Who We Are

St. Luke’s is an affirming and inclusive Christian community that welcomes all people through worship, love and service just as God created them.

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:7

No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, our welcome knows no artificial boundaries of age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, family circumstance, economic condition, physical or mental ability, or belief. God wants us to communicate. He provided much guidance about how and for what we are to pray. 

We are doctors, laborers, lawyers, trades people, teachers, stay at home moms and dads, active workers and retirees, people who in the ordinary process of life we might never even meet. St. Luke’s congregation comes from communities throughout North Idaho and into Spokane, Spokane Valley, and Liberty Lake. Some join us year-round, others in the summer months when not snow-birding to warmer climes. 

We welcome all opportunities to interact with curious Christians from whom we can learn, people who will share with us their understanding of God’s love and how that impacts our understanding of our call to live out our Christian calling. What unites us is the love of Jesus Christ and our love for one another. With assurance of the Spirit’s blessing and guidance, we entrust ourselves to God’s purposes.

Meet our Clergy and Staff

The Rev. Dr. David T. Gortner


I am delighted to be serving and working with the people of St. Luke’s, as together we seek to follow Jesus, love one another, and serve the world around us in Coeur d’Alene and North Idaho.

I came to the inland Northwest after living and working in many different places across the U.S. For more than thirty years, I have served a wide array of churches and faith-based organizations, including seminaries, churches, campus ministries, church plants, and interfaith organizations. All of my previous work, including my early work on farms and building houses and my work in various pastoral and mental health settings, has shaped me as a pastor and leader.

I want to help people find how God is already moving in their lives. God loves us, has made us each uniquely and wonderfully in God’s own image, and will not leave us alone. This is why I wrote the book, Transforming Evangelism, and why I have taught and trained hundreds of clergy and lay-people. I want Christians to embrace the practice of sharing our own journeys of faith, listening for signs of God at work in everyone’s lives, naming where we see God at work, and inviting people to discover more.

I am an Episcopal priest because I have found in this Church an unflinching, passionate belief in God’s love for all humanity, and in the power of that Love to remake us and heal the world.

My wife, the Very Rev. Heather VanDeventer, is also an Episcopal priest and serves as the Dean of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Spokane. Our two children are continuing to grow and learn as they make their way through college and high school.

Ph.D., Psychology and Human Development, University of Chicago
M.Div., Theology, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary (Evanston, IL)
M.A., Psychology, Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC)
B.A., Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)

A sampling of Dr. Gortner’s books and articles

  • Varieties of Personal Theology:  Charting the Beliefs and Values of American Young Adults.  London, UK:  Ashgate/Routledge, 2013.
  • Transforming Evangelism.  New York, NY:  Church Publishing, 2007.
  • Retraining Ourselves in Thought and Action:  A Thematic Exploration of Leadership Literature.  Anglican Theological Review, 2010.
  • Looking at Leadership Beyond Our Own Horizon.  Anglican Theological Review, 2009.
  • Congregational Studies and Ministry:  The Art of Multifaceted Contextual Exegesis.  (Percy, E., ed., The Study of Ministry: A Comprehensive Survey of Theory and Practice.  London, UK:  SPCK, 2019).
  • Surveying a Church’s Attitude toward and Interaction with Islam.  (In Heaney, R., Sayilgan, Z., & Haymes, C., eds., Faithful Neighbors:  Christian-Muslim Vision & Practice.  New York, NY:  Morehouse, 2016).
  • Effective clergy leadership in the 21st century:  Are we up to the task?, In Trust, 2014.

The Rev. Mary Ayers

Associate Priest for Christian Formation & Discipleship

Rev. Mary’s role is to be a catalyst, convener, energizer, collaborative direction-setter, and “empowerer”/trainer for formation and discipleship for all ages, with initial primary focus on children and families.

Rev. Mary obtained her theological education at Gonzaga University as well as through local formation. She was ordained a priest in 2016 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Spokane, where she previously served for five years as the Sunday School Superintendent. Rev. Mary served as Rector of The Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Lewiston from January 2018 to June2019. Rev. Mary also has extensive experience as an administrative professional. For the last four years, Rev. Mary has served primarily as a supply priest, preaching and presiding at Eucharist in many congregations throughout the Northeast Region.

In addition to her priestly work, Rev. Mary has a full-time secular position, working as an administrative professional with the Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families in the Spokane Child Care Licensing office.

Baking is one of Rev. Mary’s favorite hobbies and she especially enjoys baking “old fashioned” recipes from vintage cookbooks. She also loves her role as Auntie to her two nephews, Eamon (aged 12) and Henry (aged 14). With their Aunt Mary, they have enjoyed visiting antique and vintage shops, watching Lon Chaney movies, indulging in tea parties and candy making.

Rev. Mary is an animal lover and shares her home with her beloved Ragdoll cat, Thomas.

The Rev. Glenda Empsall


Glenda was ordained to the Diaconate at Diocesan Convention on 10/19/2014 after a lengthy discernment process with a persistent and supportive St. Luke’s team, and with encouragement from her family. By her annual request, and at the pleasure of Bishop Rehberg, she is assigned to St. Luke’s; serving at the altar, ministering to needs within the surrounding community, preaching occasionally, and “other duties as assigned.”

Young people bring Glenda joy! She served alongside parents, priests and other committed adults at St. Luke’s to inspire and encourage active worship participation by our youngest members. She volunteered as a “Puppy Reader” at Bryan Elementary, helping first graders navigate the wonderful world of words, and the complexity of the English language. She has been on the Mini-Camp (rising 2nd and 3rd graders) Resource Team at Camp Cross on Lake Coeur d’Alene since 2017.

In her secular careers, Glenda worked as an exploration geologist for a mining company, a software engineer at a defense contractor, and an environmental health and safety manager for a remediation contractor, in the lumber industry, and most recently EHS Team Leader for an aerospace manufacturing facility, retiring in 2016.

Glenda has been married to John Empsall since May 1978. They have two grown sons (each smart-enough to marry an amazing daughter-in-law). There are three exceptional grandchildren, a rescued grand dog, and an overly-fluffy orange tabby grand cat.

DeDe Pederson

Parish Administrator

DeDe and her family are originally from the Tacoma, Washington area. She’s been married to her husband, Mark, for 31 years, and they have three children and three grandchildren. For the past 25 years, she has worked with her husband managing their construction company. They moved to North Idaho in 2022 and love calling it home! In her spare time, DeDe enjoys visiting local venues and attractions with her husband and family. She is also an avid crocheter and loves baseball!

Ty Peterson


Ty Peterson served for a number of years at All Saints Lutheran Church in Spokane as Assistant/Substitute organist. Ty was responsible for hymns, church liturgies and all of the special music selections. He also substituted at St. Luke’s in the past.

Ty studied organ under Dr. Janet Ahrend, the former renowned organist at St. John’s Cathedral in Spokane, Washington. He has also served for other churches in the Spokane area.

Ty enjoys spending time with his children, Devon, Rachelle, Alyia and is an avid Mustang Mach-1 fan.