West Prairie Lutheran Church is situated three miles south and two miles east of Lennox. This well-established rural church dates back to 1873. And this summer, a new minister answered the call to serve the congregation.
Pastor Shadoe Hanson was installed on June 20th, 2021. The life-long South Dakotan grew up in Mt. Vernon on a farm. He was an undergraduate at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion and has fond memories of his time there.
“I had a pastor who saw some gifts in me for ministry,” Hanson said, “I heard others say that as well.”
Those outside observances ultimately led Hanson to attend seminary in DuBuque, Iowa. He has served previously in other ministerial positions, but this is his first employment as an ordained minister.
He will spend the majority of his time serving West Prairie, but is also serving as a quarter-time minister for Bethany Lutheran in Hurley. Both churches are under the umbrella of the ELCA. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Hanson is excited about his first assignment as an ordained minister.
“I know there’s adventure wherever I go,” he said.
With only two months at West Prairie, Hanson said he is still getting settled in, but has already enjoyed Vacation Bible School interactions with the kids and getting to know the congregation.
“I really like to help people find their place within the biblical narrative,” said Hanson.
He explained that he finds ways to help people understand that the bible experiences are not any more holy than what goes on into today’s world.
“I’m equipping people to carry out ministry in their everyday lives,” he said.
Hanson said he has found the congregation to be welcoming, graceful and understanding. He looks forward to reaching out to the community at large as well.
“We take God’s word seriously,” he said, “But we like to make it enjoyable.”
Hanson said he tries to create “meaningful engagement with scripture but not utilize the Bible to point out moral inequity.”
Hanson and his wife Marcy just moved to Lennox. In his free time he enjoys painting, playing the ukulele and guitar, as well as reading.
West Prairie Lutheran Church is located at 46788 282nd St, Lennox, SD. They are currently offering an in-person worship service at 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings which is also live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page.
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