Kathy grew up in Elk River, where she attended Central Lutheran Church. Her fondest memory is being a part of the youth group, taking part in the activities and attending summer camp.
I am still in contact with some of the friends I made during that time.
The youth group leader at Central, Richard Genck, made a big impact on Kathy.
When I was a teenager, my family suffered a tragedy. I was having trouble getting through it and was questioning my faith. My friends were concerned about some of the choices I was making. He approached me with that concern and listened to what I was going through and what was on my mind. His wisdom, guidance and faith got me through some rough times.
The Swanson family moved to the Buffalo area in 1991 and were looking for a church home.
We visited Zion, met the pastors and then visited other churches and met their pastors, throughout the summer months. We liked the welcoming atmosphere at Zion and on one of our return visits, we were greeted by Pastor Ed, who called us by name. We had only met him once and we were amazed by that. So, we decided to make Zion our home.
Kathy’s favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13.
I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.
My mother maintained her independence until the age of 83, when she died from a stroke. If I suggested that maybe it was time to get some help with the yard work or snow shoveling or other household chores, she would quote that to me.
Several years ago, Kathy went through Stephen Ministry training and is now involved with visitation ministry as a member of the Congregational Care Team.
‘Connecting in Care’ means we need to reach out to our worshipping neighbor, our neighborhoods and our communities. We need to invite people to join us for worship and events. We need to help those around us and connect with them by being a good neighbor and lending a helping hand.
I like meeting new people and visiting with them. Visitation ministry helps the elderly and homebound maintain a sense of still being a part of something. They enjoy hearing about things that are happening at church and they enjoy telling you about themselves and about how things were when they were involved. For those who are experiencing tough times, it may help to have a listening ear. People often say it is good to be remembered in prayer. Even sending a card to let them know they are being thought of is a simple way to show you are connecting in care. I stay involved because I enjoy it.
Kathy says being part of the Congregational Care Team doesn’t take up as much time as one might think.
Taking communion to someone and visiting with them for an hour a month is one way to get involved. Sending cards to those in the hospital, to someone who recently gave birth or to someone who is recovering from an illness, is an easy way to be involved. You can do that while watching TV. If you like to cook, you can help make food for the Food for Friends program.
Kathy has also taught Sunday school, served as a confirmation guide, helped with Food for Friends, helped with church audits, taken part in women’s Bible studies and is a member of the Rebecca Circle. She has been married to Joe for 32 years and has two adult children, Jake (married to Rachael) and Clint. She is a self-employed bookkeeper working for small businesses and has also served as volunteer bookkeeper for Little Buffalo Preschool, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Blue Star Mothers. She loves to read and enjoys scrapbooking, fishing, boating, and vacations up north.