The congregation at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Cherokee was very glad when Rev. Jonathan Riggert answered the call for a minister and welcomed him with open arms in December, 2010.
If the congregation's intent was to make the pastor feel welcome, they certainly succeeded. The young minister is a native of the small Northwest Iowa town of Manning, and after several years of living in St. Louis, Mo. and St. Cloud, Minn., he says it felt great to be back in a "small town atmosphere" where one can greet their neighbors on the street or in a local store.
Pastor Lemke had also performed pastoral duties at Trinity for several months during Rev. Arndt's illness and hospitalization, teaming with Trinity's Director of Christian Education Matt Eide in ministering to the needs of the Trinity congregation during that trying time.
Jonathan Riggert graduated from Manning High School and received his undergraduate training at Concordia College in St. Paul, Minnesota, graduating in 2001. He then studied at the Concordia Seminary in St, Louis, from which he graduated in 2005.
Pastor Riggert accepted a call to a congregation in St. Cloud in 2005, and served that congregation until he accepted the call to Trinity in Cherokee. He was installed at Trinity on December 10, 2010, and has served as their minister for about two months now.
Pastor Riggert met his wife Jocelyn, a native of the small west central Wisconsin town of Fremont, when both were students at Concordia St. Paul. Jocelyn was studying to be a Director of Christian Outreach at that time. Though she didn't end up going into that field per se, Pastor Riggert said his wife has been an enormous help to him in his ministry, and has worked various jobs, including volunteer work. Right now, she is keeping busy with the couple's first child, 14-month-old daughter Miriam.
Pastor Riggert said he feels a sense of community in the town of Cherokee, and feels the members of the Trinity Congregation are an enthusiastic and diverse group who show a "lot of potential" to assist him in doing outreach to the community, "making what Christ said relevant in today's world."
Pastor Riggert's father, Robert, is also a Lutheran minister. Robert Riggert still resides in Manning, though he now works out of the Iowa District West office of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in Fort Dodge, and travels quite a bit in that position.
Pastor Riggert says he feels "it has been a good couple of months" here in Cherokee, and he feels it will only continue to get better as he and his family settle in.