Immanuel pastor spreads news with fun approach
“It might not be fun to clean the church kitchen, but when you all get together it’s fun,” Lee said. “When you connect the every day tasks with the way people experience God, it just brings about new life.”
Lee, whose last appointment was in Miami as senior pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church, came to the area because he was looking for a place to raise his family. He and his wife Susan have three children: 8-year-old Charlotte, 6-year-old Amelia, and Hudson, who recently had his first birthday.
“The Bishop said, ‘We’ve got this beautiful place in Suttons Bay. Would you ever consider it?’”
Consider it he did, interviewing for the post to see if his ‘gifts,’ or skill-set, matched up with what the congregation was looking for. Soon after, he packed his bags.
“I love it,” Lee said of Leelanau County. “It’s amazing.”
His daughters, who are in the first and third grades, will attend Suttons Bay Public Schools.
Lee replaces Paul Kuhlman, who recently retired. Kuhlman was at the church for 22 years.
Originally from Pleasantville, a suburb of New York, Lee got involved in the church when he was invited to work in an outdoor ministry camp with children from troubled backgrounds. The kids would spend the summer at the camp in a loving environment where they would learn about the woods and the creator and “all those good things,” Lee said.
Immanuel Lutheran has a membership of about 350 people, with Sunday services averaging about 120, Lee said.
In addition to growing the church’s membership, Lee said he would like people to grow in faith, as well as to learn about God and how He changes lives.
“And that’s from cradle to grave,” he said. “That’s an ongoing process in all of our lives no matter where we are in that journey.”
Lee also plans to develop a strong youth program in the church.
“The church is excited about the new future,” he said.
Lee has a master of divinity in theology degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, a bachelor of arts in the Judeo-Christian heritage from Concordia College in New York, and an associate’s degree in electronics engineering. His first service at Immanuel Lutheran was July 22. He was installed the same day in a service officiated by the Rev. Roger Hardy, assistant to Bishop John Schleicher of the North/West Lower Michigan Synod.