Pastor John Folkerds

Pastor John Folkerds

Pastor John Folkerds served Zion from 1974-2007.

One could think of many humorous moments over 32 years and many of them came about through my friendship with fellow Co-Pastor Ed Blair. He was an excellent pastor and a great partner in ministry for over 25 years. We had a close relationship and I liked to tease him from time to time and he was always a good sport about it. One such time occurred at a new member welcome potluck supper with about 50 people in attendance. We would each speak to the group about Zion and the various aspects of our ministry. My job every time was to explain just what a Co-Pastor was. It was a new concept at the time. This particular dinner was early in the ‘90s after we had been together for some time. I started out by telling the people that I had recently received the results of a special study that had just been completed of the birth records in several Minnesota counties. An interesting fact had been uncovered which showed that Pastor Ed and I were really identical twins who for reasons unknown had been separated at birth and now 50 years later this information had finally come to light.

We always claimed to have the longest running co-pastor team in the ELCA but my claim to being identical twins drew prolonged laughter because of our obvious differences. I outweighed him by 40 pounds, was several inches taller, and his extroverted personality was in sharp contrast to my more laid back style. Everyone laughed and it was something Ed never let me forget, even years later. We were the Zion version of identical twins. We had so many things in common which aided our ministry but I also think that our obvious differences played an important part in our partnership working so well for all of those years. We had a variety of gifts to bring to the congregation.

Most memorable moments include baptizing our children, and then confirming them in our new sanctuary, the first Sunday in the new church in 1989 (cars were lined up on Highway 25 all the way back into town. An overflowing crowd and exciting day!), the dedication of the new addition to the church, and our son and daughter-in-law’s ordination into ministry in Zion’s sanctuary in 2007.

Since retirement, life has been full and rewarding. I have done occasional supply preaching and was a visitation pastor for 18 months. We have traveled with a trip to Norway as a highlight. We are very involved with our family and blessed to be near our grandchildren whom we enjoy caring for often. We are members of St Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church in Plymouth where our daughter, Anne, and family are also members, plus frequent trips to Moorhead, where son, Aaron, serves as Associate Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church.

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