Our Team

REV. BRENNAN GAERTNER
Pastor

pastor@ascensionpgh.com

My greatest joy as a pastor is seeing others find true life in Jesus. I love people. Struggles, and vulnerability, and pain are so important . . . because so often in the midst of trials, and broken marriages, and illness, and death, people meet Jesus. It is mostly through our brokenness that we find true joy in the hope of the Cross. And I have the privilege of being there with people as they get Jesus in the midst of their pain.

I have to be honest… I am not crazy about church. That is because so often church is a place of performance and religion where people feel drawn to Jesus but it may be a false sense of comfort in the familiar. It may not be Him at all. But, I also love church because community is so key. Church is where the Body Of Christ come together to worship Him . . . a community focused on unity and a desire to love and serve one another. This is the unity that Jesus brings, and I desire for Ascension to become more and more that place where the Spirit is active and where people commonly meet the true and living God.

I’m simply a servant at this church… trusting God to use me whichever way He sees fit. Yet, nothing is done without the Holy Spirit. He is the One who called us and He is the One who completes the work in us and through us. I’m just thankful to be a part of what He is doing in this place.

I am grateful for the partnership of my family in the work that God is doing here… my most incredible wife, Dawn, and our seven children. They bring joy to my life.

 

Barb Marcellus
Administrative Assistant

secretary@ascensionpgh.com

I have been a member of Ascension Lutheran Church since 2001 and the Administrative Assistant at Ascension since April 2008. I am married to Bob Marcellus, my incredible husband, whom I have known since birth (our mothers were roommates in the hospital where we were born one day apart). It wasn’t until many years later (after attending the same church, high school, and being confirmed together—barely talking to each other) that God brought us together at a wedding of a mutual friend. Bob was in the Air Force and I had graduated from college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After a short (8-month) long-distance relationship, we were married in our home church. God has further blessed us with two wonderful daughters, Lisa and Emily, (former Air Force brats) who were born in California and Iceland. I am so happy to be serving the Lord at Ascension!

VANESSA CANDREVA
Music Director

vcandreva@ascensionpgh.com

I have been a musician most of my life, following in the footsteps of my mom, who was a church organist and swing band pianist. I was born in Johnstown, PA, and spent much of my life moving to several towns in Virginia and Maryland, playing flute, clarinet, and saxophone in marching and jazz bands. I enjoyed it so much that I became a Band Director, studying music at Frostburg State University in Maryland, where I pursued both instrumental as well as vocal opportunities. During my 30 years in Pittsburgh, I have been teaching, performing in bands, and participating in church choirs. My hobbies include sewing and making jewelry as well as camping and being outdoors. I feel blessed to help lead the amazing team of musicians at Ascension and work with children and adults to bring wonderful music to the congregation.