Pastors and Vicar

  • Steve P. Carlson
    Senior Pastor

    Pastor Steve Carlson has pastored Ruthfred Lutheran Church since 2009, first as Assistant Pastor and then beginning as Senior Pastor in 2013.  He began full time ministry in 1992 as a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on college and university campuses in WI and MN for eight years.  He also pastored three congregations in Minnesota for nine years prior to being called to pastor at Ruthfred Lutheran. 


    Pastor Carlson received a Graduate in Theology degree from the Association Free Lutheran Theological Seminary (Minneapolis, MN), a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies Education from the University of Wisconsin – Superior, as well as a diploma of Biblical Studies from the Association Free Lutheran Bible School.  He is currently in a doctoral program through Trinity School of Ministry (Ambridge, PA). 


    Pastor Carlson has a deep love for the Church, and a passion for preaching, teaching, and sharing the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 


    He has been married to Jennifer for 26 years and they have three children, Ben, Sadie, and Sam.  They have homeschooled their children.  As a special needs family, they have experienced God’s grace and strength in the midst of many ongoing challenges.  Together they enjoy the incredible history of Pennsylvania, the beauty of nature, Pittsburgh sports, reading, trips to the beach, and relationships with many dear friends in church and in the community.

  • Brian Westerbur
    Vicar (Seminary Intern)

    Vicar Brian Westerbur began serving his one-year vicarage at Ruthfred in May of 2019 to complete his 4 years of seminary training at the Association Free Lutheran Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN). He grew up in Ihlen, Minnesota, a town of 60 people, in a family with 2 older sisters and loving parents. He grew up with a love for nature, music, traveling, and professional Minnesota sports. He spent much of high school in band where he played euphonium into college, and boy scouting, attaining Eagle Scout merit in 2007. He was a history and classics major at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter MN, where he met his wife Allie, an English major. They were married in 2013 and moved to Appleton, Wisconsin where he became a youth and young adult ministry coordinator at a Lutheran church there. They have enjoyed trips overseas and discovering local restaurants, coffee shops, and farmers markets.

    In 2016 they discerned a call to prepare for ordained ministry, and he began schooling at Association Free Lutheran Theological Seminary. In April 2017 his father was diagnosed with brain cancer, and one year later he passed away. The pain was great as he had a deep love for his dad, but through the whole process he saw God at work in his heart and in his dad's, and God was glorified even in tragedy.

    Vicar Westerbur and his wife Allie were thrilled to find they were assigned to Ruthfred for internship. They have seen God at work through their marriage as he calls them to new ministries, and he is excited and honored to be a part of Ruthfred's church family.


Support Staff

  • Paula Mikulan
    Office Manager

    Paula began as Ruthfred’s Office Manager in 2002 serving many roles, including receptionist, bulletin coordinator, designer and printer, as well as many other administrative and managerial roles.  She and her husband Paul became members of Ruthfred Lutheran Church in 1990. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh. She has 2 grown daughters, and 2 adorable grandchildren. She travels frequently visiting their daughters and family.

  • Ron Thorhauer

    Ron has served as Ruthfred’s business manager since 2013.  Born and raised in Bethel Park, he has been part of the Ruthfred Lutheran circles for most of his life, officially joining in 1989.  He and his wife have 3 children, 4 grandchildren and one great grandchild.  In his free time, he enjoys woodworking. 

  • Patricia Lutz
    Administrative Assistant

    Patricia “Pat” joined the Ruthfred ministry team in 2017 to serve under the broad heading of Administrative Assistant.  In this role, she is responsible a number of clerical duties, but also assists in planning and executing ministry events and serves in the visitation ministry. 


    Prior to serving at Ruthfred, she served as a sole commissioned lay pastor in Taylorstown, PA for 23 years.  She and her husband, Bob, joined Ruthfred in 2015.  They have been married for over 50 years, and have two children, and three grandchildren.  In her free time, she enjoys all types of needlework, sewing and decorating.

  • Brandon Fouks
    Youth Director

    Brandon has served as Ruthfred’s Youth Minister since 2015.  He is responsible for creating and overseeing activities for the youth of the church, striving to encourage the youth to cultivate their personal relationship with Jesus.


    Born and raised on the family farm in Deer Park WI Brandon has been doing youth work since he was 16 years old. In 2011 he graduated from the Association Free Lutheran Bible School in Plymouth Mn, after which he entered a one year program with a focus on youth ministry training.


    Before accepting the call as the Youth Director of Ruthfred Lutheran Church Brandon worked as a maintenance personnel, diesel mechanic, and finally as a well driller. In his free time Brandon enjoys working on and riding motorcycles, cooking, gardening, camping and spending time with his wife and partner in ministry Bekah.

  • Andrew Vogel
    Multi-media Coordinator

    Andrew has served as Ruthfred Lutheran Church’s multi-media coordinator since 2018. Born and raised in Mt. Lebanon, he grew up in the church and has been involved in a variety of Ruthfred’s ministries. He received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Grove City College. As Ruthfred’s multi-media coordinator, Andrew coordinates the church’s website, multi-media equipment, and various other technology needs. In his free time, he enjoys ballroom dancing and playing cello.

  • Lauren Compel
    Kids Time Co-Coordinator
  • Denise Stutzman
    Kids Time Co-Coordinator


Music Programs


Nursery School

  • Erin Campion
  • Beth Blanc