BY STARRLA CRAY
DASSEL, MN After more than a decade of service at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel, Pastor Steven Olson and his wife, Diane, have accepted a new call to serve Our Savior’s Lutheran in Albany.
Their last Sunday at Gethsemane was Aug. 2.
“We will carry many treasured memories of our time here,” Steve said. “Most especially, we will treasure the welcome we were given and the love of Gethsemane’s people.”
As the Olsons depart, Gethsemane is finalizing an agreement with an interim pastor who will be starting early in September. The congregation will also continue to be served by Associate Pastor Carolyn Pflibsen, who has a focus on faith formation, including education, youth, and family life ministries.
Steve was born in St. Cloud and was ordained in 1983. Before coming to Gethsemane, Steve (a native of Minnesota) and Diane (a native of Canada) served as church planters and redevelopers in Ontario, Canada.
“We helped churches that were having a difficult time get back on their feet,” Steve said, adding that they usually stayed with a congregation four to six years.
After 21 years in Canada, the Olsons decided to move to America to be closer to family, including both of their sons, who had married and were raising children in central Minnesota.
The immigration process proved challenging, though, as the Olsons were told it would take more than 600 days for them to be admitted into the states. On hearing this, Steve offered to rescind his acceptance of the call to Gethsemane, but the congregation wouldn’t hear of it.
Instead, the congregation worked to cut the immigration time down from nearly two years to just over six months. Steve said he will always be grateful for Gethsemane’s help during this time.
The Olsons stayed at Gethsemane longer than any other calling, and had planned to retire in that position.
“Dassel is a good place to live, and Gethsemane is a great congregation,” Steve commented.
Yet, when the call from Our Savior’s came, the Olsons believed God was calling them into a new setting.
“We can get another good pastor for Gethsemane, but your gifts are now needed in Albany,” Synod officials told the Olsons.
As Gethsemane gets ready to call its next pastor, the congregation plans to work with its interim pastor to plan for the journey ahead.
“Pastors come and pastors go; the church remains,” Steve said. “So, to all the people of this community, farewell, goodbye, amen!”
Gethsemane Lutheran Church can be reached at (320) 275-3852.