Staff & Leadership

Reverend Al Pruis, interim pastor, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Morrison
Interim Pastor Al Pruis
Interim Pastor Al Pruis

Emmanuel Reformed Church, Morrison, welcomed a son of her church, the Rev. Al Pruis, as interim pastor on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.  Pastor Al grew up in Morrison with Emmanuel being his home church. He and his wife, Nancy, lived in the Minneapolis/St. Paul suburb of Eagan, Minnesota, before coming to Emmanuel.  Their son,  daughter and son-in-law and two granddaughters also live there.  

Pastor Al served four churches in his career as Senior Pastor, including Peace Reformed Church in Eagan, Minnesota, from 2001 to 2014.  In 2015, Pastor Al semi-retired and began serving as an Interim Pastor and recently concluded his fourth interim calling at First Reformed Church in Randolph, Wisconsin.

Pastor Al is a 1965 graduate of Morrison Community High School and received his Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois State University, his Master’s Degree from the
University of Illinois-Springfield and his Master’s of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.  In June, 1980, Pastor Al was ordained into ministry at Emmanuel Church.  From 1967-1971 Al served in the United States Army, spending two years at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers of Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium and another 18 months in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.  Many years later, Al returned to Vietnam on a reconciliation tour, which included three days in Hanoi, the capitol of Vietnam.

Pastor Al looks forward to being in Morrison at Emmanuel Church and the congregation is excited to welcome him “home.”

Our Search for a Full-Time Pastor

Greetings from the Pastoral Search Committee! Despite uncertainty and shelter-in-place orders, we have continued to meet as a committee via Zoom (video conferencing) and more recently in person. We’ve discussed candidate profiles, met with potential candidates via Zoom, and have second Zoom interviews scheduled for June. Please continue to pray for discernment and for the Holy Spirit’s leading as we talk with candidates and traverse this important process during an unprecedented time in history. God Bless!

Our Staff

Rich Criss and wife Lynelle
Ministry Coordinator Rich Criss
Cell: 815-751-8326
Home: 815-772-4433
Ministry Coordinator Rich Criss

Rich Criss was called to be the Ministry Coordinator of Emmanuel Reformed in February of 2007. Growing up in the little town of Fulton, Illinois, Rich began singing solos in area churches when he was just three years old. He began being coached vocally by his mother who would work with him on the solos he would sing for area churches, nursing homes and wherever invitations to sing would present themselves. He then began taking piano lessons when he was in 2nd grade and continued for the next 10 years, also studying organ during that time. He became one of the organists at First Reformed Church, Fulton, in 1985, at the age of 15. He attended college at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb as a vocal music education major. Beginning in 1994, Criss spent the next 13 years as Director of Music at First United Methodist Church in DeKalb, Illinois where he had the privilege of founding the Celebration Chorale, an ecumenical choir based at First UMC that presented Christmas, Easter and Patriotic productions each year. Since coming to Emmanuel in 2007, Rich has been blessed to direct the 85-voice “Voices of Praise” which present Christmas and Spring cantatas each year.

Rich began driving school bus for Morrison students in 2012 and loves the daily interaction and outreach that occurs with “his other kiddos.” Rich teaches piano and voice lessons each week and gives of his time outside Emmanuel Church serving on the Foundation Board of Morrison Community Hospital as well as serving as volunteer accompanist for the Morrison School District’s choral program. Rich married the former Lynelle Bland on October 12, 1991. Lynelle serves as Director of Food Services for the Morrison school district and stays active at Emmanuel in the music ministry and serves as one of the cooks for the Wednesday night meal program. Rich & Lynelle are the proud parents of two daughters. Their oldest, Brittany, is married to Matt VanDrew. They are the parents of Rich and Lynelle’s pride and joy, three grandsons: Waylon, Jacob and Brayden. Rich and Lynelle’s youngest daughter, Allysa, recently graduated cum laude with her BA from Central College in Pella, IA as a certified athletic trainer and is on staff with Central’s Athletic Training department, residing in Pella. Visiting Pella is one of Rich and Lynelle’s favorite destinations.

