Church Leadership

Take some time to meet our staff and get to know those who make UniLu the great community it is.

Our Staff

The Reverend Fritz E. Fowler
Pastor
pastor@uniluphila.org
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Fritz came to University Lutheran in February of 2015. He earned his M.Div. from Gettysburg Seminary in 2014 and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a Pastoral Ministry Major from Kingswood University, Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada in 2010. Prior to arriving at UniLu, Fritz served in Portland, Oregon as a vicar. 

Fritz’s gifts include teaching, evangelism, small group development, preaching, and hospitality. He is also active as a board member for Survivors Inc. In his spare time, Fritz enjoys travelling, playing with his dog, Tip, reading, playing soccer, swimming, jogging, and laughing with his family and friends.

On Holy Trinity Sunday, the congregation voted to call Fritz as our permanent pastor.  He was Ordained on 9 August, 2015 at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, Philadelphia, PA.  Fritz was installed as the Pastor at University Lutheran on 1 November, 2015.

Vicar James Demmel
Pastoral Resident
vicarjames@uniluphila.org

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Vicar James is a student at United Lutheran Seminary-Philadelphia campus working on his Master of Sacred Theology degree (STM).  He studied at Duke University Divinity where he earned his Master of Divinity (MDiv), with a concentration in Christian Education in May of 2017.  He is a candidate for Word and Sacrament ministry in the ELCA. 

Vicar James is originally from Raleigh, North Carolina and is a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Chapel Hill, NC.  He completed his undergraduate studies at Campbell University in Eastern North Carolina where he double majored in Religion and History.

While at Duke Divinity, Vicar James had the opportunity to serve a yearlong internship at Duke Lutherans, the Lutheran Campus Ministry at Duke.  He also served as a Graduate Hall Director and helped facilitate community in a first-year resident hall.

Vicar James is very excited to be a part of our community and minister at University Lutheran Church this year! He looks forward to the time he will spend in our congregation and campus ministry. 

Brian Schkepper
Director of Music
music-director@uniluphila.org

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Brian Schkeeper has served a variety of denominations including the ELCA and is Choir Director at Ocean City High School. He has taught in the public schools of Indiana and New Jersey and is proud to work with developing musicians as they hone their skills and understanding of music in the 21st century. In addition, Brian is excited to continue Philadelphia's proud choral heritage and tradition as Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Choral Collective after recently serving as Assistant Conductor with The Philadelphia Singers. Brian has prepared and taken preparative duties for performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra including: Janacek's Glagolitic Mass, Handel's Messiah, Lindberg's Graffiti, Faure's Requiem, Prokofiev's film score Alexander Nevsky, Zelda Live: Symphony of the Goddesses, and Gladiator Live. Brian also assisted with the preparationa and premiere recording of Randall Thompson's Requiem and the East Coast premiere of Jake Heggie's choral opera Radio Hour. 

Brian was the founder and conductor of The American Choral Scholars, a project-based professional choir that has sung regional premieres of Schumann's Der Rose Pilgerfahrt and Lassus' Lagrime di San Pietro as well as concerts of Handel's Messiah with The Bayshore Festival Orchestra. Brian has served as Associate Instructor at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music where he prepared opera and ballet choruses, taught choral conducting, and served on the conducting staff of the Indiana University Children's Choir. He has also taught at Monmouth University. 
 
Brian lives in New Jersey with his wife, Amanda, and two sons whose energy levels are a simultaneous and constant source of inspiration and exhaustion. 

Michael Furfari
Office Manager
administrator@uniluphila.org

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For Michael, there is no such thing as a "quick trip" to the supermarket. Try as he might, he can't spend less than an hour there. He pushes the cart up and down every aisle, considering all the options, taking in the smells, chatting with strangers. He approaches his work with that same sense of excitement and wonder, but also with the same attention to detail.

His background is in banking, having started as a part-time banker in 2007, working his way into management. In the summer of 2016, he left his career behind to seek his true calling: helping people get connected to God. In addition to being our Office Manager, Michael is the administrator at another local church. He jokes that he has the same boss, just different supervisors.

Michael leads the Emmaus, a community of LGBTQ Christians in Philadelphia. He and his partner live in Center City with their two cats, Sye and Dumpling. His favorite flavor of ice-cream is mint cookies 'n cream; his favorite vegetable is artichoke.

Drew Kmetz
Congregational President
president@uniluphila.org

Drew attended University Lutheran starting in 2002, while a freshman at Drexel University, and remained involved after earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree.  He was elected to Congregational Council in 2015 and reports for the Property and Capital Campaign Committees. 2017 is his first year serving as Congregational President and he hopes to continue the momentum of ministry growth at University Lutheran. 

Outside of church, Drew is a registered Architect and practices at the Philadelphia architecture and design firm Varenhorst, PC.  Drew also enjoys regular participation in Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons—over a dozen within the past two years—and hopes to complete a Half-Ironman in the near future.  

James Stanton
Webmaster
james.stanton@uniluphila.org

James is from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and moved to Philadelphia when he began studying at Drexel University. As a recent graduate, he his currently pursuing a career in highway engineering. 

James came to University Lutheran in January 2013 looking for a place to worship while at school. In the summer of 2013 he took the chair of the Campus Ministry Leadership Team and helps plan and organize the Campus Ministry program at UniLu. He is also the webmaster for the church's website along with aiding in the electronic communications and design of various publications of the congregation.