Steen did his last service at Bethlehem on September 30th, and the following Sunday, October 7th, Wicks was in the pulpit at Bethlehem, which has a congregation of roughly 1,000.
This wasn't Kathy Wicks' first time at Bethlehem Lutheran, however, as her son David married former Cherokee resident Cherilyn Hyndman in the church a few years ago. David, 30, and Cherilyn, daughter of Pat and Lynette Hyndman of Cherokee, now live in Woodbury, Minnesota, with their children, Sydney 2, and Kylie, 3 months.
Kathy is married to Alan Wicks, who is also a Lutheran minister who serves as a Pastor at First Lutheran Church in Sioux City, and the couple have two other grown children. Nathan,28, and his wife Sarah live in Decorah, and Anna, 25, lives in Madison, Wisc.
Kathy Wicks has been an ordained minister for 32 years, and for the last 12 years, her work has been as an Interim Minister, one of 10-12 interim ministers who serve congregations throughout the Western Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), which covers roughly the area of the state from Interstate 35 westward.
Wicks is assigned to serve as an interim minister in churches where a minister has left the congregation, and Bethlehem is the 14th congregation she has served in her 12 years of interim service. Her most recent congregation, prior to Bethlehem, was in Soldier, Iowa, where she served from April - September of this year, and prior to that she was at St. Luke's in Sioux City from September 2011 - April of 2012.
Wicks said the longest she has served at any one congregation was two years, and the shortest time was two months, but in all circumstances, it is dependent on the circumstances under which the former Pastor left the congregation, and on the amount of comforting and rebuilding is necessary during the transition between a former Pastor and a new one.
In Bethlehem's case, Wicks said she feels Steen left under mutually acceptable terms, with no hard feelings, so she estimates that her time as the Interim Pastor here will probably be one year or less. The congregation is just beginning the process of calling a new minister, which will take a bit of time.
Wicks works in Cherokee from Wednesday to Sunday evening, and the church has purchased a home in Cherokee where she is residing during her time here.
Wicks feels her mission at Bethlehem Lutheran is to "listen and learn," helping the church identify its past and future identity, so that "together we can move into God's future."