Pastor and Staff

Pastor David Wrightsman, Intentional Interim Pastor

Greetings Good Shepherd Lutheran – I am humbled to serve you and ask for your prayers as we together seek God’s mission and ministry at this time.  Thank you for the kindness that you have extended to me since arriving at the start of the new year.
I grew up in Decorah and at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, the youngest of 4 children. My mother was a reading teacher, and my father was a professor in the religion department at Luther College. I attended college with the goal of going to law school. I graduated from Luther with a major in history and secondary education.
I come to Good Shepherd having served the wider church in the Twin Cities for the past 35 years in a variety of ways: as an urban youth worker, educator, community partnership builder, campus pastor, settled pastor and as interim pastor. As I have shared with many of you, it is this latest role, Intentional Interim Pastor, where I have focused over the span of 11 years in 8 congregations. In all these places, I make sure the doors are open, the lights are on, and the engine is running!
I live both in Decorah (4.5 days a week) and in Stillwater, Minnesota along with my wife, Lauren. We are ‘empty nesters’ now with our three adult children living elsewhere, including our youngest daughter, Adelee, 20, who is a 2nd year nursing student at Luther.  Our son, Ben, 22, is a manager at Culver’s restaurant in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Our oldest daughter, Carolyn, 24, lives in Denver, Colorado and is an RN working in the Pediatric ICU at Denver Children’s Hospital. A rescue dog and cat complete our family.
Some of you met my wife, Lauren, this past Sunday when she visited and was present for Pastor Amy’s sending. Lauren serves as pastor at Roseville Lutheran Church, so we both found work in a vocation that invites us to love and heal people and help them know Jesus.
I look forward to meeting and greeting you in the weeks ahead! Thank you for allowing the opportunity to serve in ministry with you.

Contact Pastor Dave: Cell: (612) 599-6911

Kelli Gapinski, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministry

Kelli was born and raised in Clear Lake, Iowa, and is a proud Luther College graduate class of 2017, majoring in Education. She has been teaching special education in her hometown for the last couple of years. Now, she is looking forward to her next adventure as a special education teacher here at Decorah Middle School. Kelli has one older sister so she is one very devoted auntie to three teenagers! She loves to be outside and active. Yoga, thrifting, plants, and a cup of strong, good coffee are just a few of her passions. Kelli feels it is truly wonderful to be back in the Driftless area. Good Shepherd was a home for her during her college years at Luther. She is grateful and honored  for this opportunity to serve as the CYF director. Her hope as she steps into this role is for all ages to continue to grow in and live out the love of Jesus, through enthusiasm, inclusivity,  and community. She has great anticipatory joy in meeting and working with everyone.

Contact Kelli:

Brooke Joyce, Music Director

Brooke Joyce is Good Shepherd’s Music Director, planning and preparing music for worship services, as well as playing organ and piano. Born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan, Brooke earned degrees in music composition from Lawrence University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Princeton University. He is the Composer in Residence at Luther College and a faculty member of the International Music Festival of the Adriatic. Prior to moving to Decorah, he served Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and UCC congregations in Ohio and Virginia. He and his wife, Jennifer Self, are the parents of two sons: Keegan, who made his Good Shepherd debut as baby Jesus in 2010, and Kyle, baptized June 21, 2015.

Contact Brooke:


Erica Yaneff, Ministry and Communications Coordinator

Erica graduated from St. Olaf College majoring in Religion and Anthropology/Sociology and completed her Masters Degree in Education in Natural Sciences and Environmental Education after working as an educator and manager at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, MN for 5 years. Erica, her husband Nick, and their sons and dogs love spending time outdoors, being active, and sipping some great coffee in town. 
Contact Erica:,

Erica works 15 hours per week, some at home and some in the office. Her schedule rotates every other week and is noted on the church google calendar. Voicemails and emails will receive a response within 24 hours on business days.

Tristan Occhipinti, Office & Building Manager

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Tristan Occhipinti, an Iowa native who has called Decorah home for the past eight years, and recently I’ve become a proud homeowner in this wonderful community. For the last thirteen years, my focus has been as a homemaker, supporting my husband’s career as a professor at Luther. I am also an independent video producer. However, I have missed having the opportunity to work with a more diverse group of individuals! In my earlier years, I had the joy of meeting the needs of a church in Iowa City for an extended period, and I am delighted to once again take on such a role.

I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining you as our new Office and Building Manager, working alongside Pastor, Erica, and this congregation I’ve heard such good things about. My goal is to support and assist everyone in the Good Shepherd family and to make sure the day-to-day operation of the church runs smoothly. I’m really excited about serving this community and can’t wait to meet and get to know each of you. 

Tristan works 15 hours per week, 9:00-12:00, Monday-Friday.

Mike Sammons, Custodian

Mike left Muscatine, Iowa at 18 to join the Army and see the world and ended up in Kansas for 3 years. The Army wasn’t for him but Kansas held his first greenhouse job and a stint as a farm hand at a buffalo farm on the flint hills. Family brought Mike back to Iowa where he has had several diverse and overlapping roles including general manager of an exotic animal farm/retired tree farm, retail greenhouse sales, property manager for a local service provider, grower for a mushroom farm, farmers market farmer on rented land and co-op produce clerk. Mike met Rachael in Iowa city and they now have twin two-year-old daughters, Althea and Eleanor. Mike earned a degree in Renewable energy from Kirkwood Community College, which led to a job as a wind turbine technician and a consulting position with an experimental solar/hydrogen project. “Jack of all trades and master of none” has become more of a goal rather than just a motto for Mike, but the one constant has been a deep connection to the land and growing food for people. Mike is serving as board member, Caretaker, and Special Projects Director at Rerooted Connections, a local nonprofit specializing in permaculture education.

Erik Berg, Security

Erik is a member of Good Shepherd.  His contact information is in the Good Shepherd online directory.