LAYTON — The Rev. Jonathan Klein was “flabbergasted” when he received a telephone call from the president of Light of the Valley Lutheran Church in Layton last spring, extending a call to him to become the church’s new pastor.
He was installed as the Wisconsin Synod church’s new pastor on Aug. 3 and is still getting acquainted with his congregation and the area.
In the Wisconsin Synod of the Lutheran Church, congregations who need a pastor access a national data base to find a minister whose abilities match their needs. Pastors do not send out resumes seeking a call, Klein said.
So when he received a call from the president of Light of the Valley asking him to consider moving to Utah, “I was sitting there flabbergasted,” he said. “It wasn’t on my radar to leave.”
After some consideration, “My skill set seemed to be a perfect match with what their (the congregation) passion was,” Klein said. After taking three or four weeks to pray and think about the call, Klein made the decision on Memorial Day to move to Utah.
He had served as associate pastor of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Rockford, Mich. where he mainly worked with outreach and with the church’s teens.
Klein has found his new congregation to be have a very family-oriented atmosphere.
“They go out of their way to greet you,” he said.
Klein is still getting a feel for how the congregation operates, but so far he said he’s found a great group of people.
A retired couple from the church even went back to Michigan to help the Kleins move.
As to his hopes for the church, “My goal is to move forward and grow,” he said.
To do that, Klein wants to “proclaim the message of Jesus Christ and that he died for us. I love to proclaim that message,” he said.
He said he’s looking forward to serving in Utah, where he believes there are many people who don’t know Jesus Christ.
He plans on spending the first couple of months getting to know Light of the Valley members before heading out into the community.
“It’s really important the congregation learn ‘I really care about you, and am here to serve you,’” he said. “It’s important they learn I’m not here to do my own thing.”
Klein is the church’s third pastor. The first two came to the congregation right out of seminary.
“I’m its first full time pastor with experience,” he said.
As a Wisconsin Synod pastor, Klein graduated from college with a bachelor of arts degree with an emphasis on theology and then attended the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wis.
Then he completed a year of training, like an internship, in Ottawa, Canada, before becoming a full-fledged pastor.
He is married and he and his wife have two sons, ages 2 and 4.