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TORRINGTON, CT (SZS) On Sunday, May 13, 2018, the people of St. Peter and St. Paul Lutheran Church in Blue Island, Illinois celebrated the beginning of their ministry under the pastoral leadership of the Rev. Marjorie Vander Wagen. Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek officiated at the Rite of Invitation to Extended Service, which is performed when we welcome a minister from a denomination with which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has a Full Communion Agreement. The Rev. Vander Wagen comes to the congregation and to our Slovak Zion Synod family as a rostered minister of Word and Sacrament of the Reformed Church in America. She follows the previously called pastor, the Rev. Karen E. Knutson, who retired, and the Rev. Melissa Kuemmerle who served as interim pastor during the congregation’s vacancy.

Following the worship, the congregation gathered for a luncheon to further celebrate this milestone in their congregation. Well-wishers included the pastor’s family, colleagues, and friends of the congregation.

Pastor Vander Wagen comes to the ordained ministry as a second career after retirement. As part of the process of prayer and discernment, she came to the realization that: “Telling others about Jesus, doing pastoral care and coming along side people in distress was the most worthwhile use of my time.” She subsequently enrolled in seminary and graduated in 2013 from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, which shares a campus with the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. After fulfilling the Reformed Church in America requirements and exams, she was ordained in 2014. She looks forward to ministry with the people of St. Peter and St. Paul as together, with God’s help, they discern and build the new ministry to which God has called them.

We welcome Pastor Marge to our Synod and look forward to our future partnership with her in the Gospel!