Staff Directory:


Pastor Lee Kantonen

I grew up just outside of Cloquet, MN. My wife, Laurie, comes from Westbrook, MN. We have 5 adult children and 2 more who have married into the family. For several years we made our home in Kentucky until moving back to Minnesota and becoming part of the Minnesota Annual Conference in 1999.

Education: I graduated from Cloquet High School; Augustana College (Sioux Falls); Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Kentucky)

Appointment History: Served as Chaplain at Fayette County Detention Center in Lexington, KY from 1989-1999 and pastor at The Church of Athens 1994-1999; Barnum Community UMC 1999-2010; Riverside UMC in Park Rapids, MN 2010-2015; Chaplain Hospice of the Red River Valley 2015-2016; Joyful Spirit UMC 2016-present.   

Service and Community Involvement: Coached high school cross country a couple of seasons, and junior high track. Took turns working concessions at various activities and events our children were involved in.

My Vision of the Church The church is the Bride of Christ, so it is where God is honored, revered, and worshiped. The way that is done can vary and doesn’t play out the same for everyone. The church (whether the building or the people) is meant to be a sanctuary for all, a safe place. It is to be where people are comfortable wrestling with questions of faith and where they won’t be judged or criticized for landing in a spot that doesn’t necessarily align with someone else’s. My desire for the church to be a place where those on the fringe will be radically welcomed and come to a decision to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Hopefully the church is where we gather to be equipped to go out and reach out beyond ourselves into the community with the love of Christ.

My Particular Passion for Ministry I love to hear people’s stories and just getting to know people. Everyone has a story of their life that is special and unique. Getting together with others to discuss and study the Bible and learning how to apply it is fun and rewarding. Sharing God’s good news with others on Sunday morning is always a humbling privilege. Christ is the answer for the world’s needs. We as the church must learn to live it in a way that is inviting.. 


Pastor of Parish Care & Health John C. Carpenter

Rev. Dr. John Carpenter has been involved in some sort of Christian ministry all his adult life. His formal education includes degrees with specific emphasis in church ministry. He has served churches in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio with various denominations and in various positions. John is actually ordained in the Church of the United Brethren In Christ.

 Early on, John served in an administration position in California for a mission organization doing work in Mexico: specifically Baja, California. He has also taught graphic arts, photography, and English (ESL) on high school, adult education, and college levels. He has also been involved in Christian national and international publishing as production editor and manager of products. This has afforded him opportunities to visit different places in Europe and Asia as well as North America.

 John and his wife, Karen, have four adult children, seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Staff Contact Info:

Pastor: Lee Kantonen


Pastor of Parish Care & Health: John C. Carpenter

Education Director: Missy Strande

Youth Director: Amanda Rastedt

Secretary: Pam Iverson

Contacts can be made to any staff member using the above email address