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Wayne Puls

Senior Pastor


Pastor Wayne Puls began his ministry as Senior Pastor of Hope in August 2012. He is a native of Fraser, Michigan; and thus, a long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Before coming to Wake Forest, Pastor Puls spent his entire ministry career on Long Island in New York. After receiving a B.A. degree from Concordia College in Ann Arbor, MI in 1980, and a Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 1984, he served for two years as Chaplain/Religion Teacher at Martin Luther High School in Maspeth, NY and as Youth Pastor at the Lutheran Church of St. John in Flushing, NY. In 1986, Pastor Puls was called to serve as Assistant Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Hicksville, NY and as Senior Pastor in 1988. Pastor and Colleen have five grown children, and four mighty cute grandsons.

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Lew Upchurch

Associate Pastor


Pastor Lew grew up in Raeford, NC. He has been married to Lisa for over 20 years and they have five wonderful children-Maddie, Isabelle, Max, Mimi, and Phoebe. He is passionate about Gods love for all people in Christ Jesus and is honored to be able to share that love as part of Hopes Ministry Team. Lew enjoys spending time outdoors especially the time he can squeeze in running on the Neuse River Greenway or the Falls Lake Trail. He also enjoys a good microbrew and cooking for his family. 

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Preston Wagner

Pastor Emeritus


The Rev. Preston E. Wagner is Pastor Emeritus at Hope, having served as Mission Developer, Pastor and Senior Pastor from October 1, 1996 until his retirement on June 30, 2012.  Pastor Wagner and wife Lana remain active members of Hope and live in Heritage, Wake Forest, and have two grown children and two grandchildren.  Pastor Wagner provides occasional assistance with preaching, teaching and support to the pastoral staff.  Pastor Wagner graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.S. in Education in 1968 and received his Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary in 1972.  He previously served as pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Freedom, PA; Holy Cross, Ashland, VA; Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Asheville, NC; and on the staff of the Southeastern District, LCMS, Alexandria, Va. prior to coming to Wake Forest. 

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Larry Lineberger

Assistant to the Pastor


The Rev. Larry R. Lineberger serves as part-time Assistant to the Pastor, providing occasional worship and preaching assistance. Pastor Lineberger retired from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Raleigh in 1999 and relocated to Wake Forest. He and his wife, Marlene are members of Hope.

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Caleb Weight



Caleb Weight was born and raised in Minnesota growing up in the town of Andover. After graduating from Concordia University, St. Paul, he and his wife, Kara, moved to St. Louis, MO to begin seminary at Concordia Seminary. Caleb is interested in all areas of ministry, and loves sharing the Gospel with people from all areas, ages, and walks of life. He especially enjoys sitting down and talking to people over a cup of coffee. He is a diehard Minnesota sports fan, especially the Minnesota Wild. He is a self-proclaimed foodie and enjoys local eats, and cooking for his wife Kara.

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Beth Agner

Lead Director of Christian Education


Beth Agner has served at Hope Lutheran Church since 2008 as the Director of Christian Education and Children’s Ministry. She grew up in Southern California and Southern Kentucky and graduated from Concordia University Irvine CA, in 2005. She received her Masters degree in Family Life Ministry at the end of 2009 from Concordia University Seward NE.  After taking her call to Hope, Beth met and married, Josh, a native to North Carolina.  Together they have a two wonderful sons, Bentley and Finn.  Beth has a passion for children and their families.  She is honored to be working alongside families of Hope as they build strong firm foundations in Christ.  Beth enjoys baking, playing sports, bike riding, and spending time with friends and families.

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Steven McCarthy

Director of Christian Education


Steven McCarthy grew up in the beautiful, rainy state of Washington. He attended Concordia University Irvine and graduated with honors as a Director of Christian Education with a minor in Global Cultural Studies. He began his ministry at Hope in 2017 as an intern and then accepted the call to work as a full-time DCE in the summer of 2018.  His job responsibilities include, but are not limited to: 5th-6th grade confirmation, 7-8th grade youth ministry, community service and outreach, disaster relief, congregational ministries, and leading the young adult program. In his free time Steven loves to explore the great outdoors. His hobbies include, but are not limited to: gardening, disc golf, trail running, biking, hiking, camping, fishing, ultimate Frisbee, ping pong, playing piano, going to concerts, reading, watching TV with Wesley, and playing video games.

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Wesley Spottiswood

Director of Christian Education


Wesley Spottiswood is a city boy from Los Angeles California. He recently graduated from Concordia University Irvine receiving his BA in Christian Educational Leadership with a minor in Missiology. He is passionate about engaging youth and equipping each and every person to defend their faith in Jesus Christ. Wesley enjoys watching Netflix but is always up for an adventure as he has traveled around the world going to 29 countries. He looks forward to getting to know the great people of Hope over the next year. His office is always open so stop on bye and say "hi."

