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TORRINGTON, CONN (SZS) The Slovak Zion Synod extends our prayers for God’s blessings on one of our ordained ministers as she begins her retirement. The Rev. Dr. Karen E. Knutson began her retirement on October 1, 2014, after nearly six years of ordained ministry at St. Peter & St. Paul Lutheran Church in Blue Island, IL. On September 28, the congregation honored Pastor Knutson during a special service and dinner at the church attended by family, friends, and many well-wishers from the congregation. During the service, Pastor Knutson was able to preside and preach a final sermon to her parishioners as their pastor before the congregation embarks on their own next chapter of life. Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek brought the greetings and well-wishes of the Slovak Zion Synod, and offered special prayers of farewell and Godspeed to the newly retired pastor. During these prayers, Bishop Kucharek invited those present to come forward and join her in the laying on of hands on Pastor Knutson as she prayed these prayers of blessing.

Pastor Knutson was ordained in 1972 and has faithfully served in ordained ministry for over 42 years. She was born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, and immigrated to the United States in 1962. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she received the Doctor of Ministry degree. She was the first ordained woman in the Illinois Synod of the Lutheran Church in America, and the second ordained woman of the Lutheran Church in America. When her husband, Thomas, was ordained in 1974, they became the first clergy couple in the LCA. (In 1988, the Lutheran Church in America merged with the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and the American Lutheran Church, forming our present day Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.)

Among her many lifetime accomplishments, Pastor Knutson helped establish the first Oncology Support Team at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in 1979 and served as the Oncology Unit chaplain for nine years. Prior to accepting the Call to St. Peter & St. Paul, she served as an assistant to the bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod of the ELCA, and as interim pastor in seven congregations in Chicago and its suburbs.

In her retirement, Pastor Knutson will remain a member of the Slovak Zion Synod as a retired ordained minister rostered in the Slovak Zion Synod. We wish her the best in this new chapter of her life, as she looks forward to spending time with her family, broadening her travels, and discovering God’s next challenge for her.