St. Mark's Lutheran in St. Charles installs new senior pastor
On July 10, the Rev. James "Jamie" Holt was installed as senior pastor at St. Mark's Lutheran during an installation service at the St. Charles church.
The service was led by the Rev. Dr. Allan Buss, Northern Illinois District President for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
Holt's installation follows a 20-month search for a senior pastor.
Also participating in the service were St. Mark's interim pastor Ray Krueger; Circuit Visitor Pastor Ron Weidler of Batavia; Pastor David Zersen of Wauwatosa, Wis.; Pastor Hesham Shehab of Salaam Christian Fellowship in Lombard; and Vicar Christopher Kolupa of Trinity Lutheran in Burbank.
In his message, Buss emphasized that the church, through God's mercies, is equipped to face today's challenges. He said, "We have a vibrant Christian life that flows from a vibrant Christian faith and the center of that faith … .that object of that faith is Jesus. Don't be conformed by the world but be transformed by Jesus. This is your time to focus on Jesus. You have a clear and crisp message for this community."
During the vacancy, Pastor Ray Krueger served as interim and provided spiritual leadership during the COVID-19 shutdown. Church Council President John Toniolo expressed appreciation for Krueger's service to the church.
"Pastor Ray was the calming influence during the time of uncertainty at St. Mark's. He had the best interest of St. Mark's and our community in mind when we had to make tough decisions regarding our church and the protocols we put in place. We owe a debt of gratitude to Pastor Ray for his commitment to St. Mark's during that time," he said.
Holt graduated from Concordia University-Chicago with a BA in Theology in 2008. He then completed his Master of Divinity degree at Concordia Seminary-St. Louis in 2013.
For 5 years prior to accepting St. Mark's call, he was serving as pastor at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church and campus pastor of Valley Lutheran High School, both in Phoenix.
Holt is known for his strong biblically based knowledge and teachings. Toniolo said that Pastor Holt delivers messages to the church that are current, clear, relatable, and attention grabbing. "I encourage our community to come and visit one Sunday and feel the energy that we are experiencing at St. Mark's," he said.
"The service for my installation at St. Mark's was truly special. from the beautiful music to the encouraging sermon from Pastor Buss. I couldn't wish for a more welcoming celebration of the beginning of our relationship. I enjoyed meeting the pastors and leaders in our community, and getting to know the ways they serve the Lord and His people," Holt said.
Holt, who lives in Batavia with his wife and two children, said that he is looking forward to discovering opportunities for the church to work together in the future. He explained, "We have such a talented staff and so many faithful and eager volunteers and servant-leaders here. It's humbling to have so much support and prayerful encouragement from the St. Mark's family. Their love of God and His word makes our next season of ministry very exciting,"
About St. Mark's
St. Mark's Lutheran Church, at 101 S. Sixth Ave., was established in 1907. It is affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod-Northern Illinois District. On Sundays, the church currently offers a 9 a.m. traditional worship and 10:30 a.m. contemporary service. In September, service times will change to 8:30 and 11 a.m. with an hour educational program in between.