Pastor Roger Black
Visitation/ Bridge Pastor (part-time)
I am happy to join in service at Bethel as a visitation/bridge pastor. I began my work on July 12 and will be here for a while until you get settled in with your new lead pastor. My title is a hybrid one, combining the visitation of parishioners that is important for the ongoing ministry of Bethel and serving during this bridge time until your newly called lead pastor arrives. I particularly like the word bridge, because it leads from something and goes to something brand new. It connects well with the Biblical teaching that we build from the old to the new, that “God is always making us new.” “In Christ we are new creations.”
The purpose of this message is to give you a brief introduction to who I am, and to tell you something of my previous ministry. I am married to Pam, and we have lived about one year in nearby Windsor. Pam grew up in Glen Ellyn, IL, and we have been married for forty-four years since shortly after our graduation from college. I have two daughters, Christy and Kari, both of whom graduated from Stoughton High School. Christy is married to Doug Keele, and they have three children, Nora (11), Colin (9), and Ella (5). They live in Wausau where Doug is an orthopedic surgeon and Christy is an attorney who does guardian ad litem work and leads an agency working in Marathon County to use art to reach people in need. Kari is married to Andy and they also have three children, Julia (10), Brynn (9), and Cameron (5). They reside in Sun Prairie and Andy works as an assistant engineer for Sun Prairie Utilities and Kari teaches nursing at UW. My wife Pam has her own LLC called Trauma Sensitive Education where she writes and gives presentations on recognizing the effects and working to change the results of trauma with schools and students.
I grew up as the middle son of three on a farm in central Illinois. I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, graduating in 1974, and then Luther Seminary in St. Paul, graduating in 1978. I began my ministry as an associate pastor at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. After six years of youth and education ministry as an associate pastor in Milwaukee, I took my own parish at West Koshkonong Lutheran Church in rural Stoughton, where I served from 1984 to 1994. I began a series of interim ministries after that while I completed a Ph.D. degree in historical theology in 1996 at Marquette. I came to like interim ministry, but still sought a permanent call, which I received to St. Stephen in Antioch, IL in 2000. In 2006 I returned to interim ministry in the Greater Milwaukee Synod, serving there primarily until my most recent interim at Hope in Milton, which I completed in mid-June. I retired from full-time ministry on June 11 when I left Hope but want to work less than full-time for the next four or five years. This brings me to Bethel, where I hope to assist in the visitation of parishioners, be available to do preaching and presiding at various services and assist and support the current staff in any way I can as another pastor.
Despite our Illinois upbringing, my wife and I are big Packer and Badger fans. I enjoy working out, jogging, and golfing as well as spectator sports of all types. Pam and I love going to the movies or watching movies at home. We are excited about our second consecutive trip to the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado this coming Labor Day. We also enjoy travel as often as we can, as well as connecting with and spending time with long-time pastor friends who are stretched over the country.
I look forward to getting to know you and your family as much as possible in the coming days. One of my favorite passages, which is on my Facebook profile is that of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I pray that God will support and strengthen Bethel Lutheran Church as it continues to go through a time of transition.