Dr. Ryan Nilsen is Lead Pastor at Praise. His job is to lead, feed, and encourage our ministry leaders, and oversee effective, intentional fulfillment of our mission. He grew up in Hartland, Connecticut. He has a B.A. in history and English from UConn and a Masters of Divinity from Lutheran Brethren Seminary, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and is an ordained pastor in the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. Ryan graduated from Denver Seminary with a Doctor of Ministry degree in 2017. He has served churches in Minnesota and Iowa and also serves as Executive Director of Fifth Act Church Planting and is an Adjunct Professor of Practical Theology at Lutheran Brethren Seminary. Ryan and his wife Kjirsti have five children and live in Torrington.
Favorite Person of the Bible: Paul
Favorite Bible Verse: 1 Timothy 1:15-16
Favorite Book: A Walk in the Woods
Favorite Hobby: Sailing
Wes Asheim is our Associate Pastor here at Praise. Pastor Wes has been involved in full-time ministry for over 12 years, serving two churches in Minnesota. Wes loves Jesus and has a great passion and calling for shepherding teens in their relationship with the Lord. In addition to working with teens, Wes is a part of the Sunday morning teaching team and leads the small group and assimilation ministries at Praise. He has been married to his wife Anya for 20 years and they have two sons, Jacob and Thaddeus, and live in Winchester.
Favorite Person of the Bible: John the Baptist
Favorite Bible Verse: Ephesians 2:8-10
Favorite Book: The Magicians Nephew & The Screwtape Letters By C.S. Lewis
Favorite Hobbies: reading, sports (watching & playing), and is an unashamed Star Wars fan!
Audrey Havens is the Office Administrator and Bookkeeper at Praise Christian Fellowship. She grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts and has been living in Connecticut since 1981. Audrey has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from American International College and a Sign Language Interpreting Certificate from Northwestern Connecticut Community College. Audrey enjoys yoga, walking, swimming, and spending as much time as possible with her “kids” and two granddaughters. She and her husband, Phil, have lived in New Hartford since 1991.
Favorite Person of the Bible: Ruth
Favorite Bible Verse: Philippians 4:8
Favorite Book: To Kill a Mockingbird
Favorite Hobby: Cooking
Erin Parkhouse is the Children’s Ministry Director at Praise. She grew up in Randolph, New Jersey and has been living in Connecticut since 2002. Erin has a B.S. in Elementary Education and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language from Messiah College. She also has a Master’s Equivalency in Elementary Education from the University of New England. Erin and her husband Matt have two boys and have lived in Torrington for over 13 years.
Favorite Person of the Bible: Noah
Favorite Bible Verse: Philippians 4:13
Favorite Book: Hebrews
Favorite Hobby: Exercising