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New pastor settles into Christ Lutheran Church

Kathy Tullman, newly-appointment pastor at Christ Lutheran Church in Somerset, stands beside the quilt she received from the women of Central Lutheran Church in Chippewa Falls. She was presented with the gift upon her ordination on Oct. 25, 2009.

Although Christ Lutheran Church in Somerset is Kathy Tullman's first calling as pastor, she is not a novice.

"I've had a wonderful experience to prepare me to become pastor in this time and place," Tullman said. "I had all kinds of involvement in all areas of the church so that allowed me to jump in as pastor of a church this size."

Tullman said she had been involved with congregations her entire life, at times working as a parish education coordinator and serving on the church council. She also worked in the administrative and program areas of nonprofit organizations, most recently in the Cooperative Education Service Agency 10.

However, she said there was no one moment where she had an epiphany to switch careers. It was, instead, a planned out process.

"I long felt called to be an ordained pastor but I chose to wait until my girls were out of the house," Tullman said. "I have my master's degree so I could work at CESA and maintain my main vocation as a mom."

Tullman has been married to John Tullman for 28 years and has two grown girls, Jenna, 24, and Alyssa, 19. They are in the midst of moving from Chippewa Falls to the Somerset area since Tullman assumed the pastoral position at Christ Lutheran Church in November 2009.

Tullman said she didn't actually wait until her girls were out of the house; rather she enrolled full-time in the Lutheran Seminary in St. Paul when Alyssa was 15 years old.

"We actually graduated at the same time - she from high school and I from seminary," Tullman said.

She said she was attracted to the Somerset area because of the variety it offers.

"It's a smaller community, but still close to the city so it has both the city and country. I also had a strong draw to the resort feel community as well as the migrant community," she said.

Indeed, she has worked with a Native American population for a community education program when she lived in Maine and found it "very fulfilling."

Another of her interests lies in missionary work. Her husband has gone to the Navajo reservation and they have both traveled to Malawi to distribute eyeglasses and to South Africa to educate about HIV/AIDS.

"We've also gone to Costa Rica on vacation, but we both felt that the next time we go, we will include a mission. When God's able to use you that way, it's extraordinary," she said.

Since assuming the mantle of Christ Lutheran Church pastor, she said she has been spending time learning about the parishioners and conducting outreach visits.

"I have a lot of program and planning background, but it's not about me," Tullman emphasized. "It's about where God is leading this congregation. My job is to shepherd them."