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Pastor Em comes to St. Olaf

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
The Rev. Emily Sauer poses in the sanctuary at St. Olaf Lutheran Church. Sauer will be installed as the congregation’s new pastor at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The Rev. Emily Sauer, the new pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church, usually goes by a less formal name.

It’s even on her desk, spelled out in Scrabble letters glued to a Scrabble tile holder that welcomes visitors to her office.

“Pastor Em” the little sign reads.

She wasn’t really looking for a new church. She was happy and comfortable at American Lutheran Church in Bourbonnais, Illinois She was sole pastor there for seven years.

“I was serving as interim pastor at First Lutheran in Algona,” Sauer said. “I met Pastor Dave Grinberg and he casually mentioned that St. Olaf is open and would you consider it.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
The Rev. Emily Sauer, framed by her Scrabble tile “Pastor Em” desk sign, works in her office at St. Olaf Lutheran Church.

“I was not looking to move,” she said. “It wasn’t the plan.”

Once she considered it, it seemed right.

“There was that sense of peace that it was God’s will,” she said.

She doesn’t plan on making any major changes. She wants the congregation to get to know her and her a chance to know them.

She already feels very much at home.

“These are some of the most warm loving people you’ll ever meet,” she said. “I drove here in an ice storm and when I got here, they were all outside cheering. They love the Lord, they love this church. There’s a spirit of grace and love here.”

Sauer felt the call to the ministry in her youth.

“Church has always been an important part of my life,” she said. “Our family, we had our favorite pew. In my junior year, I felt the calling during a regular Sunday sermon. That moment I felt the spirit calling.”

She was supported by both her minister and her family.

“It took me about a year to solidify going,” she said. “When God calls it keeps coming back.”

She attended the Chicago Lutheran School of Theology. She was ordained on Aug. 19, 2007.

Her first church, straight out of seminary, was at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Mason City.

“I learned by fire,” she said. “I had many moments where I said ‘what did I get myself into.’ God’s will said to stick this out. Along with that came peace.”

Sauer has two children. Andrew Horrell, 10, and Rachel Horrell, 7.

There’s also Olive.

“She’s our dumpster kitty,” Sauer said.

The canine side of the pet equation is represented by Ginger, a 2 year-old Chihuahua

Sauer will be installed at St. Olaf, 239 N. 11th St., at 10 a.m. Sunday. There will be a potluck to follow. The public is welcome to attend and welcome her to the community.

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