Pastor Jason Hacker was born and grew up in Bay City, Michigan. Baptized at St. Bartholomew, Kawkawlin, he attended the church’s Lutheran elementary school and was also confirmed there. He attended Michigan Lutheran Seminary, graduating in 1997. He transitioned immediately to Martin Luther College, graduating in 2001. Finally, he attended Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, graduating in 2005.
Pastor Hacker was first assigned to be an instructor of religion at Martin Luther College. During his service at MLC, he also served as supervisor of men’s housing and assistant coach for the golf team, men’s soccer team, and women’s basketball team.
After two years of service at MLC, in May 2007, Pastor Hacker was assigned to be pastor at Prince of Peace, Traverse City, Michigan and has served there until accepting the call to Grace Lutheran Church in Waukesha, Wisconsin and beginning there in March 2014.
In addition to the congregation, Pastor Hacker has also served as the District Worship Coordinator of the Michigan District since early in 2010. In early 2013, he was appointed by the WELS Conference of Presidents to the WELS Commission on Worship. He serves as the secretary of the Western Lakes Conference of the Southeastern Wisconsin District of the WELS and on the District Constitution Committee. Pastor Hacker has also served as a military contact pastor for WELS Military Services and as the civilian chaplain for United States Coast Guard Station Milwaukee, United States Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan HQ, and the 128th Refueling Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard. He currently is also a Director of the Lutheran Military Support Group.
Pastor Hacker has a great interest in the theology and history of the liturgy of the Christian church as well as sacred music. He began organ studies at MLS and continued at MLC and was particularly blessed to be one of only a few students to study under Dr. Kermit Moldenhauer. He has served as regular organist for St. Bartholomew, Kawkawlin, MI; Christ, Pewaukee, WI; and St. John, New Ulm, MN, as well as chapel organist at the Seminary and at MLC while an instructor.
In June 2007, Pastor Hacker married Jennifer Seiler from Sturgeon Bay, WI, having met each other one year before, the week before Jennifer graduated from Martin Luther College in 2006. Jennifer was assigned to teach first grade at Siloah Lutheran School on Milwaukee’s near north side, teaching there for the 2006-07 school year.
The Lord has blessed Pastor Hacker and Jennifer with 4 children, Malachi, Lydia, Magdalena, and Matthias.
Our family pet is our beloved Weimaraner, Eli.
Each congregation comes to Synod with it own special identity. Grace, Waukesha, is no exception. We came into existence for a unique reason.
In 1909 the small but prospering city of Waukesha was served by three railroads. These railroads brought visitors to the many hotels and spas that made up Waukesha’s thriving summer resort business. Waukesha was known as “The Saratoga of the West”. People came because of the supposed curative power of the city’s spring water. The visitors included prominent and wealthy people like Mary Todd Lincoln.
Waukesha had a rather cosmopolitan air about it. The populace and visitors were served by the usual midwestern mix of Catholic and Protestant churches and the newest Trinity Lutheran Church on White Rock Ave. There was a problem though, Trinity was known as the “German Church.” Services, catechism and children’s classes were all conducted in German. Some forward thinking Lutherans at Trinity felt that the language of our country, English, should be used, especially for outreach and children’s classes. So before our congregation was organized, Sunday school classes in English were offered to children.
On May 23, 1909, Grace English Evangelical Lutheran Church was formed becoming a leader in English only congregations in our Synod. The Rev. E.H. Dornfeldt of the Synods Board for Home Missions conducted the first services. Soon there after the young seminary graduate Henry Woyahn was assigned to develop and serve the young congregation. Though Pastor Woyahn’s salary was small ($250 per year) help was required from Synod to pay the bills. By 1915 the congregation be came self-sufficient.
Pastor Woyahn served for over 50 years – the growth and building years. Grace was Pastors Woyahn’s first and only call. During these years a small frame building was first rented and then purchased from a Free Methodist group. This building served us until 1940 when it was razed to be replaced by the present lannon stone building. This building has been enlarged and improved several times, including an education/church office addition (1966), and a front entrance/narthex addition (1986). Recently the Chancel has been redecorated with the communion rail brought to the main floor, and plans to redecorate the nave are anticipated.
Pastors’ Marvin Volkmann, Arthur Koepsell and Thomas Bauer also served us. Pastor Hacker has served Grace since February 2014. He is only the fifth pastor in our 116-year history.
In 1986 Grace entered into a co-operative agreement with Trinity Lutheran School whereby Grace would call and support a teacher for Trinity School and Grace students would be schooled at Trinity. Several teachers have served us and their Savior in this position. Presently, the congregation supports its children to attend area Lutheran elementary schools.
Sons and daughters of the congregation have entered into the preaching and the teaching ministry to serve the Lord and his church. For these and for those who have faithfully served as pastors and teachers in our midst we thank the Lord.
In this the beginning of the twenty first century the Waukesha spring water resort business has faded into the past but the living water that we serve is as life giving and curative as ever.
“The water I give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
God grant that we continue to faithfully administer this water of life.
To Him be the Glory!