Rev. J. Krister Ulmanis


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Pastor Krister begain his ministry at Good Shepherd Lutheran on July 16, 2019 for a two year period. Pastor Krister is a walking, talking multi-cultural kind of a person with a 1,000 stories (or so) to tell.

Born and raised in Sweden to Latvian parents he lived in Canada from 1974 until he began work in the SEMI Synod in Michigan in 2013. Had an opportunity to live in Latvia and serve churches there for a year as part of his spiritual journey.

Ordained 1991 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), he officially transferred to the Southeast Michigan Synod of the ELCA in 2015, at which point he moved here permanently. Loves! Love! Loves! Detroit and the Metro Detroit area.

He always wanted to be a pastor. He loves liturgy and church history, but loves people more than anything else and most definitely loves to laugh. The door to his office is always open, so feel free to drop in for a chat any time.

Before coming to the SEMI Synod he served five ELCIC congregations as full-time pastor along with once-a-month worshipping Latvian-speaking congregations, and preached in the Swedish Lutheran Congregation in Toronto from time to time. In the SEMI Synod he served congregations in Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Woods, Livonia, Sterling Heights, MI, before landing at Good Shepherd.

He is a total sports nut - especially soccer, hockey, and curling. He has a particular passion for the Red Wings; you will notice that in a big way when you stop by the office.
Other hobbies include reading, travel, history, opera, theatre, and music – ranging from classical to punk rock. Passionate patron of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Huge Eminem fan.

Pastor Krister has a son, Niklas, born 1991, whom he raised as a single parent since 1996. He remarried on September 5, 2015 to Lela. Lela is a visual arts teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School in the Detroit Public School Community District and have worked as an Art Therapist at Sanctuary at Bellbrok Retirement Community. 

Claudia Karpinskas,
Administrative Assistant
Claudia has been a church worker for almost 20 years in a variety of different ministries, with the most extensive training and most longevity in Youth and Family Ministry. In addition Claudia currently is also on SEMI synod staff as the Practice Discipleship Coach, assigned by the Synod Bishop, Rev. Dr. Donald Kriess.
Claudia and her husband, Bruno, were married at Good Shepherd over 30 years ago. Two of their three daughters were baptized at Good Shepherd and Claudia herself was baptized at Our Savior Lutheran Church now merged with Good Shepherd.  She grew up in Madison Hts. graduating from Lamphere High School.
Claudia and her family love to spend vacations in northern Michigan, loves to golf, read, cook, and learn new things. She and her husband live in Troy and are very happy to be “home”.