St. Matthew welcomes new pastor

Rev. David Raemish
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     St. Matthew Lutheran Church welcomed a new full-time pastor.

     Rev. David Raemisch has been called to serve the church, having been ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament on April 1.

     Prior to coming to St. Matthew, Raemisch served for one year as an interim pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Dubuque.

     “We were looking for a church close to the Dubuque community,” said Raemisch, whose wife works in the city. “I became aware of this opportunity and it just worked out beautifully for all concerned.”

     Being a Lutheran minister is Raemisch’s second career. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his master’s degree from South Dakota State University, and his Ph.D. from Purdue University. He spent many years working as an agribusiness professional, providing soybeans and herbicides for farmers in the ‘90s.

     Raemisch said his upbringing includes attending a Lutheran church all of his life.

     In 1999, a life-changing event brought everything to a halt. He was involved, the cause of, a terrible car accident that took the lives of two children.

     “The consequences of such an awful incident are overwhelming and heartbreaking for everyone involved,” he said, “especially the victims.”

     Due to the fact that Raemisch was intoxicated, he was convicted and ended up serving 14 years in prison.

     “It changed the way I see God’s world,” he said of not only the accident, but also the time he served in prison. “I was able to see my place in God’s world differently.”

     It was while Raemisch was incarcerated that he committed his life to Jesus Christ. He began his journey toward becoming a Lutheran pastor, completing a portion of his pastoral training in prison.

     “It’s been a long road,” recalled Raemisch, who started his training in the fall of 2000.

     His journey led him to being ordained in 2017.

     “I’ve been working with senior ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) pastors as mentors since 2005,” he said. (St. Matthew is a part of the ELCA.

     After he served his time, Raemisch completed his seminary training at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque.

     So what drew Raemisch toward becoming a pastor, a profession he never contemplated in his life?

     “What drew me is how sin ravages lives,” he said. “There’s an answer.”

     To that, Raemisch has a deep appreciation “for the radically transformational power of grace,” embracing the ELCA’s position that “all are welcome” in church.

     “We all bring our own baggage,” he said. “It’s remarkable to experience and to be embraced by this church for my flaws and failures.”

     Raemisch said the church should be about acceptance, not judging others.

     “A church is a sanctuary for peace,” he added.

     In order to reflect St. Matthew’s congregation, the church adopted a new mission statement: “The purpose of our church is to grow in faith and share the love of God with all people.”

     Raemisch said the Bishop’s office aided them in establishing a new mission statement, leading a session on helping the congregation see the church’s place in the Monticello community.

     “People come here for many reasons,” said Raemisch. “We help each other deal with all of the craziness in this world and have a broader perspective on life and see things more clearly.”

     Raemisch and his wife, Shelley, are excited to be a part of the St. Matthew Church family. They are currently in the process of moving to the area and getting to see Monticello.


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