Judy’s family moved to Buffalo in April of 1951, when she was just a few months old, and soon joined Zion.
My dad had joined Dr. T.J. Catlin at the Buffalo Clinic because his father, Dr. John Catlin, wanted to retire. My parents purchased some land from my mom’s parents, Dr. Charles and Gertrude Grunwald, who lived on Buffalo Lake.
Our family went to Zion Lutheran Church each Sunday. My uncle, Phil Pearson, had been the pastor there a few years before we came to town. My dad read the daily devotionals to us each day. He couldn’t get as involved in church as some because he was on call every other night and weekend. If there was surgery or an emergency he had to go even if he wasn’t on call.
Judy’s mother taught Sunday school, participated in women’s circles, and helped with Harvest of Hands, including designing the Harvest of Hands logo which is still in use.
I loved going to church with my grandparents and my family, sitting by my grandma and having my dad’s arm stretched over the back of the pew and resting his hand on my shoulder. What a feeling of love and security I had.
The Christmas programs were always special. My mom made us new dressed for Christmas. One year my red dress had a very full skirt. I remember standing in the middle of the old church basement and twirled around fast until it must have been sticking straight out. That was before the days of modesty, I guess.
My favorite thing about Zion is that it grounds me. I have made many friends through being involved at church. I also know that the staff is there for me when I need them.
Judy has been actively involved with many ministries over the years, including Mission Jamaica, Meals on Wheels, Social Ministry Committee, Blessing Closet, Coats for Kids, SERVE Weekend, Building Committee, teacher and piano accompanist for Sunday school, Altar Guild, greeting on Sundays, serving communion, and assisting with funeral lunches.
Over the years these have provided me with varied experiences which has broadened my understanding of Zion and how we all can serve in some capacity. They have introduced me to people I might not have ever met otherwise. These experiences have taught me that I don’t have to be perfect or know exactly what I will be doing in order to join in a service project as there are always people there to assist along the way.
She has served on the Lutefisk Committee since 2008.
It is a great group of people putting on an annual fun event which draws people from near and far. I believe that Zion traditions such as the Lutefisk Supper help keep us connected with our heritage, who the founders were, and what they valued and enjoyed. I feel we all can learn from and appreciate other customs when the traditions are carried on in any church or community.
Our core committee and its sub-committees work as a fine oiled machine. Each of us has a specific responsibility so we can stay focused and not be overwhelmed. Through our efforts and the support of diners we are able to raise monies to serve a variety of ministries within our church and extended community. To top it all off you don’t even have to eat the lutefisk! The meatballs and the rest of the dinner are awesome
Through the various activities that I have been involved with throughout my life at Zion I have been blessed with helping others feel connected, as well as experience the joy of life in Christ by giving of themselves to others through their own involvement. I share with them that God loves us all unconditionally regardless of where we are in our life. We all make mistakes, we all have hurts, tragedies, and disappointments in life. We even get mad at God at times. However, God is always there with us and will carry us through if we let him.
Judy’s favorite Bible passages are Psalm 23 and Matthew 25:31-40.
Psalm 23 provides me with comfort by reminding me that God is always with me, I’m never alone.
Truly I tell you, just as you did to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. Matthew 25:40
This verse reminds me to always serve everyone.
The Lord’s Prayer reminds me that God will forgive me all of my sins just as I forgive those who have sinned against me. Therefore, I need to forgive those who have hurt me in any way and not hold grudges. This is sometimes easier said than done, but essential.
My hope for Zion is that we continue to reach out to serve our congregation, community, and world at large. Zion currently provides a wide range of Sunday service options to meet people’s needs and preferences. Our church offers a multitude of opportunities for our members and potential members to get involved and meet others whether it is annual events such as Harvest of Hands and the Lutefisk Dinner, or ongoing things such as the Blessing Closet, Meals on Wheels, youth activities and groups, musical groups, Bible Studies, Sunday service groups, etc. My hope is that we keep on looking for other ways to connect and serve. All are welcome at Zion.
Judy grew upon Buffalo Lake and has since sold her parents’ home and build her own home on her grandparents’ property.
I am blessed to have been able to stay on this site and see gorgeous sunsets each night from my kitchen windows.
Judy lives out her faith in the community through her involvement in Zion’s ministries and the Buffalo Lions Club.
The most fulfilling part of my faith journey is knowing that God is always there by my side or leading me when I need it. He loves me unconditionally and due to that I strive to show my love to others the same way. Much of that is through volunteer work or one-on-one relationships I have built with those who are alone, lonely, or in need showing them that I care and that they are not forgotten or alone in this world.