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TORRINGTON, CT (SZS) The Rev. Melissa Dawn Fulmer Kuemmerle, a pastor of our Slovak Zion Synod and faithful servant of Christ, was posthumously recognized by the Synod for her life of ministry to God’s people. Pastor Kuemmerle began her ministry in our Synod in 2009 when she accepted the Call to serve as a pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Chicago, Illinois and continued until she passed from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant on May 18, 2019. Her ministry touched the lives of countless people from all walks of life.

On All Saints Sunday, November 3, during worship at Trinity, Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek addressed the congregation regarding the significance of All Saints Sunday, including remembrances of Pastor Melissa Kuemmerle’s pastoral presence and faithful devotion as a child of God, spouse, mother, and pastor. Pastor James Kuemmerle received the recognition on behalf of his wife and partner in ministry.

Pastor Melissa married the Rev. James Kuemmerle in 1996, with whom she had two children, Silas and Dorthea. While raising their young children, she devoted herself to academic study in Greek and Hebrew, children’s ministries, and various pastoral ministries. In 2018, she celebrated her 20th anniversary of ordination. Pastor Melissa was active in text study groups, where she enjoyed providing translations of the lectionary readings from the Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts which she loved. In conjunction with the Sauk Prairie Ministerial Association in Wisconsin, she helped develop some new HIPPA compliant pastoral care policies and procedures for the Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital.

In our Synod, she also served as a vacancy pastor in our congregation of St. Peter and St. Paul in Blue Island, Illinois. She faithfully attended conferences and assemblies of the Synod, serving as a Synod Assembly workshop leader, integrating her love of God and love for literature while guiding Assembly participants in discovering theological understandings in their daily life and popular secular books.

Pastor Melissa was an avid reader in a variety of areas, including theology, science, and history. Her ministry reflected her gifts as a theologian, teacher, preacher, innovator, and nurturer. She readily shared titles of books and her learnings from them to guide the edification of others. But as avid as she was in gleaning wisdom from the words in her books and their authors, she was most avid in connecting with the words of wisdom which spoke to her from the Word of God.

Her academic and spiritual interests and gifts were extended to those for whom she was called as pastor, facilitator, and leader. She valued wholeness and healing, care for others, and leadership development. She took God’s call seriously, be it among those in the congregations and communities in which she served, or helping her children develop life-long habits of Christ-centered faith; thus she was faithful to several divine callings at the same time: as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, and as a loving spouse and mother to her children. She excelled in integrating theology into daily life and ministry so that all might know the love of Christ.

The recognition award is made of chamfered crystal held upright by cabernet-stained mahogany adorned with the Synod emblem. It reads: “In recognition of and gratitude for exemplary service to the mission of Christ and His church” and bears Pastor Kuemmerle’s name.