Leadership at Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Team Ministry is a group of disciples, bound together under Christ, committed to and working toward a shared vision.

Pastor Abigail Zang Hoffman


Pastor Abigail Zang Hoffman became a co-Pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church at the end of June 2017 after serving as Senior Pastor here since September 2010. She previously served as Pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Elmira, New York.

Born in Buffalo, she grew up mostly in New Orleans and Houston, where she graduated from high school. Her bachelor’s degree is from Cornell University where she was an active member of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Ithaca. She earned a Master of Divinity and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago.

Pastor Hoffman lives with her husband, Kevin, and four children in Fairport. As a family, they enjoy going for walks, riding bikes, swimming, cooking and reading. She fondly remembers a time when she enjoyed sleeping through the night.

The Rev. Amy Walter-Peterson


I am the co-pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, a position I’ve shared with my colleague, the Rev. Abigail Hoffman since June 2017. Congregation-based ministry provides me the opportunity to deepen relationships and work with people who are seeking to grow and live out their faith within the context of community. Together, we listen deeply to God’s call for our lives and seek ways to faithfully embrace that call.

Prior to coming to Bethlehem, I served for six years as the Coordinator for Area Ministry Strategies and Coaching Ministry for my denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Since my ordination in 2003, I’ve held a variety of positions in local congregations as well as on synod staff, all within the Upstate New York Synod.

Outside of work you can find me at The Birdsong Bistro, the name I’ve given to my back porch, overlooking wetland and woods. There I enjoy my morning coffee or evening dinner with my partner, Hans, often with binoculars in hand to get a closer view of the birds and wildlife that share the space with us. Our chirping often centers around the next meal we’ll make or the next trip we’d like to plan!

Music at Bethlehem Lutheran Church

Psalm 100 says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands,” and Lutherans have a rich tradition of music in worship. We are blessed with wonderful musical talent at BLC and we offer opportunities for all who find joy in making music.

Raelynn Clare

Music Director & Organist

Raelynn Clare is excited to join the team of Bethlehem Lutheran Church as Music Director and Organist. She brings with her from sunny southern California extensive experience as a church organist and choir director; performing as soloist and collaborative pianist in chamber music concerts; and teaching in elementary and junior high schools. She was a staunch volunteer for the renowned Ojai Music Festival in the town of Ojai, where she also taught piano and raised three children. Her B.A. in Music is from Whittier College. She is also passionate about youth education and has a M.A. in Education from Azusa Pacific University. In the summer of 2017, she found herself following the music and driving across the country to attend the Eastman School of Music to pursue a M.M. in Organ Performance and Literature. She considers herself a world citizen and has lived in both Asia and America and traveled to several countries in Europe. When her mind is not preoccupied with music, she also enjoys walking, hiking, gardening, and listening to podcasts.

Dr. Jim Jefferis

Director, Chancel Choir

Dr. Jim Jefferis, Chancel Choir Director, has served as the Chancel Choir director since 2008.  He has a bachelor’s degree in voice performance from SUNY Fredonia and a Ph. D. in music theory from SUNY at Buffalo.  Jim grew up as an active church musician in Oxford Presbyterian Church in Oxford, PA.  Prior to coming to Bethlehem Lutheran, he was the choir director at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Fairport and Deerhurst Presbyterian Church in Kenmore, NY.  Since 2001, Jim has been the choir director at Fairport High School, where his choirs have received multiple honors.  He also sings with Madrigalia, a professional chamber choir in Rochester.  Jim lives in Fairport with his wife, Allyson, and their daughters Katherine, Sarah, and Anna.

Support Staff

Sarah Morrissette

Communications and Administrative Support

As the communications manager and admin support, I work to ensure the congregation and greater area community know what is happening at BLC. This includes sending the weekly STAR email newsletter, sharing updates through our social media, managing our website, answering email or phone inquiries, and more.

Prior to my current role, in what seems like a different life, I worked as a clinical trials project manager. More recently, I was a full time stay-at-home mother and enjoyed helping with various volunteer tasks in the BLC community. I was very happy to transition to a remote staff position at BLC while still caring for my two kiddos at home.

Outside of work, I enjoy cooking and baking, vegetable gardening, and all things music, including singing with the BLC Chancel Choir.

Mark Finke

Volunteer and Ministry Support Coordinator (Transitional)

As the BLC Volunteer and Ministry Support Coordinator my role is to help people to become a part of BLC’s ministries that enable them to engage in congregational and community life and equip them for service. This role will also provide hospitality and support to groups using BLC’s facility. Pastor Amy inspired me to take on this challenge when she beautifully described the foundation for this role as “…helping others make positive, supportive and empowering connections.  So that they view Bethlehem as a place that will help them connect…with God, our neighbors & community and the person they want to be.”  

As I reflected on my time at Bethlehem and the ministries, I have been a part of, I felt the power of those connections in my relationship with God, the strength of my Faith and the amazing people I have had the privilege of knowing. I hope and pray that I can serve you so that you too can find and strengthen these connections in your life.

Prior to my current role, I served as a senior manager and educator managing organizational transformation, implementing process-improvements and empowering individual growth.  My role was to help organizations establish a strategic vision, analyze operations, identify opportunities for improvement, design/implement process improvements and inspire team members to pursue new approaches. My focus is always to help others see things from a different perspective and make new connections…in so doing we can individually and collectively find positive and fulfilling opportunities to make a difference for others.

Outside of work you can find me either at my family retreat on Lake George enjoying the contemplative, rejuvenating and restorative essence of this special place or (when I am Fairport) contemplating future projects or gatherings that will make being at “the camp” more relaxing, fun, memorable, and an amazing place to share with family and friends. I relish the opportunity to experience with others anything and everything that can be done near, on and in the lake. That’s a long list so you will have to ask me for details!