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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday June 16th 2024

Roland Wells: 30 of 45 years of ministry at Portland Av. St. Paul”'s Lutheran

Pastor Roland Wells, Senior Pastor of St. Paul”'s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Portland and Franklin Avenues for 30 years, will retire from that ministry to continue other ministry.


For thirty years, Pastor Roland Wells has been pastor of St. Paul”'s Evangelical Lutheran at 1901 Portland. That will come to an end on April 30, as he retires, to continue his local and national work in cross-cultural ministry. He came to St. Paul”'s as our neighborhood was descending into the crack wars, which hit their peak in 1995-”'97. With open-air crack markets on their steps and bullets coming into the building, St. Paul”'s set about to help change things by training people to do holistic ministry through the School of Urban Ministry, now renamed “MissionShift Institute.” Since then, over a thousand people have attended the course in Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center, Houston, St. Louis and Kansas City.

Rev. Wells also mentored over 100 seminary students from Luther Seminary and others. The congregation has hosted and mentored about a dozen church plants and non-profit organizations. A yearly celebration, “Global Worship” brings churches from many cultures together to worship together and share their traditions. Wells served as a delegate to the global “Cape Town 2010” church gathering, and continues to teach and write about cross-cultural urban ministry.

Wells”' predecessor, Rev. Carroll Satre also served the congregation for 30 years, so the church has only had two senior pastors in over 60 years! Long-term staff commitment is a hallmark of the supportive congregation. Its Music Director, Lois Bodurtha has served for 42 years, and their Secretary, Misrak Adoga for 15.

A Sunday of celebration of Wells”' 45 years of church ministry will be held at the 9:15 worship service on Sunday, May 20, and by a special celebration of remembering at 3:00pm, at 1901 Portland. The community is invited. Details:

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