Pastor Amanda Kempthorne

Amanda served as solo pastor in North Pole Alaska and was pastor to Santa Claus! Amanda experienced a lot over the 13 years in Alaska from serving on local nonprofit board of directors, Cluster Dean, Synod Council, and working closely with both the Army and Airforce. Amanda attended Northwestern Bible College and Luther Seminary. She joined the team at Salem in 2022 and is excited to work with the youth and families in our community.
Amanda’s work is to join the Spirit of God to nurture spiritual growth within people. Whether that’s teaching the basics of Christian faith, planning and leading worship that engages head and heart, speaking God’s grace in our troubles, building community, or just listening, it’s all possible because God is already doing that work.  


Grace Reininger, Office Manager

Grace joined the staff of Salem Lutheran Church at the end of  September as our Office Manager! She brings experience in creating visual displays, managing calendars, and organizing information. Grace grew up in a small town in central Wisconsin and recently graduated from Winona State University with a Communication Studies major.
Grace’s work with her internship working with nonprofits, helping with qualitative leadership research and content creation allow her to work well in this position here at Salem. She is the youngest of 3 and enjoys spending time with her friends and family, along with traveling the world with her mom and best friend. Her favorite place is the moose farm in Sweden, which she got to experience while vising one of her best friends who lives over in Sweden! 

Aimee Watson, Financial Manager

Aimee joined our staff in May of 2023. She and her family of 5 have lived in Ossipee for the last 15 years, and recently moved to Riverton, where they are building a new house on a small mine pit lake.  Aimee stays busy year-round with the many activities her husband and twin sons are involved in, including C-I Fishing League, C-I Basketball, mountain biking, dirt biking, boating and snowmobiling. Her daughter has just completed her degree at UMD and resides in South Dakota. Aimee’s background includes the College of St. Scholastica, many years of Office Management and Small Business Accounting, and Teller experience at BN Credit Union.  She was raised in a small ELCA church outside Backus, MN and feels very much at home at Salem.

Jason Kempthorne, Director of Outreach

Prior to joining the team at Salem Lutheran, Jason was the Executive Director for Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) in Fairbanks Alaska for 8 years.  Has worked closely with the Board of Directors to revamp the existing programs and lead Love INC in the launch of new and exciting programs to serve vulnerable populations in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Under his leadership the organization grew to a multi-million dollar nonprofit with a staff of over 50, and hundreds of volunteers impacting thousands of low income households each year.   

Jason takes a holistic approach; in walking alongside those in need on their journey to wholeness. Our goal is to build lasting relationships between volunteers and participants.   

Jason is passionate about his calling and the capacity of the local church to transform lives and communities. This has driven him in his ministry.  Jason also served as the chair of the Fairbanks Housing and Homeless Coalition and President of the Tanana Valley Christian Conference. Jason received his BA from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He double majored in Religion and family studies and minored in Church professions.  Jason has countless years in church ministry and nonprofit management.  


Kevin Edstrom, Handbell Choir Director and Choir Director

Kevin’s 30 years of handbell ringing started with the New Horizon Ringers at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Hastings MN.  He became interested in all aspects of ringing from the low bass bells all the way to the high trebles.  While attending an American Guild of English Handbell Ringer’s festival, he was introduced to solo ringing and thought he could take on the challenge.  The opportunity arose for Kevin to start up a handbell program for Christ Lutheran and First Congregational Churches in Glencoe, MN where he directed for seven years before moving to Deerwood.  Upon arriving at Deerwood, he found handbells at Salem Lutheran Church, it was a reason to check out Salem.  Kevin now directs the Salem Ringers.  He is also the Northern Minnesota Sub-chair for the Area 7 Handbell Musicians of America.  If anyone has interest in handbell ringing, please contact Kevin via e-mail or leave a message at the church office.   Email Kevin
Becky Klingelhofer, Pianist/Organist and Praise Team Co-Director
Becky joined the Salem staff in August of 2013 as the church pianist/organist. In November of that same year, she accepted the position of co-director of the praise team which involves planning the music for the contemporary service. Along with playing for the services, she accompanies the church choir as well. Becky has played the piano since she was three years old. At age twelve, she became the official pianist at Bethel Lutheran Brethren Church in Aitkin, Minnesota where her dad was the pastor. For the remainder of her life, Becky has been involved with leading music and as church pianist wherever she has lived. Becky and her husband Scott, live in Aitkin and have two grown daughters, Heather and Heidi.
Noreen Steinbrecher, Praise Team Co-Director
Noreen is presently co-director of the Salem Lutheran Church Praise Team. She has been a member of Salem Lutheran Church since 2011. Noreen grew up on a farm near Sharon, ND and was the church organist in a little country church at age 13.  When she was in high school she would play for the service in her church and then ride with the Pastor to the town church and sing in their choir.  Singing solos and performing in small groups all over the community was a passion she shared with some great friends.  After college, Noreen taught in Clinton, MN, Sand Point, AK and Seward, AK and was church organist/pianist in all 3 towns as well as choir director in 2 of them. Music is a very important part of her life and she loves sharing it.