HJ/EDJune 19, 2006

Pastor retires from All Saints Lutheran in Darwin

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

After nearly five decades of ministry the Rev. Thor Skeie of All Saints Lutheran Church of Darwin is retiring June 30.

Skeie came to All Saints church on All Saints Day in November, 1996.

“I’ve seen God at work in the lives of people,” Skeie said, and added “I’ve tried, Lord,”

He had been pastor of Faith Lutheran Church of Hutchinson for 28 years before he came to All Saints, he said.

Skeie, who still lives in Hutchinson, also served at Trinity Lutheran Church in Madelia for seven years. His first parish was three congregations in the Benson area.

Although most of Skeie’s ministry was in small towns or rural areas, Skeie came from Brooklyn, New York, he said. His parents came from Norway and settled there. To keep his Norwegian heritage, Skeie decided to go to St. Olaf College, a predominantly Norwegian Lutheran school. That’s how Skeie came to love Minnesota and its small towns and rural areas, he said.

Skeie graduated from Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul in 1957. He remembers well getting that first call to serve the Benson area. “I love the rural very much,” Skeie said. “I felt good about going.”

Because he felt good about each of his calls, he feels this is how God communicated to him to accept those calls, he said.

Skeie enjoyed the honesty, openness and genuineness of the people of Darwin, he said.

The members of the congregation at All Saints are concerned not only for their fellow Lutherans, but for others too, he said.

Skeie thinks of the ministry as plowing earth and planting seeds, he said.

“The Lord is the one who brings about the increase,” Skeie added.

Skeie also was director of the National Bible Camp Association for eight years. He has been all over the country visiting various Bible camps, adding that this work was an extension of his parish ministry.

The highlight of his ministry was “seeing young people grow up and take their place in society and serve God,” Skeie said.

Skeie and his wife, Audrey, have three children of their own. Their son, Peter, is in Nashville. Eric Skeie is in Olivia. Their daughter, Kirsten, is in Bismarck, N.D.

The biggest challenge in being a pastor is making the Gospel relevant in the lives of people throughout their entire lives, he said.

“So much is competing for people’s time,” Skeie said.

The basics of Christianity, such as the Gospel, community and awakening people to the need of Christ, are becoming secondary instead of primary. Skeie is concerned about that, he said.

“People don’t take sin seriously anymore,” he said. “By nature we are sinful, but God has made provision for us.”

Sometimes Skeie wishes he would have gone back to school to get an advanced degree in theology, he said.

All Saints will have an intern pastor, Vicki Toutges of Litchfield. She is a third-year student from Luther Seminary. Skeie is an intern supervisor so he will be coming back to All Saints occasionally in his role as supervisor.

Otherwise he will join his wife, a former teacher, in volunteering. Skeie likes to travel, read, and do crossword puzzles. He also likes sports and telling Ole and Lena jokes, so he will stay busy in his retirement, Skeie said.

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