Rev. Eric Allan Kleinschmidt was installed as the Sole Pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church on December 11, 2011. Previously Pastor Kleinschmidt had been called on April 24, 2007 to serve as Associate Pastor of the congregation and was installed on July 8, 2007 by the Rev. Arthur R. Burkman. He had also served as Redeemer’s 20th Vicar in 2005-2006. He was ordained on June 24th, 2007 by the Rev. Alden J. Beversdorf at St. John Lutheran Church in Merrill, Wisconsin.
Pastor Kleinschmidt was born and raised in Merrill, Wisconsin. He was baptized and confirmed at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church and School where he attended until the eighth grade. He graduated Merrill Senior High School in 1999 where he was active in Mock Trial, Debate, and the Boy Scouts of America receiving his Eagle Scout Award in 1998. He also won the local VFW Voice of Democracy speech contest during his senior year. He then attended Concordia University Wisconsin graduating cum laude in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministry. He enrolled at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne Indiana, graduating in 2007 with a Master of Divinity degree with a focus on Systematic Theology. During his time at the seminary, Pastor Kleinschmidt served as President of Concordia Toastmasters Club of Toastmasters International, and won the Systematic Theology Department award for his senior paper entitled “A Kantian Perspective on Postmodernity in Relation to the Lord’s Supper and Biblical Truth.”
Pastor Kleinschmidt lives in Dyer with his wife Meghan and their son Judah. In his spare time he likes to destroy parts of his house and then rebuild them, play post-apocalyptic games, and refinish old furniture. He hopes to enjoy a long, fruitful ministry serving the people of God at Redeemer and in the surrounding communities.
Vicar Grant Tapken, is from the small town of Waverly, Iowa, and a member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Waverly. He received bachelor's degrees in religion and classics at the University of Iowa prior to entering the Seminary in Fort Wayne Indiana.
Grant is close to his family, including a younger sister, Emily, who is also in graduate school. Most of his family lives in Iowa, but he also has ties to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and the Fort Wayne area. His interests include hiking,
road trips, classical music, learning languages, and meeting new people by hearing their life stories.
Grant writes: "I also have cerebral palsy, a disability that has affected my life since birth. Yet, I have overcome many obstacles and challenges, resulting in a typical, independent, and active life. I am very open to discussing this and have not let it get in the way of any of my goals or aspirations. I am greatly looking forward to my upcoming year at Redeemer and getting to know each of you. I plan to use the year ahead to learn and shape my future ministry for Christ's service."
Grant Tapken is the 34th Vicar of Redeemer Lutheran Church.
Redeemer sends our prayers and wishes Godspeed to our 2022-2023 vicar Addison Pope as he returns to Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne to complete his Master of Divinity program.
Redeemer sends our prayers and wishes Godspeed to our 2021-2022 Vicar Christian Mundorf, as he pursues his Master of Sacred Theology degree at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.