And God’s gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ. – Eph. 3:11-12.  

Christ the King Sunday, Pr. Stephen Cook preached his last sermon as a Synod Minister, 43 years to the liturgical Sunday from his first sermon in his first congregation. As he prepares to retire from full-time called ministry, I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of a grateful synod and personally, to extend heartfelt thanks.  

Pastor Steve is a Seminex graduate, coming through those difficult months and years with rock-solid Lutheran theology and deep integrity. He served many congregations: in Central Illinois, and in the Northeastern Minnesota Southwestern Minnesota Synods. He also served as Clinical Director of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, at the Brainerd Counseling Center. Pastor Steve began his call as Synod Minister for Equipping Congregations four years ago this month, in 2018.  

Throughout his ministry, Pr. Steve has given his wisdom, energy, faith, and scholarship to equip the saints to do the work of ministry and through it, build up the body of Christ. His ministry with the Synod focused especially on call process – meeting with congregation councils, call committees, and candidates for call. He has served as the synod staff member to work with the Management & Mission Support Committee and the Endowment Committee. His special interest and training in Bowen Family Systems led to the creation of the Congregational Resource Team and the growth of this skilled group to work closely with congregations wishing to do deep listening and planning for the future.  

Pr. Steve’s love of God, commitment to the ministry of congregations, and his gifts of theology, wisdom, organization, and clear thinking, have been a true gift to this synod. And his sense of humor never failed to brighten a conversation and lift our spirits. We will miss his leadership and pray all God’s blessings for him and for Sylvia in the years ahead. – Bishop Dee Pederson 

Gracious God, we thank you for the work and witness of your servant, Pr. Stephen Cook, who has enriched this community and brought gladness to friends and family. Now bless and preserve him at this time of transition. Day by day, guide him and give him what is needed, friends to cheer his way, and a clear vision of that to which you are now calling him. By your Holy Spirit, be present in his pilgrimage, that he may travel with the one who is the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ELW, Pastoral Care 

After November 30, Pr. Steve can be reached at [email protected]


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