Meet Our New Senior Pastor & Family

An excerpt from our October 2009 Newsletter column, for all you readers in cyberspace who may not get the paper edition!prcharlieleonard

1.  Welcome, Pastor Charlie & Cindy.  Tell us a little bit about yourselves–where you grew up, your career paths, your family life.
Cindy grew up in a parsonage, born in Osceola, Nebraska and then moved with her family to Wakefield, Nebraska when she was two.  She went through high school there as a very active young person.  She went to Gustavus Adolphus College to become a Registered Nurse and continues a wonderful career as an RN. Cindy has worked in Lincoln, NE, Macomb, IL, Lexington NE, York, NE, Menomonie, WI, and Montevideo, MN.  She has experience in many areas of nursing ranging from surgical care to Director of Nursing positions. 

I (Charlie) grew on a farm outside Wakefield, NE and also was an active young person in school.  Cindy and I were good friends in high school but never dated until later.  I went to college at the University of Nebraska earning degrees in Education, Agriculture and business.  I have worked in the agricultural, finance, and food industries.  Some of my employers during my first 24 years of career life were White Motor Co., John Deere of York, Piper Jaffray & Hopwood.  I spent 13 years in my own business until near the end of my studies at Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Our families are very important to us.  Our two children, Karin and Christopher, live in the twin cities, we so enjoy spending time with them.  We have siblings living in Alexandria, MN, St. Peter, MN, Rochester, MN, Stanton, NE, Edwards, CO, Little Rock, AR, and Houston, TX.  Our mothers live in Alexandria, MN and Wayne, NE.  Travelling to see family is important for us.

2.  Tell us what you are most looking forward to as you begin your life in Blooming Prairie?

We are looking forward to getting to know the good people of First Lutheran Church and Blooming  Prairie.  I (Charlie) am very eager to get to know the staff of First Lutheran Church and begin our working relationship.  Together we have recognized the importance of the schools in Blooming Prairie and look forward to being with the youth and their families at school activities.  
3.  What excites you most about ministry and your work as a pastor in the ELCA?
What excites me most about ministry is how faith works in and through the Christian community, especially how it enables, empowers and brings courage to hurting and fearful people in need of peace and healing.  I am excited to be an ELCA pastor, maybe even especially in these times.  The ELCA has been very bold in its faith to lean forward into social issues (that are sometimes controversial) because of our charge to “love one another.”  The ELCA continually creates an environment for meaningful Christian education/dialog, evangelism, and mission to the world.   I love the ELCA’s recent adoption of the theme “God’s Work, Our Hands,” as we are the hands of feet of Christ until he comes again.
4.  What are your hopes and dreams for our congregational partnership together?
My hopes and dreams for our partnership with First Lutheran are that mutual respect and Christ’s love prevail as we work together to further God’s emerging kingdom.
5.  What do you like to do for fun?  Any hobbies or special interests?
We enjoy time spent with our children at home playing games, or going to activities with them.  We also love making our home wherever we live.  Landscaping, building, and plants are hobbies we both enjoy.  A good football or basketball game, a show, or play is great entertainment, sometimes traveling to see one in person.  We also have a family lake cabin that is a wonderful family gathering place in the summertime.

6.  Anything else you’d like to add?
We are eager to move in to our townhome in Blooming Prairie.

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