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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Steens returning 'home'

Monday, September 17, 2012

Minister says time in Cherokee 'one of greatest blessings of our lives'

Pastor Jim and Colleen Steen, outside of their "Church home" for the last 15 years, Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee. The Steens will be moving back to their native South Dakota on October 1. Photo by Dan Whitney
Reverend James Steen came to serve as the minister at Cherokee's Bethlehem Lutheran Church in August of 1997 after receiving a call from the congregation. He has served in that position for 15 years now, and says his time there has been "one of the greatest blessings of our lives."

He and his wife Colleen both say that they are very glad that their daughters, Chelsey and Jessica, were able to attend school in Cherokee and graduate from Washington High School.

Now, however, the time has come for Pastor Steen to leave Cherokee. He has received another call, and this is one he felt compelled to accept, because it means that he and Colleen will be going back to their roots in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area, where they still have parents and other family.

Pastor Steen's new congregation will be at Renner Lutheran Church in Renner, South Dakota, three miles north of Sioux Falls. His parents lived in Sioux Falls and just moved to a nursing home in nearby Brandon, South Dakota, while Colleen's parents live in Parker, South Dakota, about 25 miles south of Sioux Falls. She also has two sisters as well as many other relatives who still reside in the area.

The Steens met in college, and they were married in Sioux Falls. Pastor Steen's first congregation was in Muscatine, Iowa, where he served for four years before moving further west to George, Iowa, where he served for six years before receiving the call to Bethlehem Lutheran in Cherokee.

Their daughters were ages 11 and 8 when they came to Cherokee and the girls, both now adults, consider Cherokee as their "home town." Chelsea (Phipps) is now 26 years old and lives in LeMars with her husband Michael. Jessica, 23, lives in Tinley Park, Illinois, where she is employed as a social worker at the Christian Counseling Center.

Pastor Steen says that Cherokee has been "a great place to call home - it's an awesome community, with awesome people."

Bethlehem Lutheran will be served by Interim Pastor Kathy Wicks, who has served 14 different congregations through their transition periods over the years, until the call process is completed and Bethlehem welcomes a new minister.

Pastor Steen will be conducting his final service at Bethlehem on September 30, and the congregation has planned a farewell potluck dinner after the service in his honor.

He and Colleen will be moving to their new home, which he said is just two miles south of the house in which he grew up, the very next day, October 1, and he will be doing his first service at Renner on Sunday, October 7.

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