Gather | Grow | Give
Ever since our first families gathered together to form the Ruby Avenue Mission, and then Atonement Lutheran Church in 1930, the people of Atonement – through the power of God’s almighty Word – have continued to:
- GATHER together regularly in worship and fellowship
- GROW together in knowledge and understanding of the Word
- GIVE of our time, our talents, and our treasures, in service to others, as an expression of Christ’s love
Our vision: To grow as a unique, multi-ethnic, urban destination, drawn by the gospel of Christ to lovingly impact everyone in our city.
Our mission: To gather around God's Word to GROW in our faith and service in His kingdom and to GO to reach our neighborhood with the good news of Jesus' atonement.
Meet Our Staff
Tom Kock – Pastor
Pastor Kock brings varied and lengthy experience to Atonement. After graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1992 (M.Div.), he was assigned to begin a new congregation in Johnson City, TN. After serving there 22 years, he took a position at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, serving as professor of education and Old Testament. In 2021 he accepted the Call to become Atonement's full-time pastor. He is married to Beth, has 4 children, all married, and 5 grandchildren. "I'm honored and blessed to be Atonement's pastor. If I can serve you with the Word of God, please reach out to me."
Damion Glisper – Outreach
Damion has been around Atonement since his family joined our church and school family in 1982. He graduated from Atonement Lutheran School in 1987 and then attended Northwestern Prep in Watertown for high school, where he met his wife Amy. He attended Northwestern College for a year and then graduated from UWM. Damion and Amy have been blessed with 25 years of marriage and two children. In 2020, Damion came on board as our Congregational Assistant for Outreach after working for many years as a City of Milwaukee exterminator. Damion brings real-world experience, a friendly smile and demeanor, and a deep desire to share the love of Jesus, especially with our neighbors and the children and families of Atonement.
Kevin Poston – Music & Digital Media
Kevin is passionate about reaching all people with the Gospel of Jesus through God's gifts of music and technology. At Atonement, this means working with our pastor, church staff, and volunteers to coordinate many aspects of our in-person and online worship and also overseeing our online communication. He enjoys Atonement's multicultural setting, and our creative approaches to worship and outreach. Kevin earned his teaching degree from Martin Luther College and masters in church music from Concordia University. Before joining us, Kevin served 15 years as a teacher and music coordinator in Lutheran schools and churches in Watertown, Manitowoc, Oconomowoc, and Lannon. He and his wife Jenny have been married over 20 years and are blessed with six children.
Phillip Valdez – Vicar
Phillip Valdez graduated from Martin Luther College in 2015 with pre-seminary studies. For several years after, he took some time to explore other career paths; then in 2021, the Lord led him back to studying to be a pastor. He has completed two years of on-campus Seminary training and is now in his "vicar" year. This means he is serving us as a pastoral intern, working in hands-on ministry, side-by-side with our pastor. Next year, he will return for his final year at Seminary and then receive an assignment as a pastor.
Kevin Cerda – Office Administrator
From church correspondence to weekly bulletin preparation, Kevin keeps our church office running smoothly. His extensive customer service background makes him the ideal person for this role. Kevin served as an electrician in the U.S. Navy for four years and worked in the public sector for many years in both the utilities and construction industries. On board at Atonement since September of 2014, Kevin enjoys working closely with the other church staff and appreciates this special opportunity to serve God. He describes himself as a “jack of all trades” who loves carpentry, plumbing, cooking and electrical work. Kevin has one adult son from his first marriage. Kevin has been married to Josie for over five years; she has two adult sons. Kevin and Josie first dated 48 years ago!
What we believe:
We believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of the Triune God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe, teach and confess that we are saved not by human merits or works, but by God’s grace alone, through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone, as revealed in the Scriptures alone.
Membership at Atonement:
Membership in a church means something. It means you believe that what that church teaches is nothing less than the truth God reveals in his Word. It means joining with other people who are united in faith to hear God’s Word and grow in faith, to encourage and help one another, to pray for and with each other, to serve others in the community, and to reach out with the good news of salvation in Jesus to those who don’t yet know it.
Our church body:
Atonement Lutheran Church is a member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), founded and based here in Milwaukee. Through WELS, we join with congregations across the country and around the world to do the work we cannot do on our own. This work includes training future pastors and teachers to lead our churches and schools and sending out home and world missionaries.