Meet Our Church Council

Get to Know Us!

Melanie Varin

Melanie and her family joined Cross of Life in 2009 after hearing great things about the church community from the Brownells. The Varins were drawn to the great children and youth programs as well as its service ministries.

Melanie has been active as a worship assistant and communion assistant for several years. She also worked on the marketing committee for the two-campus merger. She is delighted to serve on adults programs with the combined campuses.  

Melanie is married to Fred and has three children: Patrick (25) working on his PhD in robotics at Harvard, Clark (22) finishing his business degree at Univ. of Minnesota and a budding entrepreneur, and Stephanie (15) who attends Pewaukee High School and is active in the youth group. Professionally she works for TopLine Results Corporation and provides business process consulting services.

Paul Knowles

Paul and his wife Tammy have been members at UNITY since 1991, raising three great kids who are now living in Denver and Alabama.

Paul previously completed two tours of duty as Treasurer of Cross of Life and Tammy was on Council as well.

Paul and Tammy love to travel and are focusing on the national parks, having just recently visited the Tetons and Yellowstone Park.

Paul works for Mercer and specializes in administration of defined benefit pension plans.

Aaron Prohuska

Pat Dowling

Pat and his wife Jane have attended CTK for 20+ years. Pat has served on the council in different capacities over the years from Evangelism, Worship & Music to now chair of Communications & Technology and Call Committee Liaison. Pat has been involved with the Praise Band since it's inception at CTK. Initially running sound to now playing guitar. Their two children Collin and Erin are now both in College.

Pat is the Director of IT at a small Investment Management Firm in Milwaukee and live in Menomonee Falls. His passions are cycling, paddle boarding, hiking, camping and basically anything outdoors.

Barb Patterson

I joined UNITY in 2018. My husband David is a Lutheran ELCA Pastor and is currently an interim Pastor at Vernon Lutheran in Mukwonago, Wi. We have been married for 37 years and have 3 children.

I have been the Sunday School director at our past churches and loved working with adults, teenagers and most importantly the kids. I retired from nursing in 2017 after 38 years as a bedside ICU nurse and held many leadership roles during that time.

My passion was always to provide opportunities for adults and kids to grow in their faith but also see that life is an open book. I hope to grow the Adult programs here at UNITY.

Colleen King


Kevin Grabowski

Melissa and Kevin started attending CTK in 2001 when invited by a current member.  They were attracted to CTK by the welcoming atmosphere, friendly people and a great pastor Steve Clingman.   Pr. Steve married them in 2002 and baptized both of their children at CTK.  They also both served at co-treasurers at CTK for approximately 3 years and continue to be active members at UNITY.

Kevin is a Wisconsin native and from Brookfield.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  He received a BBA in Finance with an Insurance Emphasis.  Kevin works at The Krizek Group as the Director of Operations and Client Services which is a full service financial service firm.  Kevin is married to Melissa and has a son, Dylan, and daughter, Kayla.  They reside in Pewaukee and love their community.  Kevin enjoys golf, playing guitar, and spending time with family. .

Kim Bell

Kim and her husband Dan have 2 daughters, Alexis (7) andLillian (6) who are both active in the childrens choir. They joined Cross of Life in 2011. Kim has taught in the preschool Sunday School room and is currently serving her first term as UNITY's Group Opportunities chair.

Kim has worked at the VA hospital for the past 11 years serving in different roles and is the current Associate Chief of Pharmacy Operations. Kim and Dan live in Pewaukee where Alexis and Lily attend school. They enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities especially camping.

Deborah Nustad

Deborah Nustad joined the UNITY Church Council as the chair of the Invite Committee in 2017. She and her family (spouse Tim and 3 kids, Sarah, Alexander and Matthew) joined Cross of Life in 2012.

Since leaving her full-time job at GE in 2013, Deborah has enjoyed being involved in many ways: Sunday School teaching, Advent Fest, Confirmation Class, Food Packs, Adult Programs, the Marketing Committee, Fun and Fellowship Group, a book group, etc.  Deborah loves the many new friends she and her family have made as part of the UNITY faith family.  

