Saint Paul Lutheran’s Becker retires after 40 years in ministry
When Saint Paul Lutheran Church pastor the Rev. Mark Becker steps down from the pulpit Sunday after delivering his sermon, he will move on to his next challenge — what to do in retirement.
Although Becker admits he is still mulling retirement options, the first thing he plans to do is spend time with his family.
“We’re going to take some time for a vacation,” he said.
Becker leaves Saint Paul Lutheran after six years at the Stillwater church and 40 years in the ministry. He spent 12 years at Faith Lutheran Church in Coon Rapids and 22 years at the Lutheran Church of Peace in south Maplewood before coming to Saint Paul Lutheran in September 2007.
“I had thought that I had been at the other place (Church of Peace) 22 years and wanted to do something different,” he said about deciding to come to Stillwater. “I kind of welcomed the challenge of doing something new.”
Answering the call to pastor Saint Paul Lutheran, Becker came to an historic 140-year-old church where some families in the congregation have been church members for several generations.
“It’s a church that’s different than the one I came from,” he said. “It’s a church that’s been here a long time. There’s a sense of longevity and history.”
And while Becker was at Saint Paul Lutheran for six years, he said getting to know the people both in the church and the community and their values helped him understand the city’s history.
“Stillwater is a fun place. It’s a town proud of its river heritage and with its own traditions and history,” he said.
In fact, Becker said it is the people, both at Saint Paul and in the community, he will miss in retirement.
“Certainly working with the people,” he said when asked what he will miss at Saint Paul. “Working with the people here has been a delight. The relationships with the people is what I’ll miss here.”
Becker said Saint Paul Lutheran leaders are working with the St. Paul Synod to interview interim pastors to serve the church temporarily until a full-time replacement pastor is chosen.
“They’re going through the process of identifying the qualities of someone to be the full-time pastor to supply to the synod,” he said.
As Becker prepares to leave Saint Paul Lutheran, he said his long-range retirement plans remain open.
“People ask me that a lot and I tell them that I’m trying to figure out how to be retired,” he said. “One of the choices I want to pursue, or keep open, is some kind of more short-term work.”
But Becker said there is aspect of retirement he is ready to experience.
“I look forward to the gift of time,” he said.
Contact Erik Sandin at email@example.com