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United Free welcomes new pastor and wife

Jenny and Pastor David Niemela

At the installation service held during worship services on Sunday, August 4, 2019, Pastor David Niemela officially took over the ministerial duties at United Free Lutheran Church in Greenbush. Following the service, the congregation welcomed Pastor Niemela and his wife, Jenny, into the fold by hosting a potluck dinner in their honor.

Pastor Niemela’s starting day was Monday, July 1.

Having been without a full-time pastor since Pastor LeRoy and Marcia Petersen’s departure a year ago in July, learning of Pastor Niemela’s accepting the call to come to United Free was very exciting news.

The son of Nathan and Nancy Niemela, David is the youngest of four sons and four daughters. He attended the Dassel-Cokato public school in Cokato, Minn., graduating from there in 2010. From 2010 to 2012, he attended the Association Free Lutheran Bible School (AFLBS), a two-year college, at Plymouth, Minn.

“During this time I was a youth director at the Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church,” he said. “Jenny’s family and my family both attend this church.”

For the next two years, 2013-15, Pastor Niemela took online courses at Faith Evangelical College of Tacoma, Wa. He then went on to attend, from 2015 to 2019, the Association Free Lutheran Theological Seminary (AFLTS) located on the same campus as AFLBS.

“These four years included an internship from June 2018 to May 2019 at the Rose and Spruce Free Lutheran churches of Roseau, under the direction of Pastor Todd Erickson,” David stated.

Why did David choose to enter the seminary?

“When I was a youth director a number of people noticed I had a gift of teaching and preaching and I also saw a need for Pastors in the AFLC,” he replied.

Jenny Niemela, the daughter of Allan and Diane Von Ohlen, has a younger brother and a younger sister. Her hometown is also Cokato, Minn. Following graduation from Dassel-Cockato High School in 2011, she attended Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minn., graduating in 2015 with a degree in creative and professional writing.

Jenny and David added, “Here we feel like we’re at home and are very comfortable.”

Welcome to United Free, Pastor David and Jenny. The congregation looks forward to your continued leadership and fellowship!

To see the full story, read the August 28 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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