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Rev. Russel Troester Leading Shepherd of the Valley

Rev. Russel Troester Click to view larger
Rev. Russel Troester

The Rev. Russel Troester formally took the reins as resident pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Santa Ynez during a installation ceremony before the congregation and guests on Feb. 11.

Eleven ministers representing congregations of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod north to Monterrey and South to Malibu, participated in the Laying of Hands ceremony welcoming Troester to the blue/grey church at corner of SR154 and Edison.

Troester, a South Dakota native, takes over the position held by Rev. Lowell B. Kindschy who retired in December 2016 after 20 years with the congregation.

A graduate of the University of South Dakota, and a 2008 graduate of the Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis, Mo., Troester comes to Shepherd of the Valley having served two previous congregations most recently in Nebraska.

Joining Troester are his wife Kris and four children, Rome, Jack, Sam and Kal. The family is temporarily living in Santa Ynez while construction is underway on a 1,740-square-foot parsonage on the church campus, 3552 Baseline Road.

Troester’s arrival is one highlight in a busy year for the 100-plus member congregation. Completing a process that often can take 18 months to two years to complete, Troester accepted the congregation’s call just one year after Kindschy’s retirement.

“To say that Pastor Troester’s arrival is an answer to prayer is an understatement,” said Marv Newton, congregational president.

“Our church family has been involved in a rigorous process of self-examination, community study and preparation for welcoming a new minister," he said.

"Combine that with a design and build of a modular residence on the property, our successful Bunkhouse Bonanza Fundraiser, and the day-to-day operation of our parish, and you can see our hands were full,” he said.

Over the preceding nine months, Shepherd of the Valley was led and served by Ronald Moritz, an experienced intentional interim pastor, who guided the congregation on its journey to a new pastor.

Leading the church in self-reflection, preparation of financial budgets, goal-setting and planning, Moritz’s experience with other congregations enabled Shepherd of the Valley to focus on defining a direction for its ministry and define the skill sets and profile for a candidate to meet its needs.

“With Pastor Moritz’s capable leadership and guidance, Shepherd of the Valley was well-positioned to review several highly qualified candidates and make a credible and well-prepared offer to our top candidate who accepted,” said C.J. Jackson, church member and stewardship chair.

— Charles Jackson for Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.


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