Glenn and Ruth Monson prepare for new journey in Rochester

Published 9:13 am Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pastor Glenn Monson and his wife Ruth pose for a picture in Our Savior’s Lutheran Church’s sanctuary earlier this week. The couple is moving to Rochester where Pastor Monson will become pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church. Sundy was his last day. Eric Johnson/

Pastor Glenn Monson and his wife Ruth pose for a picture in Our Savior’s Lutheran Church’s sanctuary earlier this week. The couple is moving to Rochester where Pastor Monson will become pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church. Sundy was his last day. Eric Johnson/

After 19 years at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Austin, Pastor Glenn Monson felt called to a change.

Glenn and his wife Ruth are moving to Rochester, and this Sunday was the pastor’s last service at Our Savior’s. Glenn’s new position will be at Mount Olive Lutheran Church as the senior pastor. Ruth will work at Zumbro Lutheran Church, working with volunteers in the church, which is similar to her position at Our Savior’s.

“I do believe that God has called us to these new places, and we both have a real sense of peace about that,” Glenn said.

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The Monson’s are moving because they felt called to go to a new place and have a fresh start, helping new people with the gifts they have to offer. In turn, Glenn hopes this will be a good change for the congregation they are leaving behind, as well.

“I think the move to Rochester is a large part in the conviction that we need a place where we can sort of have a fresh start,” he said. “And also we think the congregation will benefit from having a new voice, new leadership. We think that churches really do grow when they have leadership changes, and after 19 years it seems like it just is time for all of us to make a change.”

Though the couple will be working at different churches, Ruth said it’s a challenge she is happy to take on.

“It will be a lot of people to get to know,” she said. “I think it will be good.”

“We think it might actually be good for us not to be at the same place, because when you’re together all the time at work and home, you tend to talk about work at home,” Glenn added. “So now we’re a little more separate that way.”

Things have been moving fast for Glenn and Ruth. The couple sold their home in one day, bought a new home in Rochester within the week, and Ruth found her position within those few weeks as well. The move comes at a good time for the two, who have had timing issues in the past with a loved one who passed away and a daughter who got married. Glenn let the congregation know he was leaving Oct. 11.

“It’s really come quickly,” Ruth said.

Though the quick pace made the move smoother, she said it wouldn’t have deterred the couple had things not gone as fast.

“That I would call a blessing,” she said. “I think it still would confirm our call if things had not gone so smoothly.”

While they are looking forward to their new positions in Rochester, Glenn and Ruth are sad to say goodbye to the close friendships they’ve made in Austin, especially as both were very involved in the community.

“The only hard thing is saying goodbye to everybody, because all these people are great friends and we’ve been through a lot with them,” Glenn said.

Ruth said her position has allowed her to work with many people over the years, and while she’s excited to meet new friends, the friendships she has made over the years will be hard to part with. She has worked as the choir director, has coordinated worship teams and such for the church, and has played the organ.

“I have really enjoyed working with volunteers in the church,” she said. “That has been a real joy to me to help people find a place, whether it’s in a choir or singing with the worship team, or doing music in the worship service or being involved in the arts. That has been just a wonderful part of my work here.”

Glenn shared his wife’s sentiment, as he has been involved in many things in the community over the years. Yet he said the great thing about friendships is they don’t stop because someone moves, and he hopes to continue the friendships he’s made over the years.

“One of the things we’ve enjoyed the most about living in Austin is how we’ve been able to be involved in so many different aspects of the community,” he said.

Glenn has been involved in a number of things, such as the Austin Symphony Orchestra, St. Mark’s Lutheran Home, the Austin Area Interfaith Disaster Response, the Austin Area Ministerial Association, Adopt-A-City Initiative, the Michael H. Siebel Family Visitation & Exchange Center, and more. He started at Our Savior’s Aug. 1, 1996, as the associate pastor, and became the senior pastor in 2004.

“In a small town, I think that’s one of the gifts of a small community, is you get invited to be part of the leadership in the community,” he said. “And that’s really fun and exciting to see the great things that people do.”

Glenn said no pastor has every gift a church needs, and he hopes his departure will provide an opportunity for a new leader to come in and serve with different gifts he may not have had.

“When we move other people with other gifts come in and they do the job that we can’t do,” he said.

“There’s kind of a mysterious thing that where I think that God does give you a sense that maybe you’ve used your gifts in one place, and it’s time to use them in another,” he added.

Glenn and Ruth’s positions have not been filled yet, but they are confident another leader will take over and help the congregation grow.

“Our Savior’s is a great congregation and we will miss the people,” Glenn said.

“We will miss them dearly,” Ruth broke in.

“But we know that they will do wonderful things in the years ahead,” Glenn finished. “We’re confident of that. They’ve been so good to us.”