Let me address “the elephant in the room” as I begin this month’s message to you. By now it would seem that nearly everyone knows bits and pieces of my plans to announce my retirement. The news of this has reached many ears very quickly and I want to make sure that the information is clear and accurate. How I wish the Gospel message would spread as quickly!
It is my intent to retire from full-time ministry among you at the end of December of this year. The Elders and I are in a process of working out details, but I am willing and available to serve beyond this date on a more limited part-time basis. Nothing is set in stone, but our timetable would be for a six-month transition period while the calling process for a new pastor proceeds onward. Sue has some major responsibilities as the LWML Regional Vice-President for the Minnesota North District for taking care of local arrangements for the District LWML convention which will be held in Grand Rapids June 22-24, 2020. First Lutheran is, actually, the host congregation.
We hope that after this main event is over we can make a transition, leaving the Grand Rapids area after over 46 years and relocating to Detroit Lakes, MN. This is a nice central location which is closer to three of our daughters’ families. I have also served the congregation in Detroit Lakes for several months as a vacancy pastor during my first attempt at retirement (I keep flunking retirement). We feel quite confident that this will be a healthy move for us.
Speaking of health, this is a motivating factor in deciding to retire. As I have reached the age of 72 I am finding that the list of body parts that don’t work like they used to is getting longer. I was recently cleared of cancer concerns, but I still have lingering concerns about the condition of my pancreas. We are in a “watch and see” mode. In the meantime, the condition of my voice is not improving. All things considered, it seems that it is time to pull back and enjoy life at a more leisurely pace.
In preparation for this transition period, we are initiating the call process, taking care of some of the details and steps in the process prior to the end of the year. On October 22nd at 6:30 p.m. President Don Fondow of the Minnesota North District will preside over a pre-call meeting to outline the steps that follow. I encourage you to attend this meeting to be informed.
In the meantime, there is much work to be done. I don’t know how objective I can be, but I think that my time among you as pastor has been a time of stability and growth toward a healthy atmosphere at First Lutheran. There have been some exciting signs of this progress. The last thing we need is to go backwards in our willingness to serve, to grow, and to reach out to people we don’t even know yet. Let’s keep our eyes on the cross and keep being keenly aware of God’s hand leading us onward, trusting God to provide a faithful pastor to continue a vital and vibrant ministry to our community and to the uttermost parts of the world.
Pastor Bill Zeige has been in the ministry for 45 years since being called out of the St. Louis
Seminary to serve at Our Redeemer in Cohasset and Trinity Lutheran in Hill City in 1973. He
and his wife Sue grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they met in college.
After moving to Grand Rapids they raised five children: Lynne, Lisa, Laurie, Sarah, and Mark
and cared for a foster daughter for several years. Sue has been involved as a director of
Independent School District 318 for several terms and is seeking re-election currently. She also
served on the Grand Rapids City Council for seven years – five of those years as mayor.
Pastor Bill served Trinity for 13 ½ years before becoming full time pastor at Redeemer where he
served for 38 years before retiring in 2011. Since retiring he has served interim ministries at
Detroit Lakes, MN., Nevis, MN., Our Redeemer in Cohasset, and at First Lutheran since
February, 2018. He also served the Minnesota North District as the Iron Range Circuit
Counselor for 16 years. He also currently serves as City Councilor for the City of Grand
Pastor Bill, although being not so successful at being retired, is grateful to be able to use the gifts
God has given him to be a spiritual leader for the members of First Lutheran congregation and
the people we can reach out to to be part of the family of God.
10/6/2019 LWML Sunday
9/15/19 Divine Service
4:45 Scripture readings
14:45 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
9/1/19 Divine Service- Salutation through sermon--conducted by the Bd. of Elders
8/25/19 Divine Service (abridged)
00:28 Scripture readings
10:13 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
8/18/19 Divine Service
5:45 Scripture readings
15:00 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige
8/11/19 Divine Service (abridged)
4:05 Gospel reading
8:15 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
8/4/19 Divine Service
06:00 Scripture readings
13:20 Apostle's Creed ...
17:10 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige. ...