the team

We hope that all people who get involved at Common Ground become leaders in God's grand conspiracy of love and mercy.  Here are some of the people you will see doing various things around here.

  • Benjamin Morris - Pastor - LCM

    Ben serves as pastor here at Common Ground and as Adjunct Professor of Theology at Viterbo University.  He is ordained in the Lutheran tradition (ELCA) and is passionate about serving alongside people of all backgrounds, and showing that the Gospel is more inclusive, reckless and wonderfully irresponsible than we could ever imagine.  When he is not out and about doing pastor stuff he can be found with his family (wife and two daughters), in the outdoors, canoeing, kayaking, climbing, backpacking, training for the American Birkebeiner #birkiefever,  tenkara fly fishing, hunting and really anything that is adventurous and goes well with a craft beer.  He holds a BA in History, from Central Michigan University where he also ran on the track team.  His seminary education was completed at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA and he also spent a year studying at the Augustana Hochschule in Neuendettelsau, Germany. He is also a proud WFR (Wilderness First Responder) though hopes to never have to use the skills.   His two dogs are often with him at Common Ground and you can find out more about them below.

  • Jason Derr -  Minister - UCM

    Jason grew up in the suburbs of Richmond, Va and worked briefly in the film industry before working on his BA in Creative Writing in Spokane, Wa at Eastern Washington University. After an experience in campus ministry as an undergrad he ended up at the Vancouver School of Theology in Vancouver, Canada. After seminary he served as the campus minister at LAMM Lutheran/Anglican Mountaintop Ministry at Simon Fraser University. His fiction has appeared in Relief, The Midnight Diner, Green Brier Review, Literary Orphans and the anthology Pick Your Poison. His essays have appeared in and A Beautiful Resistance. His theological interest centers around theologies of neurodiversity, the neuroqueer and resisting assumptions of the neurotypical. His interests center on art, creativity, writing, the theological and electoracoustic/electronic classical music

    He has recently moved to LAX with his wife and three awesome and hyper kids.

  • Brynn Dutelle - Music

    Brynn is a Senior and is one of this year's music scholars.  Outside of having one of the best senses of humor ever, full stop, Brynn uses her voice to help join ours together as we worship on Sundays.  

  • Casey Fremsted - Music

    Casey is the other half of our Music duo and is a Junior at Viterbo majoring in Religious Studies.  When she is not studying at Viterbo, or helping people find their voice so they can praise God she can be found helping out with countless other music ensembles at different ministries in La Crosse.  In the Summers she is a counselor at Sugar Creek in Ferryville, Wisconsin where she can captain a houseboat like nobodies business. 

  • Zoey Michlig - SaLT, and Oikos

    Hi, I’m Zoey and I’m a junior at UW-L! I am studying elementary education with a minor in Special Education. In my spare time I love being outside, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.


    Not really sure what else you want, let me know if I should add more!

  • Rachel Stoutenborough aka Stouty, SaLT and Oikos

    Rachel will be a senior at UW-L this year and she is majoring in Elementary Education & Spanish Education. She loves backpacking, skiing, kayaking, and anything else that involves being outdoors. She loves to travel and spent a semester studying abroad in Cádiz, Spain. This past summer, Rachel was a travel director at Rainbow Trial Lutheran Camp in Colorado.

  • Edel - Official Dog of Common Ground

    Edel is Ben's German Wirehaired Pointer Mix.  Born and raised on a reservation in Northern Minnesota she has grown up around people and in churches all over.  She accompanies Ben on most of his outdoor adventures and can even hold her own whitewater canoeing.  She is around the building most days and loves to be taken for walks and runs by students.  

  • Arlo - Official Dog in Training

    Arlo is a an Australian Cattle Dog, aka Red Heeler.  He was born this past March so he is still growing and has lots of energy.  So PLEASE come and take him for a walk or a run.  He recently completed his second trip to the mountains, making it it just shy of a 13er to summit before weather turned him around.