Church in Lordstown welcomes new pastor

LORDSTOWN — The Rev. Katie Walsh has been named the new pastor of Lordstown Evangelical Lutheran Church starting Feb. 3 where she was assisted by local Boy and Girl Scouts as part of Scout Sunday.

The Chagrin Falls native said she came to the church last year to help fill in following the passing of former pastor Joyce Taipale in 2017.

“I was called to help here and would fill in when needed. I became familiar with the church and they were searching for a pastor for over a year so they asked me. I had been here before and knew the people. This is a very loving and supporting community,” she said.

Walsh said she originally studied to be a teacher and worked as director of children’s ministry for a church where she first felt a calling into the ministry. She then studied at Methodist Theological School in Delaware earning a master’s in divinity and became a minister 20 years ago. She was ordained into Christian ministry by the United Church of Christ.

Walsh earned her bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University and teaching certification from Cleveland State University.

She had served previously as a pastor, associate pastor and Christian educator at different churches, including as supply pastor for St, Mark’s and Messiah Lutheran Church. Walsh served as chaplain for the Cleveland Clinic, Akron Children’s Hospital, and Serenity Hospice.

At the national level, Walsh and her husband, Mike, were youth co-leaders of General Synod 2015.

Walsh said many churches today are facing changes in society and has studied about the declining church in America and Christianity becoming more of a minority religion.

Through her studies, Walsh traveled abroad visiting countries such as Egypt where Christianity was a minority religion.

“Many churches in the future will face changes because of changes in society,” she said.

Walsh said the church congregation is focused on “creating a community of love.”

“It is my hope this church becomes a support family for the community. We want to form groups to reach out to people such as a single mom’s support group or help those dealing with addictions or poverty. We want to do what we can to reach out to these people and help them and be a place of love and support to the community,” Walsh said.

She said reaching families with encouragement is most important such as providing mentors to the families including those who have been married for years or who are parents or grandparents to offer help with parenting issues.

Walsh has received specialized training as a certified coach for local church revitalization and vitality through the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ Family Process and Natural Systems study program through the Lutheran School of Theology.

She said she feels the church congregation to reach a world in need and creating “a community of love”

To become familiar with the congregation and goals for the churches, Walsh is planning to host small groups in her office.

“There is no simple and easy answers for being a church today. Life is complicated, the world is complicated and church is complicated… We will keep searching, we will keep pondering, we will keep praying and we will keep loving,” she said,