“Welcome to St. John’s!” That’s the phrase I’ve already heard from many of you, and by the time you read this, I will have heard it from many more. Thank you. Now, it’s my time to say to all who read this page, “Welcome to St. John’s!” That’s right.
Whether you’re new to this site or a returning guest, I say welcome! Hospitality is one of the most important things we do, both for those we know and for those who may be new to us. Jesus welcomes us with love and open arms, and we’re called to do the same.
I come to St. John’s, Bennington, (SJB) excited about the possibilities for ministry alongside you. I’ve served smaller and larger congregations, both as a solo pastor and as part of a team. Along the way, I’ve discovered that my ministry strengths lie in renewal and transformation. One of my core beliefs is that God is in the renewal business; we are always being made new, as individuals, as congregations and as communities.
I was ordained in my home church of Little Elk Creek Lutheran (LEC) in Menomonie, Wisconsin, where the seed for ministry was planted by my confirmation pastor.
In 1985, I graduated from Wartburg College with a degree in English Education. My first job out of college was to serve as a program director at a Bible camp in Northern Wisconsin for a year before becoming an admissions counselor for 2 years at Wartburg.
During those three years after college, the persistent voice of God that had been calling me to ministry since my confirmation days at LEC prompted me to go to Wartburg Seminary, where I graduated in 1992. More often than not, I’ve been the first regularly called female pastor in the congregations I serve, and so, out of necessity, set a high bar for myself and others.
Throughout my ministry, I have also served the larger church in various capacities: as dean of one conference and chaplain of another, featured speaker at synod assembly, host of a regional church gathering about church renewal and writer for various devotional pieces. Currently, I’m the secretary of the First Call Theological Education Committee and serve as a mentor pastors for new pastors.
I already feel an affinity for St. John’s, Bennington (SJB) because my husband, Bob Gremmels, has family ties here. Bob’s great grandfather, the Rev. Paul Bredow, served as pastor at St. John’s in its earliest days and also later on, coming out of retirement to do so the second time he was called to serve.
Bob and I are parents to Ariana, a Wartburg College graduate with a degree in social work. She specializes in Geriatrics and works remotely with HomeThrive out of Chicago. She is married to Brandon Zumbach, a Central College graduate with a degree in athletic training. Brandon is part of the Houston Astros organization. They have one cat, Nala, and recently bought their first home.
My hobbies include art, writing, biking, walking, savoring the beauty of creation during all the seasons Iowa offers, campfires and an occasional dip into Netflix or AppleTV.
Thank you for welcoming me to serve as your pastor. I look forward to being able to say to you, “Welcome to St. John’s!”
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