Deborah grew up in California and Florida (her parents and brother are still there), went to engineering school at Vanderbilt in Nashville, and graduate school at Northwestern in Chicago, and loves the friendly, warm people of the Midwest.   When not volunteering at church or the kids' schools, Deborah enjoys global travel, the National Parks, reading, board games, ethnic food, lake house weekends, museums and live theatre.


TJ Roche

T. J. and his wife, Kate, have been members of COL since 2011. T. J. has been involved with Praise Band, the Lasagna Ministry at Serenity Inn, Small Groups, Property care, blood drives and has now begun a term as Property Chair. He works for HP in sales and enjoys music, cycling, skiing and camping.

T. J. and Kate have been married for 23 years. Kate works for Aurora Healthcare. Together they have a daughter, Lily, and twin sons, Sam and Ben, all graduates of Brookfield Central. Lily is a veterinarian technician and both Sam and Ben are attending MSOE.

Chris Keim

Chris and her husband Matt moved from Joliet, Illinois to Menomonee Falls in 2001 when Matt accepted a job with Harley-Davidson. Shortly after their move to the Falls, the Keim Family visited Christ the King and they were hooked. They became members of CTK in 2002.

In 2004 Chris began working on the Social Concerns committee at CTK when Hephatha Lutheran Church became a ministry partner. Chris went for a visit and felt an immediate connection. Chris currently works part-time at a school on the south side of Milwaukee and part time with Hephatha's Parish Nurse Program, and she continues to support Hephatha's partner school as a volunteer/advocate.

Chris became Chair of UNITY’s Servanthood Ministries Committee in June 2018, and is honored to lead this well-established committee alongside Pastor Muriel, where she sees so many good things happening with so many great community partnerships. Chris sees UNITY truly living out the Gospel through their great community efforts.

Chris and Matt were have two children: Mitchell (26) and Jennifer (24).  In their free time, Chris and Matt enjoy activities like hiking and kayaking out in nature, as well as spending time with their family.

Mark Miller

Our family joined in COL 1989 when the new sanctuary was being built. My wife Tami and our children Ashlee and a Paul have been active in the church. I was previously on council serving on Worship, Christian Education and Stewardship and was President of the Congregation. I served on the call committee for Pastor John and Pastor Sherrie. In Worship I sing in choir, and volunteer as a Worship Assistant. I also help in VBS.

I retired a few years ago after a 40-year carreer as an Attorney. I also occupy my time by volunteering at Children’s Hospital and the Waukesha Food Pantry, where I also serve on their Board of Directors. In my spare time I play golf and follow all my favorite sports teams.


Eric Ebenhoch

Eric started attending Cross of Life in 2009. His family decided to try the Saturday night service and soon they were involved in Sunday school, confirmation, Fusion, ECRT and sampling Smarties from Jo Ann’s candy dish.

Eric grew up in New Berlin and graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran High School and the University of Wisconsin. With his Journalism degree in hand, Eric moved to Minneapolis, MN and demanded a corner office and salary to match from the best agencies in town. That didn’t happen, but he did get a very low-paying internship. After 10 years in the Twin Cities, the call of Milwaukee and family brought his crew to Pewaukee.

Eric and his wife, Cindy, have three children. Klaus, Hans and Elsa have grown-up at the COL campus. In his free time, Eric likes reading church bios, cheering on the Badgers, and attempts to stay active.

Mary Huss

Mary has been a member of CTK her entire life and has participated in many ministries over the years including Christian Ed, Finance (serving as Financial Secretary for many years), and now Worship & Music. She has sung with the CTK for over 20 years and currently serves as an usher, reader, communion assistant and counter.

Professionally, she is a Finance Manager at Milwaukee Tool. Hobbies include reading, swimming and travel with her favorite places to visit Hawaii and Disney World in Florida.


Natalie Karrels

Natalie Karrels has been a member of UNITY her whole life. Her favorite part of UNITY is Sr. High and all the cool events they do on Sunday nights. The summer trips are also a really cool opportunity. Natalie also participated in choir when she was younger and also pays handbells with the high school handbell choir.

Natalie is a junior at Brookfield East High School. She enjoys running on the Brookfield East cross country and track teams, hiking, and traveling.

Clare Pelzel