Staff Bios


  • Pastor Len Brokenshire, Senior Pastor

    Pastor Len grew up in Southern California. He met his wife, Beth, at Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle, WA. His seminary work was done at the Haggard Graduate School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University and the American Lutheran Theological School. While working toward ordination, he served as a youth director at three California churches from 1997-2006: Prince of Peace Lutheran in Costa Mesa, Emmanuel Presbyterian in Thousand Oaks, and St. Peter's Lutheran in Elk Grove. Pastor Len was ordained at St. Peter's Lutheran in 2004.  In March of 2006, he accepted the call as Associate Pastor of Ascension and has served as Senior Pastor since March of 2009.  Commissioned in 2007, he also serves as a chaplain in the United States Air Force Reserve.    Pastor Len enjoys all sports, especially waterskiing, volleyball and swimming, and also loves playing with his four young children, Rachel, Matthew, Grace and Ben. 

  • Abe McNally, Pastoral Intern

    Abe grew up in Evansdale and has grown up attending Ascension Lutheran.  He is a graduate of Waterloo East High School and UNI where he majored in English language and literature with a minor in creative writing.  At Ascension he served as an usher, a deacon, a Sunday school teacher and as a sub for Confirmation.  He was installed as a Pastoral Intern on June 1, 2014.   Abe enjoys movies, Sci-Fi, comic books, gerbils, and having a twin. 

  • Alex McNally, Pastoral Intern

    Alex was born and raised in the Waterloo/Evansdale area and was brought up and confirmed in Ascension.  He attended Waterloo East High School and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a major in English language and Literature in 2010.  Alex was one of the first children to be baptized at Ascension and has served as an usher, deacon, Sunday school teacher and substitute Confirmation instructor.      He enjoys reading, movies, video games, and spending time with his twin brother, Abe. Alex began his service as Pastoral Intern on June 1, 2014, and will be taking online Seminary courses through the American Lutheran Theological Seminary. 

  • Shanda Knight, Director of Children and Family Ministries

    Shanda Knight grew up in Sheldon, Iowa.  Shanda graduated with an Elementary Education major and Christian Education career concentration from Northwestern College in Orange City, IA.  During her college years, Shanda enjoyed working at Christian camps in the summers and volunteering with a local church's youth ministry program during the school year.  God used camp and her volunteering to open her heart to youth ministry. In the fall of 1994 Shanda attended Tentmaker Training in Minneapolis, MN and was commissioned into youth ministry.  Shanda served part-time as a youth director in Dike, IA from 1994-1997.  Shanda came on staff as Youth Director at Ascension in the Fall of 1997 and served in this capacity until fall of 2004 when she moved to the position of Director of Children and Family ministries where she currently serves.     Shanda met her "knight in shining armor" here at Ascension and was married in April of 2005. In May of 2007 the Knights welcomed their daughter Lydia into their family. In her free time she enjoys time with her husband and daughter, cheering for her daughter's sports teams, working around the house and in her garden.

  • Anna Rohrs, Director of Youth Ministries

    Anna grew up in Cedar Falls, graduated from CFHS and ventured to Grand View College in Des Moines to study Graphic Journalism (a combination of Graphic Design, Journalism and Photography).    Anna moved back to her roots when her husband got a job in the Cedar Valley as an attorney in 2011. Her first Sunday returning to Ascension, she really felt like she was “coming home” because of the warm welcome she received. After that, she knew this was where she wanted to be.     Anna was excited to join the team in March of 2013 and enjoys making anything competitive, hanging out with students and encouraging them in their faith journey. Working at the church, she continues the legacy started by her dad, Roger Twito who invested 15 years as a pastor.    Anna has had the opportunity to spend multiple summers in camping ministry in Iowa and CO as well as work on the Youth Ministry Team at Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp where she spent part time at a church and part time at the camp.     She has officially entered the crazy world of parenting with her husband and their smiley little guy, Elijah Hans Rohrs, born Oct. 28th, 2014.    She enjoys Chaco sandals, CrossFit, photography, Caribou Coffee, baking & meaningful conversations. 

  • Elizabeth Wild, Director of Contemporary Worship


  • Becky Helgerson, Administrative Secretary

    Becky was born and grew up in the Waterloo/Evansdale area and graduated from East Waterloo High School. She worked in the billing and bookkeeping department at Wood Products Co. following graduation until marrying and starting a family. Becky and her husband, Jerry, have two children, Chad (Karen) Helgerson of Cedar Rapids and Heather (Shawn) Henry of St. Louis, and two grandchildren, Lauren and Hannah.    Becky is a charter member of Ascension and has been working at the church since 1990. She enjoys spending time at their cabin in northeast Iowa, boating and gardening, golfing, reading, and cheering on her favorite team, the IOWA HAWKEYES! Go Hawks! 

  • Candie Grimstad, Parish Secretary

    Candie is originally from Missouri, but has lived in Iowa for most of her adult life. Candie graduated from Cedar Falls High School and went on to obtain a practical nursing license from Hawkeye Institute of Technology. Candie worked in a nursing home for ten years, resigning after her daughter was born, to be a full time wife and mother.    Candie and her husband, Alan, joined Ascension in 1992. Candie joined the Ascension staff as a part-time custodian in 2005 and in July of 2008 Candie became Parish Secretary.    Candie enjoys spending time with her husband and children, Josh and Alana. She also enjoys scrapbooking, making cards and reading. 

  • Candis Smith, Organist


  • Kathleen Schuhmacher, Pianist

    Kathy has been a pianist at Ascension for 20+ years. She serves as the pianist for the 8:30 traditional service playing in tandem with the organist. She is also the pianist for the summer midweek services. Throughout the Sunday School year Kathy accompanies the Children's Choir. Kathy has also taught piano lessons, and she has had a career in teaching pre-kindergarten in the Waterloo Community School district. Most recently, she has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Northern Iowa. Music has always been an important part of Kathy's life. She also sings in Ascension's Chancel Choir. One of her favorite Bible verses is from Psalm 100:1-2:  "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!"

  • Julia Doerring, Custodian

    Type the content for this list item here. This is just example text to show you what it will look like when you enter text content into this list item. Your unique, authentic, and appropriate text will be filled into this section.

  • Ashley Hanson, Nursery

    Type the content for this list item here. This is just example text to show you what it will look like when you enter text content into this list item. Your unique, authentic, and appropriate text will be filled into this section.

  • Cady Burrington, Nursery

    Type the content for this list item here. This is just example text to show you what it will look like when you enter text content into this list item. Your unique, authentic, and appropriate text will be filled into this section.