Rich and Lynelle love to travel and have been blessed to visit many beautiful places since they were married. They look forward to seeing many more!

Pam Muur and husband Todd
Secretary Pam Muur
Secretary Pam Muur

Pam Muur, the daughter of Dave and Linda Hook, has been a resident of Morrison pretty much her entire life. Pam married Todd Muur in June of 1995, and they joined Emmanuel in 2008. Pam and Todd have three children and four grandchildren. Their son, Mason, recently graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and will be teaching fifthth grade at a classical Christian school in Charlottesville, Virginia, this fall. Their daughter, Megan, will be a sophomore at Central College this fall. Pam’s oldest son, Tyler VanZuiden, and his wife, Justine, live in Morrison with their children, Paisley, Hailie, Bella and Reed.

Pam used to teach preschool in Morrison. Although she enjoyed teaching, she was ready for a career change and loves her position at Emmanuel. In her free time, she enjoys singing, dancing, traveling, reading, taking photos and scrapbooking. She feels truly blessed to be part of Emmanuel’s family!

Additional Staff

Deb Eissens

Lydia Ohlsen
Director of Children’s Ministries

Jamie Rodriguez
Director of Sr. & Jr. High Ministries

Shelly Brackemyer & Lydia Ohlsen

Mark Pruis

Our Leadership

Emmanuel is governed by a body called a Consistory. This group of individuals is made up of elders and deacons, elected by the congregation, and the congregation’s pastor. The Consistory generally meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Check our Calendar for exact dates and times.

Elders assist in pastoral care and are responsible for the spiritual life of the congregation. They receive individuals into the membership of the church, and plan and participate in the observation of the sacraments, baptism and communion. Elders generally meet the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Check our Calendar for exact dates and times.

Deacons lead the ministries of mercy, justice, service and outreach. They care for the needs of the people within the congregation, in the community and around the world. They oversee the physical church buildings. Deacons generally meet the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Check our Calendar for exact dates and times.

Ministers, or pastors as they may be called, are called by God to preach the Word of God, administer the sacraments, care for the members of the church, and build up and equip the church for its ministry in the world.

2020 Executive Committee
  • Rev. Al Pruis, President
  • Denny Boeck, Vice President*
  • Kim Vandermyde, Clerk*
  • Jerry Lindsey, Treasurer*
  • Bill Bush, Chair of Deacons*

*2020 Executive Team Member

Consistory Elders
  • Denny Boeck, 2021
  • Becky Koster, 2022
  • Doug Leech, 2022
  • Jason McDearmon, 2021
  • Anna Ryder, 2021
  • Kim Vandermyde, 2020
  • Tom Venhuizen, 2020
  • Al Wagenecht, 2020
  • Dave Wiersema, 2022
Consistory Deacons
  • Kevin Buis, 2021
  • Bill Bush, 2020
  • Daniel Deter, 2020
  • Scott Findley, 2022
  • Todd Schlegel, 2022
  • Kris Schmidt, 2022
  • Ken Stralow, 2021
  • Ryan Venema, 2021
  • Kasey Wiersema, 2020
2020 Consistory Teams
  • Pulpit Supply: Jason McDearmon and Scott Findley
  • Congregational Care: Pastor Al and Al Wagenecht
  • Prayer: Anna Ryder and Scott Findley
  • Communion: Tom Venhuizen, Doug Leech, and Kim Vandermyde
  • Audio Visual: Dan Deter, Kris Schmidt, and Scott Findley
  • Youth Education: Kasey Wiersema and Jason McDearmon
  • Buildings & Grounds: Bill Bush, Ken Stralow, and Al Wagenecht
  • Vision: TBD after installation of new pastor
  • Missions: Tom & Amy Venhuizen, Corey & Tammy Johnson, Martin (chair) & Becky Koster, Russ & Holly Wallander
  • Bylaw: TBD after installation of new pastor
  • Personnel: Doug Leech, Ryan Venema, and Denny Boeck
  • Safety: Ryan Venema, Doug Leech, Kris Schmidt and Dan Deter
  • Discipleship (Men’s Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Small Groups): Scott Findley and Al Wagenecht