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St. Luke's installs new pastor

Matthew Hein, new pastor at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in New Richmond, was installed at a special service on Jan. 3. He comes to the congregation after serving for more than three years as an associate pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Wausau.

Matthew Hein was installed as senior pastor at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in New Richmond during a special afternoon service Jan. 3.

In an interview last week, Hein, who was most recently associate pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Wausau, said the transition into his role has gone well.

"The leadership of this congregation is very good," he said. "They've been a blessing to me as I start up here."

As he awaited the arrival of his family and the moving van filled with their possessions, Hein recalled his unusual journey into the ministry and his eventual relocation to New Richmond.

Prior to pastoral ministry, Hein worked as a geology instructor in the Department of Geology at Central Michigan University.

"I did not go the traditional route," he admitted.

While employed at the college, Hein worked with a campus ministry program, leading Bible studies and working with students. Through that experience, Hein said he developed a passion to teach people about more eternal topics.

"I felt that was what I was supposed to be doing," he said. "It was really appealing to me, and with encouragement from my wife and others, I pursued that."

In 2006, Hein graduated with a master's of divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

He completed his vicarage at First Lutheran Church in Gainesville, Fla., where he specialized in college campus ministry.

He served in Wausau for more than three years, where he was involved with family life, adult education and confirmation ministries.

When he learned about the New Richmond pastoral opening, Hein said it seemed like a good fit for his family and for him. New Richmond is a nice-sized community and the church family seemed welcoming and helpful, he said.

"I was drawn to the ministry and the people here," he said.

After interviewing with St. Luke's leadership and more than two weeks of consideration, Hein was issued a call from the congregation.

Hein said he's excited about St. Luke's future and hopes to be a part of the team that nurtures current members and reaches out to others in the community.

"We're excited for new possibilities and new adventures here," Hein said.

Hein said he doesn't plan to implement any new programs or advocate for any new initiatives in the near future. First he wants to figure out what makes the local congregation tick and then begin to look at ways to conduct effective ministry here.

"My big goal is to get to know the people here before I do anything else," he said.

Whatever the new job brings, Hein said he's ready for the challenges ahead.

Hein and his wife Jennifer have have two children, Gideon, 3, and Miriam, 2. Gideon is already enrolled at Noah's Ark Preschool, which operates at St. Luke's.

"My son hasn't stopped talking about going to school and having Mrs. (Bonnie) Klopp for a teacher," Hein said. "So many people have been touched by her. It's amazing."