint Peter’s Church, midtown Manhattan in New York. He and his wife Carole moved to Spring, Texas in August 2020 and joined Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church immediately. Pastor Derr is a graduate of Concordia College, Bronxville, New York and Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Indiana. He received a Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Hebrew from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, and a Doctor of Ministry in Moslem-Christian relations from the Divinity School at Drew University.

Pastor Beth Marie Halvorsen has served Memorial Drive Lutheran Church since the middle of August 2018 as an Intentional Interim. A graduate of St. Olaf College, Luther Seminary, and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (DMin), she has served congregations in Galveston, Austin, and Greater Houston since 1984. She also teaches for Lutheran Transitional Ministry Association (LuTMA) and continues to build upon her doctoral work, “Centered Flexibility.”

Chris Eklof is a Certified Public Accountant with over twenty years of corporate financial experience. Chris and his wife, Linda, along with their daughters Stephanie and Elizabeth, have been members of Christ the King for approximately 13 years. Chris has supported and participated in various youth initiatives including Lutherhill service days and chaperoning events. Throughout the years, Chris has shared his “musical talents” as a bellringer and looks forward to coming down from CTK’s bell tower to experience the outside world and contribute towards the future of our congregation.

Alicia Goodrow is a corporate and tax lawyer who represents private companies in business transactions including mergers & acquisitions, raising capital, and formation of new entities. She has represented Bach Society Houston, the Christ the King Foundation, and Christ the King Lutheran Church in corporate governance, contracts, and general business matters. She and her husband, Henry, and young adult children Haley and Zach have been members of CTK for more than 2 decades. She is active in the choir, nominating committee, House Church, and camping ministry.

Tor Kragas and his wife Elizabeth first joined Christ the King in 1980 while he was a graduate student at Rice. After moving to Tulsa in 1985, they returned to Christ the King in 1999. Tor has been involved in Campus Ministry, CTK’s homeless ministry, Witness Cadre, teaching Sunday School, Houston Food Bank volunteering, the Financial Review Committee, and most recently as Financial Secretary for CTK.

Russell Post and his wife Stephanie joined Christ the King in 1996 when Russell was a new lawyer and Stephanie was a graduate student at Rice. They have raised two daughters, Hatley and Audrey, at CTK. Russell has served in a variety of capacities, including a term as president of the Congregation Council; he currently serves as the president of the Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church New Foundation.

Karen Whitefield is a pharmacist currently switching careers to be a middle or high school science teacher. Karen and her husband Chris have been members at Memorial Drive Lutheran Church for 10 years. Karen has been consistently involved in youth ministry and/or council positions and is currently council president. Karen has two daughters (ages 20 and 13) and an 18 year-old son. She is interested in caring ministries (she is a Community of Hope lay caregiver), intercessory prayer, being outside, and hopes to be a small-scale organic farmer.

Janet Zaozirny worked in psychiatric nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, nursing instructor and in administration before retiring after 20 years with United Behavioral Health. She has been a Memorial Drive Lutheran Church member since 1965. She and her husband, Clarence, were one of the first couples to be married in MDLC’s sanctuary. She has served several terms as Council President and in other Council positions. She currently participates in Christ the King’s Circle of Care as a Lay Chaplain.

Seniority: Janet (1965), Tor (1980), Alicia (1990~), Russell (1996), Chris (2009~), Karen (2011~), Beth Marie (2018), Mandy (2020)