Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 2, 2005

Pastor returns to hometown for church's anniversary

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

When Lester Prairie native Rev. Marc Schwichtenberg was attending confirmation class in the late 1980s, his classmates voted him most likely to have a career with the church.

This made Schwichenberg upset. But, behind the guidance of family, friends, and fellow St. Paul Lutheran Church parishioners, Schwichtenberg soon realized his classmates’ prediction wasn’t so far off.

“I was molded in ways I may not have appreciated at the time,” Schwichtenberg said. “But looking back, it’s something I’m thankful for.”

Schwichtenberg, the son of Jon and the late Opal Schwichtenberg, recently came back to Lester Prairie for the St. Paul’s 100-year anniversary celebration, upon the invitation of several ladies from the church.

“When the ladies from St. Paul invite you to go somewhere – you go,” he said with a laugh.

Attending Lester Prairie Schools until just before high school, he continued his education at Mayer Lutheran School, graduating from there in 1989.

He proceeded onward with his education, making his way to River Forest, Ill. at Concordia University. It was while studying there, he met his wife-to-be, Shane. The couple now have two daughters, Abby, 4, and Katy, 2.

With a theater/communications major, he graduated from Concordia in 1993, and headed to Fort Wayne, Ind. to attend Lutheran seminary.

He accepted his first call to Immanual Lutheran Church and School in East Dundee, Ill., which is located about 40 miles northwest of Chicago.

A short time later, he received another call – this time to his current home in Mount Prospect, Ill., which is a northwest suburb of Chicago, coincidentally, at a church named St. Paul.

He was named associate pastor in 2000, and in 2003, was called again to be St. Paul’s senior pastor.

A rewarding homecoming

When Schwichtenberg returned home recently for the celebration, he was overjoyed in seeing the familiar faces, and “seeing how a local church can affect so many lives in so many places,” he said.

While back in Lester Prairie, Schwichtenberg was able to visit with many people he has known for years, and catch up with some people whom he hasn’t seen in a while.

“Not living in Minnesota, it was great to be surrounded by people who know what hotdish is,” he said with a laugh.

“That was a really neat honor to be asked to be a part of that (the anniversary celebration),” Schwichtenberg added.

Tsunami relief efforts

Through his current church in Illinois, Schwichtenberg is taking part in a mission trip to Sri Lanka to assist with tsuanmi relief from May 10 to 22.

He, along with a group of adults from his church, will be assisting local Lutheran churches in Sri Lanka by providing eyeglasses for people to see.

“We hope that by getting them to see physically, we can also get them to see spiritually,” he said.

For more information on Schwichtenberg’s upcoming mission trip, or to send a donation toward his cause, contact him at:

Rev. Mark Schwichtenberg
100 South School Street
Mt. Prospect, Il 60056
or e-mail at church@saint-paul.org.

“The biggest thing we’re seeking is prayer support,” he said.

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