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Cow Belle: Changes, changes

I guess that is what life is all about…changes.

Babies are born, old people die, and people pass in and out of our lives constantly. We have to accept these changes, like trees bending in the wind.

After 17 1/2 years, our Pastor John Sutherland is moving on, having accepted a call to be assistant to the bishop of the Northwest Synod of the ELCA. What an awesome privilege, also an awesome responsibility. He will serve well.

But we will miss him.

I was one of those fortunate to serve on the call committee back when Rev. Richard Ulvilden planned to retire, and Pastor Sutherland was one of those on the call list. We interviewed several others too. We also listened to a taped sermon John had delivered at a Christmas service in some church previously.

His sermon was so down-to-earth, special and inspirational that it was another one of the reasons we chose to call him to our two-point parish. We were happy when he accepted our call.

During these 17 1/2 years changes have been made. We are no longer a two-church parish. Rush River Lutheran and Our Savior’s Lutheran have been separate churches for several years.

The large painting of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is back over the altar. An outdoor worship center, complete with huge wooden cross has been used during summer evening services. I think our church has grown in many ways, attempting to be more “stranger friendly and welcoming.

We have had wonderful youth programs and include more young people in the work of the church. I love the changes that have taken place these past years.

I will miss Pastor John’s sermons. He has a gift of turning a simple, everyday event into an insightful and inspirational observation. He is also warm, welcoming and has a great sense of humor. He will surely be a blessing in his new calling.

Pastor John, Kathy and family, we at Our Savior’s will follow all of you in our thoughts and prayers wherever you go.

But I wonder who the Lord will send us to replace him?

 Ina Murray