Meet the Staff

Mark Holmerud

Interim University Pastor

Prior to coming to Cal Lutheran, Pastor Mark served as Bishop for the Sierra Pacific Synod, a synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America located in northern California and northern Nevada. Pastor Mark formerly served Lutheran Church of the Incarnation in Davis, CA and Zion Lutheran Church in Stockton, CA.  

Born in Pomona, California, Pastor Mark is a ninth-generation Californian.  He grew up in Solana Beach, near San Diego.  After graduating from San Dieguito High School in Encinitas, he served in the US Navy and went on to graduate from San Diego State University in 1980, with a degree in History and a minor in Classics.  He attended Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating in 1984.  Pastor Mark has been active in social justice and community organizing and in ecumenical and interfaith endeavors.  He was elected bishop in April of 2008 and re-elected to a second term in 2014.   

Married to Debbi in 1987, who formerly served as principal of Lincoln High School and two elementary schools in Stockton, they have a blended family of four adult children: Alyssa (Steve), Marshall, Justin (Connie), and Meaghann (Robert) and eight grandchildren – Christopher, Phillip, Scarlett, Ellie, Owen, Tre’, Hannah and Sadie.  Mark’s interests include astronomy, canning pickles and the ongoing restoration of a 1966 Mustang.


Jessica Helms

Coordinator of Chapel Music

Jessica was born and raised in Ventura and grew up attending the rehearsals and concerts of her musical parents.  She earned her BA in Piano and Oboe from Cal Lutheran in 2004, studied Piano Accompanying at Westminster Choir College from 2006-2007, and recently graduated with an MM in Choral Conducting from California State University, Los Angeles.

When not making music all over town, she enjoys quilting, playing video games, seeing live theater, and cuddling with her cat, Olivia Benson. 

Catholic Seminarians


Confidential Pastoral Care

If you need someone to talk to, we are here. The pastoral staff is available to the Cal Lutheran community for conversation, pastoral counseling, and consolation in times of crisis. Hospital visits are made to those persons who are known to be hospitalized. All pastoral conversation is confidential. You are invited to make an appointment by calling 805-493-3228 or by dropping in the Campus Ministry Office.