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home : news : news August 1, 2014

4/16/2013 2:04:00 PM
Faith pastor grateful for his first parish
Justin Boeding, the pastor of  Faith Lutheran Church in Dodge Center for ten years, has accepted a call to United Lutheran in Red Wing, MN. Photo by Tara Lindquist
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Justin Boeding, the pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Dodge Center for ten years, has accepted a call to United Lutheran in Red Wing, MN.

Photo by Tara Lindquist

By Tara Lindquist

Faith Lutheran Church in Dodge Center has said good-bye to Pastor Justin Boeding, but leaving his church of the past ten years was not an easy decision for the young pastor to make.

Pastor Boeding came to Dodge Center ten years ago, it was his first call out of seminary school. Growing up he'd always thought he'd be a youth group director, but not a pastor. "I never met any pastors that I could truly relate to," he explained. "When I was going to college I finally met a few that I could relate to and I changed my course." He graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly Iowa and attended Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

"Seminary School taught me theology, it was this congregation that taught me how to be a pastor," he explained. "During my time here I learned how to preach, how to lead and how to sit by someone's side when they're dying." Faith Lutheran, was his first call out of seminary. He said other churches have called him in the past, but it was always easy for him to say no, this time he and his wife Jayne really struggled with the decision. "I guess we just felt that it was time to move on," he said.

"It's been a very emotional time but we feel that this is God's calling." Pastor Boeding accepted a new position as the pastor at United Lutheran in Red Wing.

When Pastor Boeding started at the church, the average worship service had about seventy people, that slowly grew and today there are about 280 that attend worship regularly each Sunday. Boeding said the increase in church attendance was God doing his work, Bill Ketchum disagrees. "Pastor Justin was instrumental in growing the church," Bill Ketchum explained. "We are all SAD to see him go, not just the church members but the community as a whole is very sad to see him go but we all wish him the best."

Boeding said "Being a part of this amazing congregation that is doing such great work has been very fulfilling." He also added, he is amazed at the amount of mission work the congregation now does, including their work with the food shelf, Habitat for Humanity and Lutheran Disaster Relief. "One of the greatest things about being a part of this congregation is that we get to work with people outside the church as well, I'm really going to miss the community." Through his time at Faith Lutheran, he said he also learned how to live with tension and uncertainty. "I learned that I don't have all the answers nor am I supposed to," he explained.

The hardest part about leaving the church, is leaving behind the people he has gotten to know so well. "Part of being a pastor is being invited into the holiest moments of people lives," he said. "Some of the first kids that I baptized here, I had in first communion classes, and some of the first ones that I had in confirmation classes I've married."

The church held a farewell luncheon for the pastor on Sunday and have begun putting together a call committee to help hire a new pastor. In the meantime the congregation will rely on an interim pastor.

Claremont Service

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