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TORRINGTON, CONN (SZS) Our Slovak Zion Synod family rejoices with our congregation, Dr. Martin Luther Evangelical Lutheran Church, Muskegon, Michigan as they begin a new chapter in ministry and mission and welcome their new pastor, the Rev. Michael E. Johnson. We join them in welcoming this new pastor and his spouse to our roster of ordained ministers!

Pastor Johnson was installed as Pastor of Dr. Martin Luther on April 1, 2017. Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek presided and preached at the Installation. Participants included: Janeen Pastoor, president of the congregation, who presented the pastor for installation and served as crucifer; Cindy Borreson who served as deacon and bookbearer; Hope Shunta and Braxton Ward who served as torchbearers; Olivia Ward who served as thurifer; the Rev. Katie Johnson, spouse of Pastor Johnson, who served as lector; and Laurie Tilden, the Rev. Kenneth Michnay, and the Rev. Thomas S. Drobena, who served as cantors. Following the installation blessing upon Pastor Johnson, the local clergy present joined officiating clergy in chanting the Confirma Deus in English, using the traditional Slovak chant. Special music was provided by organist Nancy Gibson and flutist Katherine Bourdon.

During her sermon, Bishop Kucharek addressed Pastor Johnson with these words: “Comfort, feed, gather, and strengthen Jesus’ sheep and lambs through the Word and Holy Sacraments; proclaim the forgiveness of sin; and call people to grow as followers of Christ sent out to a broken world in need of healing. Love and pray for the people to whom God has called you. Each day, you will know each other better and grow as the family of God….Love and treat them well.” The Bishop addressed the congregation with an invitation to “build together the ministry of Christ’s Church through missional outreach in your church family, in your community, and in the world. Pray for your pastor and Pastor Katie….Regard your pastor as “‘a servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God’, called by you and to you; love and treat him well.”

A celebration luncheon followed the service in the church fellowship hall. During this time, both Pastor Mike Johnson and Pastor Katie Johnson were recognized and welcomed by Bishop Kucharek to the roster of clergy of the Slovak Zion Synod: Pastor Mike as a newly called pastor in the Synod and Pastor Katie who joins our roster by transfer. In addition, Pastor Chris Anderson was recognized and thanked by our Bishop for his conscientious pastoral leadership while serving as the congregation’s interim pastor. A number of visiting clergy and guests were recognized and welcomed for being present at this celebratory occasion.

We congratulate and welcome Pastor Mike and Pastor Katie into our Synod and join the members of Dr. Martin Luther Evangelical Lutheran Church in celebration as together they begin this new chapter of ministry in their congregation.