Local church welcomes new pastor

St. Paul Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), 600 N. Horsman St., welcomed a new senior pastor on Sunday, Aug. 17. REV. DAVID J. THIES was installed in a special 3 p.m. service at the church’s central site. The church has been without a regular pastor for one year, since Associate Pastor Paul Ferguson left to accept a call to Texas last August. St. Paul Lutheran called several pastors, who returned the calls for various reasons. Rev. David Thies, his wife CHARAE, son LEVI, and daughter ANNA, come from Huntsville, Texas.

Ten Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod ministers participated in the installation, including REV. WILLIAM AMEISS, president of the Northern Illinois District. Liturgist was REV. EUGENE WILLE, retired, of Immanuel Lutheran, Belvidere, who has filled the St. Paul pulpit as guest on many occasions. The REV. DAVE RAMEL, St. John Lutheran Church, Janesville, Wis., preached at the installation service. Lector was REV. SCOTT SNOW, a former pastor at St. Paul who now serves as Congregational Services staff for the Northern Illinois District. His wife, DEBRA, served as organist for the occasion.

All the St. Paul choral groups participated: the Praise Chorus, Sounds of Joy, and the Chancel Choir. The Festival Brass and the Bells of Joy also performed at the service. Rev. Scott Snow was the last person to lay hands of blessing on the new minister. “There’s hardly anyone here more excited to see you than I am,” he joked, and the congregation agreed with a hearty laugh.

Immediately following the service, a reception and dinner were held in the St. Paul Parish Hall. Rev. Scott Snow was “master of ceremonies,” and speakers included congregational officers, school principal RICHARD KESKE and St. Paul’s beloved retired pastor, REV. MARVIN R. FRITZ, who holds the title of Pastor Emeritus.

This year, St. Paul Lutheran Church is celebrating its 115th anniversary. Rev. Fritz recalled that at the earlier celebration, they also noted his 50 years of service with the congregation. “When I came here in 1953,” he said, “they didn’t have such things as interviews and visiting,” as the procedure is now. Pastor Thies and his family were here visiting during the weekend of Rockford’s power blackout immediately following the July 5 storm.

Rev. Snow presented the Thies family with several gifts to get them acclimated to the Rockford climate—a snow shovel, an ice scraper, a bottle of STP, and a pair of gloves. They were also warned that: “it takes at least 18 inches of snow to close the schools. We know how to drive around here in the winter.” The Thies family was also given two baskets of gifts collected by the congregation.

Approximately 300 people attended the installation service, and 260 stayed for the dinner.

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