Friday, June 26, 2009

Mountain town pastor comes to Valley of Peace Lutheran

Steve Barckholtz comes from Elko Nevada

Express Staff Writer

Pastor Steve Barckholtz will lead the congregation of the Valley of Peace Lutheran Church in Hailey. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Valley of Peace Lutheran Church in Hailey has a new, full-time pastor for the first time in ten years. Steve Barckholtz was installed last Sunday at a ceremony at the Valley of Peace Church.

The previous pastor, Dr. Chris Reinke, commuted from Twin Falls each Sunday.

Pastor Steve Barckholtz was ordained in 1992 after attending Concordia Seminary in St. Louis Missouri. Following his ordination, Barckholtz served as pastor of the Mammoth Lakes Lutheran Church in Mammoth Lakes California for 12 years, before leading a congregation in Elko Nevada for five years.

"After a lot of prayer and consideration it seemed that this is where the lord wanted us to be in the next chapter of our lives," said Pastor Barckholtz, who is joined by his wife, Wendy, and their two children, Zane and Mallory.

Wendy Barckholtz is a native of Filer and has deep roots on southern Idaho.

Pastor Barckholtz will oversee a congregation of about 65 souls.

Barckholtz said the transient and seasonal nature of the Mammoth Lakes resort area congregation differed sharply from the more traditional and established congregation in Elko.

"In Mammoth Lakes we had 3 or 4 separate congregations in 12 years," he said. "In Elko there were original members from the 50 year-old church congregation."

"I have found that my own gifts and passions are more in line with non-traditional congregations. That is one of the reason we moved here," Barckholtz said.

The new pastor said he plans to focus on relationship building within his congregation "so that we can better reach out to others and help them in whatever troubles they might be having."

Congregation Chairman Ted Kiel said he hopes Pastor Barckholtz will provide a public face for the church in the Wood River Valley.

"We want to share the good news, the word of Jesus Christ the savior, with the un-churched or with those who have fallen away from the church in the valley," said Kiel. With a full-time leader, The Valley of Peace Lutheran Church will see development of programs that have been available at other churches in the valley, such as Sunday School, bible studies and youth groups.

"In the fall we plan to get many of these programs going," said Pastor Barckholtz.

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