Pastors bring new life to Le Sueur congregations - Le Sueur MN: News

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Pastors bring new life to Le Sueur congregations

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Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2013 10:41 am | Updated: 10:50 am, Tue Jan 8, 2013.

Not everyone gets to know a community in their job like Sara Hein and Luke Nelson — the two newest pastors at churches in Le Sueur.

Hein is the new pastor at The Presbyterian Church of Le Sueur. Hein is from Minneapolis and went to St. Olaf College in Northfield and Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J. She moved with her husband Jim to Le Sueur from Eau Claire, Wis.

“Before moving here I didn’t know anything about Le Sueur. The only similarity between any other place I’ve lived and Le Sueur is the small town atmosphere. It was like that in Northfield and my husband’s hometown of Ripon, Wis.,” Hein said.

Hein wanted to become a pastor originally because of her experiences in college.

“In college I connected with people that weren’t connected with a church. I felt that I was called to be a shepherd or a disciple for people like that,” Hein said.

The thing that made Hein want to work in Le Sueur was the community.

“When I came for my interview at the church, I noticed that there is a loving and caring group here. A lot of the members of the congregation are very independent. They could almost run the church on their own. What drew me in is that a lot of the community has a relationship in the church. They are good people who are open to new ideas,” Hein said.

Preaching isn’t new to Hein. Her grandfather was a Presbyterian minister. Her husband Jim is also a youth director at a church in Eden Prairie.

“I grew up in the church since my grandpa was a minister. My grandma Kari Torjesen Malcolm was also a huge influence on me. She often fought for women in the church and wrote the book “Women at the Crossroads: A Path Beyond Feminism and Traditionalism.”

Malcom’s book points to an alternative to traditional and feminist models of what a woman should be.

Rev. Luke Nelson is new to Le Sueur, but he isn’t new to being a pastor.

Nelson, the new pastor at the United Methodist Church of Le Sueur, was the youngest ordained Methodist minister in Minnesota when he was ordained four years ago. Nelson is from Lakeville and went to Hamline University in Saint Paul and the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif.

Nelson previously served as a pastor at churches in Kimball and South Haven. His wife is also a Lutheran pastor at the Bethel ELCA church in Lester Prairie. Nelson came to Le Sueur because he was appointed by the Methodist ministry.

“The only thing I knew about Le Sueur before moving here was that it was in the valley of the Jolly Green Giant. After I moved here I was welcomed with open arms,” Nelson said.

Nelson became a pastor because he thought he was suited for it.

“I felt like becoming a pastor was something that I was called to do,” Nelson said.

Nelson said that religion was a part of his life growing up, but it wasn’t as much a part of his life as it is now.

“My family regularly attended church on Sundays, but religion wasn’t a part of my life then like it is now. I became more involved in religion because I fell in love with the Bible. I love what it says about us and what it says about God’s followers. It’s a compelling story. I also loved the church that I attended in college. I was blown away by the sermons, community and fellowship,” Nelson said.

Nelson hopes to go on a mission trip this summer and to be involved in Le Sueur school programs, community outreach and the local food shelf. His church is also going to be hosting ministerial services during Lent on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

Reach reporter Austin Erickson at 507-931-8576, or follow him on @LNH_AErickson.

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