Pastor Stephen (Steve) Springer has been an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America for 20 years and has led Dove of Peace since late 2005.
A graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School (M.Div. 1994), Pastor Steve’s professional interests are liturgical worship, New Testament theology, ecumenical and interfaith dialog, church history, and advocacy. He enjoys leading Dove of Peace because of the generous hearts and open minds of its members, its history of liturgical worship and music, and its commitment to being a force for good in the community.
Pastor Steve was born in Louisiana and raised in the South and has fond memories and ties there. “Southerners know how to tell stories and how to cook”, he says. “I can’t imagine a life without good stories and good food.” Cooking is Pastor Steve’s favorite hobby and “inspired” the food served following Dove’s annual Mardi Gras event. He dabbles in computers and electronics and from time to time works with abandoned dogs.
He attended college in San Antonio, Texas, where he began to study Spanish language and the history and culture of Mexico. He has an avid and ongoing interest in Latino culture and the heritage of the Southwest, including, of course, the food. (On the contentious local issue of BK versus El Güero Canelo, he is a BK man.) He fell in love with the Sonoran desert when he first visited Arizona in his early twenties and was delighted to move here in 2005.
His favorite book of the Bible is Isaiah.
Director of Music & Liturgical Arts
Eric Holtan is minister of music, art and liturgy at Dove of Peace, where he has been director of the Chancel Choir and Alleluia Bell Choir since 2002. Eric also serves as cantor and since its launch in 2004 as artistic director of Dove’s immensely popular winter series of classical concerts. In 2006, he led the Grand Canyon Synod’s introduction of the new hymnal Evangelical Lutheran Worship, and has provided music for several synod events. Adept at many musical styles, Eric has helped expand Dove’s musical expression to include music of the African-American, Latino and other folk traditions, while building on Dove’s deep commitment to the great historical music of the Church.
Eric launched his professional music career at age 12 as a church organist. A native of Minnesota, he studied organ, voice and conducting at Gustavus Adolphus College. He earned a master’s degree in choral conducting at the University of Iowa, where he was assistant director of Camerata Singers, and the doctor of musical arts degree in choral and orchestra conducting at the University of Arizona, where he was the UA Opera Theater’s chorus master. His research focused on the role of the chorale form in Mendelssohn’s oratorios and symphonies as reflection of the musical and religious influences on Mendelssohn.
Eric is founding music director of True Concord Voices & Orchestra, southern Arizona’s GRAMMY-nominated professional chamber choir and orchestra. Under his direction, Eric has conducted performances of many of the most significant choral works in the canon, and has commissioned some of America’s leading composers for world premiere performances. Most recently, Eric conducted True Concord on its New York debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall for a special concert on the 14th anniversary of 9/11. On that same day, True Concord released its CD Far in the Heavens: Choral Music of Stephen Paulus, which ascended to No. 5 on Billboard’s Classical Chart and earned 2 GRAMMY nominations and 1 GRAMMY award.
Having grown up in the church, Eric was inspired by the organ and church music at a young age. Hymns were especially formative in his musicianship and faith. J.S. Bach’s music and spirituality also made a strong impression early on, including Bach’s frequent use of hymn tunes in his music and his emblematic “SDG” (Soli Deo Gloria/To God alone be the glory) signature on his compositions. In his graduate studies, Eric encountered similar musical techniques and spirituality in the music of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, leading Eric to his doctoral project that examined Bach’s influence on Mendelssohn. Like these and many others before him, Eric believes music, especially collective singing, is a gift from and deepens our communion with the Divine.
Dr. Pamela Decker, organist and composer, is professor of organ and theory at the University of Arizona. She earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Stanford University and was awarded a Fulbright grant in 1980 to study organ and composition in Luebeck, Germany. She has won prizes in national and international competitions for organ and composition. Dr. Decker has performed extensively as a concert organist throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She has ten CD’s (as performer or composer) in distribution. Twice she has appeared as a recitalist at the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists (AGO). She has performed as part of many other conferences and festivals at national and international levels.
Dr. Decker’s compositions have been performed in 19 countries by musicians from all over the world. She has been published by Wayne Leupold Editions, C. F. Peters, Augsburg, Hinshaw Music, Inc. and World Library Publications. Dr. Pamela Decker is represented by Phyllis Stringham Concert Management.
In 2004 she was awarded the Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize for Research/Creative Activity at the University of Arizona.
In 2000 Dr. Decker was the recipient of the College of Fine Arts Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Since 2000 Nelly has provided church administration at Dove of Peace. She handles bookkeeping, calendar scheduling, office management and property coordination.
She was born in post-world war two France in the Normandy region to French Huguenot parents. She immigrated to the United States in 1968 and moved to Tucson in 1970. She and her husband have just celebrated their 50th anniversary with their 2 children, 4 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Her hobbies include reading, counted cross stitch and spending time with her family.