After almost 15 years of ministry at the American Lutheran Church in De Smet, the Rev. Randy Koeller will conduct his final service on May 20.
“I’ve found ministry to be very rewarding in the small ways that you share the gospel and interact with people of all ages,” Pastor Randy said.
Not only will he close the De Smet chapter of his life, he will be retiring from 33 years and three months of ministry, which he laughingly compares to a 33.3 rpm motor.
Pastor Randy’s large office window overlooks the playground of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary School. He has enjoyed seeing the kids at play through the years, including his own daughters Krista and Hannah, who were students in the fourth and fifth grades when the family moved to De Smet in 2003. A son, Tom, was a member of the eighth-grade class at the middle school.
Pastor Randy said that he wishes he had set up a camera in his office window to take a picture each day for the past 15 years to document the changes that have taken place since his ministry began.
Following a one-year internship at a church in New York where he met his wife, Arline, Pastor Randy was ordained in January 1985.
The couple married in 1986 and spent the next 18 years ministering in Kansas City, Missouri, Rapid City and Parkston before moving to De Smet.
Pastor Randy feels that the town of De Smet takes great pride in its kids. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful community,” he added.
He and Arline will be moving to Milwaukee, Wis., where both of their daughters currently live.
Pastor Randy said that even though he grew up in Wisconsin and has two sisters living there, Arline chose their retirement location.
“It was definitely her turn to pick without any direction or input from me,” he admitted.
The couple looks forward to attending a church in Milwaukee where they can just be people. Driving to church together and sitting next to one another during services will be a new experience for the two, and it will give them a whole new glimpse of what it means to be part of the church.
“Maybe I’ll learn to be an usher and greet people at the door,” Pastor Randy said.
A shift of scenery won’t be the only transition he will experience during his retirement. “My journey with the Lord will be changing too,” he said.
Pastor Randy anticipates his prayer life to be reinvigorated and take on a new dimension.
Following the marriage of two of his children in the next six months, he plans to have time for reflection and to write down the stories behind family artifacts and heirlooms for the next generation.
And although Pastor Randy hasn’t had a free weekend to golf in a very long time, he has held on to his clubs and hopes to put them to use soon.
When asked how he will fill his days after keeping such a busy ministry schedule for more than half of his life, Pastor Randy said with a twinkle in his eye, “I’m not even worried. I’ll find some direction.”
Posted on 05-17-2018
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