United in Christ, Together in Ministry!

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.


Contact Melanie Varin or one of the pastors if you are interested in filling this position.

Ed Dominski

Cheryl and I joined UNITY (COL) in 2003 during the period BC (before children). We were drawn by the involvement of members, especially the youth. Then while visiting on Pentecost Sunday 2002 the praise band played “Let It Rain” by Eric Clapton and I knew we were in the right place. We have two daughters, Caitlin & Claire, who have enjoyed the youth opportunities from Sunday School and choirs to ECRT, Senior High and youth trips. Outside of church (okay, sometimes inside as well) you’re likely to find them in contact with a soccer ball.

I’m originally from Wauwatosa. Cheryl and I met at Marquette and after tours in Chicago and Indianapolis we’ve called Brookfield home since 2001. At UNITY I’ve been a member of Adult Programs and then Comm & Tech since its inception. My background is in engineering and business and I’ve worked in telecom for the last 25+ years. I enjoy sports, music, and photography.

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


Phil Roemaat

Phil and his wife joined Cross of Life in 2009, shortly before they were married. Phil is originally from Green Bay. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin double majoring in Finance and Economics and attended Marquette University Law School. Phil works for Northwestern Mutual in its Advanced Planning department focusing on consulting and educating its financial advisors on business planning, estate planning, and tax planning. Phil and his wife have two small children and currently reside in Pewaukee. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to national parks, playing golf, and watching his hometown Green Bay Packers.


Contact Melanie Varin or one of the pastors if you are interested in filling this position.

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.

Jackie Herington

Jackie and her husband, Joe, have been members of UNITY since 2010. Jackie has been involved with children ministries over the years and has now begun a term as Servant Ministries Chair.

Jackie and Joe met in college at Marquette University where they both competed on the cross country and track teams. They have now been married for 17 years and together they have a daughter, Violet, and a son, Maxwell, who are current elementary students in Pewaukee Public Schools. Jackie works as a Site Development Coordinator for Kohls Corporate and Joe works for GE Healthcare. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and the outdoors mainly by way of running, hiking, and camping.

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 career 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 Borkenhagen

Eric and his wife, Cindy, along with their four children; Charlie, Harrison, Ava and Lia joined UNITY Lutheran Church in 2010. The family had just moved to Pewaukee from Waterford and after a couple of visits to Cross of Life campus, they were attracted to the overall message of the church and its vibrant youth program. And it didn’t hurt that it was only 5 minutes from their house.

After some “nudging” from Cindy, Eric became involved with the education program at UNITY as a Sunday school teacher. That was followed by helping out with the confirmation program. Eric enjoys joining his kids whenever possible as part of their youth events. This includes the overnight lock-ins, crazy uncle, the fast food relay, and fall trips to the corn maze and haunted house. He has been part of the East Coast Road Trip, Kentucky mission trip, and Boundary Water canoe trip. He likes to ski and is hoping to be part of the Devil’s Head ski trip one of these years.

Eric grew up in Waukesha and graduated from Waukesha South in 1990. He received a civil engineering degree from Marquette University and currently works at Kohl’s Department Stores in their property development department. He enjoys being outdoors and attending as many live music shows as possible.

Eric would like to thank the outgoing youth council chair, Eric Ebenhoch, for his tireless commitment and dedication to the youth at UNITY... “Where do I even begin? He has been super supportive and involved during this transition and I definitely have some big shoes to fill. If I can do 50% of what he accomplished, I will consider myself lucky. I tip my hat to one of the all-time greats to hold this position”.

Mary Huss

Mary has been a member at UNITY's CTK campus 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