The senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake, known for her work for those in the second half of life, has received a new call to a retirement community in Colorado.
Pastor Pamela Stofferahn has worked at the church for 10 years. When she learned about the aging boomer population in the White Bear Lake area, she and her staff came up with ideas on how to engage them. The church launched a retirement workshop and marriage retreat geared to older adults. Social, spiritual and service activities were increased.
The church's focus on those in their silver years led Lyngblomsten senior housing, healthcare and services in St. Paul to partner with the church to offer “2nd Half with Lynblomsten” seminars, activities and resources at the church about a year and a half ago. A Lyngblomsten site coordinator and social worker office at the church. A community nurse visits members in their home to do wellness checks.
The program offers respite and information for caregivers, said Lynn Amon, site coordinator. “It really supports the model of aging in place,” she noted.
Many seniors have a desire to stay in their hometown as long as possible. The programs are open to anyone in the community — it doesn't matter where you attend church or what school district you live in, she said. Seniors of any ability are able to participate.
The goal of the program is to help older adults stay engaged and connected, which is just as important to health as taking medication, Stofferahn noted.
During Stofferahn's tenure, the church also increased its outreaches to the community. About 30 members are reading buddies to students at Willow Lane Elementary. The church also helped with the startup of Open Hands Midway, a resource center for the homeless.
“We are people of faith for the sake of the world,” she said.
The church also launched Worship on the Farm at Bruentrup Heritage Farm in Maplewood about five years ago. They have invited other area Lutheran churches to partner in the summer Wednesday evening services.
“It's a lower-risk way to check church out,” Stofferahn said.
Stofferahn will be using her experience working with those in the second half of life when she moves to Ridgway, Colorado, to serve at United Church of the San Juans, a community that draws retirees. Her husband Ken recently retired from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls as a professor.
“I feel an absolute sense of God's calling us there largely because of the experience I've gained in this congregation,” she said. “It's a thrill to know God needs us.”
They have one adult son who lives in Oregon. They have lived in Hudson, Wisconsin, for 30 years. They love the outdoors and are excited to explore a new frontier, she said.
Associate pastors Candace Moser and Stefanie Fauth will oversee the church until an interim senior pastor is hired.
“Redeemer has a terrific staff so the congregation is in good hands,” Stofferahn said. “It is an absolutely lovely congregation so it is going to be hard to leave.”
“She is going to be sorely missed,” Amon said. “She has been such a champion for our local seniors.”
Her last day is June 30.