Rev. Ryan T. Ray– Pastor
Pastor Ryan began serving Mt. Olive in April 2017. A NC native, Ryan has served four NC congregations in the past 18 years, 15 of those years being in the Hickory Metro area. He sensed a call to ministry while in college and has done a variety of ministry from singing bass in an a capella gospel group to leading a tour of reformation sites in Germany. Through it all, he’s had a blast!
Heather was called to serve as the Director of Youth and Family Ministry at Mt. Olive as of July 1, 2015. She grew up in New Mexico and Iowa before making her way to North Carolina in 1999. She is a graduate of Luther College (1997) with a BA in Elementary Education. After teaching for 3 years and then being a stay at home mom for 5, she went back to school and earned her Master of Arts degree in Children, Youth and Family Ministry from Luther Seminary in December of 2008. February 22, 2009, Heather was commissioned as an Associate in Ministry in the ELCA (now called a Deacon by the ELCA). She has served at Cross and Crown Lutheran, Matthews; St. Mark’s Lutheran, Charlotte; Augsburg Lutheran, Winston-Salem; Lutheran Church of the Nativity, Arden; and Mt. Olive, Hickory, all in NC. She returned to seminary as of February of 2017 to complete her Master of Divinity degree with the hope of one day being an ordained minister in the ELCA. She is also the mother of two children, Bradley and Mary, and a pet mommy to Buddy (dog), Alvin (dog), and Thomas (turtle). In her free time (LOL!), Heather enjoys reading, gardening, scrapbooking, and catching up on her sleep.
Lynne grew up at Mt. Olive since her family joined the church on December 1, 1959. She is thankful for her Mt. Olive family who nurtured her growth not only in the faith, but in church music as well. She began playing the piano for Sunday School when she was about 11 years old and began playing weekly for worship at 14 years of age. Lynne earned her BA in Sacred Music & Ministry as an evening college student at Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2001, while working full-time in her library career. She then earned a graduate certificate in Non-Profit Management from UNC-Charlotte in 2005 and a Masters in Library & Information Studies from UNC-Greensboro in 2008. Upon retiring from a 30 year career with the library in 2014, Lynne joined the staff of Mt. Olive as Director of Church Music after serving the youth music program in a volunteer capacity for about five years. Lynne is married to Dave and they have four adult children and seven grandchildren. She is an avid reader and also loves sewing, baking, and the continuous learning of new things. She thanks God every day for her husband, Dave, who is a blessing in so many ways.
Jenna Waters – Organist
Jenna is a Sacred Music student at Lenoir-Rhyne University and has served as Mt. Olive organist since May 5, 2016. When she began her work at Mt. Olive, she was only 17 years old! She had studied piano with her grandmother since she was a young child, but had only had some organ lessons on and off for about 18 months when she was hired. Her talent and passion for playing the organ is obvious to all who hear her play. She has a very promising future in sacred music and Mt. Olive is so happy to help mentor her growth. Jenna loves animals and helps her mom provide “pony parties” for children’s birthdays and loves riding her own horse. She is also an advanced black belt in karate and loves her truck! Come and hear her play “her” organ each week at worship!
Jean has been a part of the Mt Olive Lutheran community for over 35 years, and she has served as the Parish Administrator since 1995. Jean is the mother of two grown children, Charlie and Suzanne, and the very proud grandmother of Elle and Ben. She enjoys gardening, playing the piano, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She is a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.
Kristen Raby Seese has been the Administrative Assistant for Mt. Olive since 2005. She has been married to her husband, Gardner, for 8 years. Kristen is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Licensed Professional Counseling through Liberty University. While she works with and is surrounded by Lutherans all week, she is a member of Longview Baptist Church. In between working and pursuing a degree, Kristen loves to read, watches movies and enjoys playing with her English bulldog, Bella.