Pastor Amalia Vagts began as our pastor on November 1, 2021.
Pastor Amalia (she/hers) is passionate about helping others live freely and with joy, in order to share God’s love with neighbors and creation. Drawn to ministry among believers, skeptics, and seekers of all ages, she seeks new ways of telling the true story of God’s love in Jesus Christ for the world. Amalia believes Christ-centered communities recognize, understand, and love us for who we are. This frees us to live transformed lives with love for ourselves and others. As a publicly-identifying bisexual person, Amalia is committed to authentic hospitality, celebrating diversity, and seeking justice for all people.
Pastor Amalia appreciates the rich history, faithful and passionate members, vibrant neighborhood, and promise for the future at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church. The pattern and practice of Lutheran liturgy and music form us and send us out to reveal God in our daily lives. She’s energized by the congregation’s vision of being a loving, inclusive and inviting community in Christ and mission of embracing the future of an ever-changing church and world. As a congregation, we seek to do this by building loving, authentic connections; developing faith through worship and the study of God’s Word; cultivating diversity; caring for others; advocating for justice in our community, nation, and Earth.
Pastor Amalia earned an M.Div at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa and a B.A. in English and Religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Prior to pursuing a call to ordained ministry, she spent over two decades working in the nonprofit sector as an organizer, fundraiser, and executive leader. She’s an active member of Proclaim, a professional community for LGBTQIA+ Lutheran ministry leaders.
Pastor Amalia and her spouse David Lester moved from Decorah, Iowa with their young "chillhuahua" mix, Cholla. They also co-parent three adult humans from David’s first marriage - Oran (he/him), Aidan (he/him), and Finn (they/them), who live in Portland, Decorah, and Chicago. Pastor Amalia and David are excited to explore Tucson’s diverse and eclectic culture, natural spaces, food scene, and to be living closer to family in the Southwest and West. You will find them hiking, wandering the downtown neighborhoods, seeking out live music, and hosting visiting family and friends.
Pastor Amalia warmly invites you to visit Our Saviour's - a comfortable and familiar space located in the heart of Tucson. You are welcome here because of who you are.
Steve joined the OSLC staff in February of 2018, originally as Publications Coordinator, in December of 2021 he took on the Parish Coordinator position. He was born and grew up in Las Vegas, NV, graduating from UNLV in 2005 with a BA in Advertising. He moved to Tucson in 2013 to marry his husband, Darren. He spent the previous decade before joining the OSLC staff in various positions within the banking industry, but is very happy to be back doing what he most enjoys. Steve travels back to Las Vegas monthly to oversee and perform in a successful show he’s run there since 2001. He enjoys traveling, films, books and spending time with his family and terrier, Jack.
Sophia Rankin is Our Saviour’s Music Coordinator, as well as an accompanist and cantor for Sunday worship. She began as a pianist in 2016, then gradually introduced singing into the special music of early morning services throughout the years. In addition to her work at OSLC, she is a multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter with a diverse repertoire that spans the musical genres of folk, pop, rock, and Americana. She has released three original albums: one released in high school, another while attending the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music (from which she graduated in 2020 with a BA in Music), and her most recent in August of 2021. Born-and-raised in Tucson, she debuted her musical talents at the Tucson Folk Festival Young Artists Stage at the age of fifteen and has been creating and performing ever since. Her original music has won her first-place awards at both the 2017 Tucson Desert Song Festival and the 2018 Stefan George Songwriting competition. She now leads her own band, Sophia Rankin & The Sound, which also features her brother as her drummer/percussionist. Along with cover music appropriate to worship, Sophia will occasionally write original pieces for service based off of the gospel or the readings. Outside of the church, she performs nearly every weekend at local live music spots around Tucson, and she is also a regular at annual events such as the Tucson Folk Festival, Dusk Music Festival, Spring Fling, Nova Bowl NYE, and more. Her original music can be found on popular streaming and purchasing services. When she is not performing, she is a private music teacher providing lessons to children and young adults with focuses in guitar, piano, and voice.
David joined the OSLC staff as Campus Caretaker in March of 2022. He is very happy to be here. He moved to Tucson in 2020, having been a correctional officer for the previous 15 years in California. He has a background in security and is grateful to be able to help and fix things around the OSLC campus. His interests include hiking with his family and riding his motorcycle.
Welcome John! We're glad to welcome John Perez as our new Campus Caretaker! John will be working mornings during the week. Please welcome him if you see him around our campus.