Getting to Know Pastor Ellen Stelzle

Getting to Know Pastor Ellen Stelzle

(pronounced Sh-telltz’-luh)

Coffee hour will be early on July 31! With the congregational meeting following immediately after the 9:00 service, you’re invited to come and meet Pastor Ellen prior to the service. Coffee Fellowship will begin at 8:15 a.m. Members of the Call Committee and Church Council will be there to introduce you to Pastor Ellen. Come say hello!

Pastor Ellen has roots in Wisconsin, hailing originally from the Green Bay area. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from UW-Madison before moving on to her Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. She has held the position of Associate Pastor at St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Omaha NE since 2005, a congregation that is somewhat larger than our own. Their mission statement is: Engaging, Empowering, Sending, and Serving – growing as a community in Jesus Christ.

Some of Pastor Ellen’s duties at her current congregation include leading services several times each month, presiding at weddings and funerals, and creating, leading, and coordinating small group ministries. Some of the more unique ministries she has pioneered with her congregation include a prison ministry and a ministry that helped to resettle a refugee family from Afghanistan. Pastor Ellen even had a small group ministry idea for St. John’s based on the well-received midweek Lenten services this year led by our Worship Team, who tapped into some of our lay leaders to help with the message. She has a passion for building community both within and beyond our church community.

Michael, my husband, and I met in college at UW and have 2 adult children, Rebekah and Lukas.  Rebekah is starting her first year teaching 4th grade in Colorado Springs this fall. Lukas is studying agricultural engineering at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and will graduate in May 2023. Michael works as safety and standards manager for North America at Claas, a German farm equipment company. He is originally from southern Germany, where his family still lives. We both enjoy the outdoors, riding our bikes, walking, and especially being on the water paddleboarding or in our small sailboat. I enjoy reading, making music with my family, and ice cream of most every flavor.

One of the main reasons I enjoy congregational ministry is the variety of opportunities to help people connect to each other in ways that are meaningful and life-giving. A focus of my ministry has been to develop small groups that facilitate fellowship, learning and service. Examples of some of these groups include OWLs (Older Wiser Lutherans), a refugee resettlement team, a spirituality small group, an anti-racism initiative and groups that support people through grief or divorce. I have been trained as a Gallup Strengthsfinders coach to help people discover their unique giftedness and calling. Strengthsfinder is one way we can get to know one another and celebrate the gifts God has given us to love and serve others.

I am excited to see what new and creative ministry opportunities God has in-store for us at St. John’s! I pray that as we build the sense of community within the congregation, it will be our strength and inspiration to share God’s love with others as yet outside the congregation.

See photos from our Meet and Greet with Pastor Ellen…