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Regina Fisher

Hope Lutheran Preschool Director


Regina Fisher has been the preschool director since its concept in 1997. She is a native of Goldsboro, NC, graduating from Meredith College in 1987 with a degree in Child Development and a Teaching License in K-6th. She earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from East Carolina University in 1991. Her teaching experience includes 19 years of working with children, parents and staff in providing an engaging, fun and safe environment in which to learn. Regina, her husband Mark, and their three children Shane, Stewart and Lindsay have all lived in Wake Forest since 1994 and are active members of Hope Lutheran Church.

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Erin Ames

Family Program Director


Erin Ames has been a member of Hope Lutheran Church since 2009. She has been very active in Hope's Children's Ministry, serving in several different areas each year. She graduated from Salisbury University with a Business Degree and an Elementary Education degree, and also has her Master’s degree in Curriculum Design. As Program Director, Erin is responsible for leading the nursery, Little Blessings Morning Out, and Xplore Track Out. Erin and her husband, Bryan, have four children, Camden, Jack, Gracie and Nathan. Erin loves working with children and is very passionate about teaching.

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Amy Elder

Communications Manager


Amy Elder has been an active member at Hope since 2008, and honored to work on staff since 2011. In addition to all things communications, she enjoys volunteering with various ministries including the Live Nativity, the youth, serving communion, and the Night To Shine Prom. Amy graduated from Peace College with a bachelor's degree in Human Services. She and her husband, Todd, have two teenage children, Scott and Hannah. Amy loves to read, craft, and most importantly spend time with her family. 

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Hilary Tew

Operations Manager


Hilary Tew joined the Hope team in 2017 and is eagerly tackling all things bookkeeping. She and her husband Luke are raising two children and three dogs. Hilary and daughter Jazmyn volunteer with Hope’s J.O.Y. group (Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last); and Hilary also serves at the Touched by Hope free community clinic event as an interpreter. Hilary has her bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature and enjoys traveling and anything active—running, hiking, gardening, playing pick-up volleyball with neighbors and practicing martial arts. She also studies foreign language, cooks and likes vehicle and home repair.

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Carlin O'Brien

Administrative Assistant


Carlin O’Brien began working at Hope in October of 2011. Originally from Cary, she received a BS in Business Administration/Marketing from High Point University in 1995 and moved to the Outer Banks where she met her husband, Jim, and lived for 10 years. Together with their three children, Caden, Riley & Mason, they moved back to the area in 2007. Carlin and her family are members of Hope Lutheran Church and she serves on the Children’s Ministry Team.

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Kelly Faris

Administrative Assistant


Kelly Faris joined our team in 2018 and is thrilled to serve as an Administrative Assistant.  She has attended Hope since moving to Wake Forest with her family from Columbus, Ohio in 2010.  She has served in many areas of ministry including confirmation, vacation bible school, American Heritage Girls, J.O.Y small group, and our Ministry Leadership Team.  Kelly earned her undergraduate degree from Ohio University in secondary mathematics education followed by her Master’s Degree from Marygrove College. Kelly and her husband, Brian, have three girls, Addison, Emmerson and Peyton.  She most enjoys the time spent with her family and traveling. 

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Steve Ebberts

Facilities Manager


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Rob Varner

Organist and Choir Director


Rob Varner has been an active church musician for 22 years serving churches in the mid west, New Jersey, and North Carolina. He is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ where he majored in Sacred Music, Organ, and Choral Conducting.

Rob was been a music educator for the past 15 years in private and public schools and served as Director of Choral Activities in his last education position before moving to North Carolina. He has been invited to serve as a clinician for choral music festivals and has had the honor of sitting on the New Jersey Music Teachers PRAXIS Examination Board for new teachers. Rob is an accomplished organist, recitalist, and choral & instrumental conductor. He has collaborated with and has conducted members of the NJ Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and NJ Youth Symphony in concert with works including, Handel’s Messiah, Rutter’s Gloria and Requiem, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Brahms Requiem, and Bach’s Christmas & Easter Oratorios.

 Rob is also a composer and arranger of choral and instrumental music. He maintains a private voice and piano studio and is an avid accompanist and music coach.

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Joe Walters

Praise Team Director


Joe Walters was raised in Wake a Forest and Lexington, North Carolina and earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Piedmont Baptist college, Winston – Salem and earned a Master of Divinity degree, Church Music concentration, Southeastern Baptist Seminary. He has served Hope as the Director of the Praise Team since 2004. Joe and his wife, Dawn, have raised three children (now grown) and enjoys playing the keyboard, singing, boating, camping, fishing and hunting, and spending as much time as possible with his family.

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Kathy Vockeroth

Handbell Choir Director