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New La Grange pastor follows in family footsteps to ministry

Jane Michaels
jmichaels@pioneerlocal.com | @janemichaels22
July 7 11 a.m.

More on the new minister

Family: Husband, Rodney, and sons, Christopher and Jeff

Birthplace: Dixon, Ill.; grew up in Joliet

Education: B. A. in political science and French from North Central College in Naperville and a Master’s of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University; studied two years in Strasbourg, France

Languages studied: French, German, Hebrew and Greek

Previous assignments: Parishes throughout the Northern Illinois Conference, including rural, small town, county seat, Chicago and suburban congregations

Rev. Lisa Telomen followed in the footsteps of her father and two grandfathers when she answered the call to ministry 25 years ago. The First United Methodist Church of La Grange welcomed Telomen as their new senior pastor July 6.

Q. Where did you serve previously?

A. I was at Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville for nine years as the associate pastor in charge of program ministry. We had 500 to 600 worshipping on a weekend at seven services. I’ve been a pastor for 25 years, but it doesn’t feel like that.

Q. How were you selected for the La Grange church?

A. The bishop and district superintendents determine what churches need new pastors and who the best candidates would be. It’s an appointment, sort of like the Catholic system of placing priests. The congregation here had been interviewed in terms of what they were looking for to replace their pastor, the Rev. Addison Shields, who was retiring. I came here and interviewed, and we all got excited.

Q. What do you like about First United Methodist so far?

A. I’m very excited about what they’re doing for ministry here, including the BEDS (Building Ecumenical Discipleship through Sheltering) program one night a week, the universal justice committee, a wonderful youth and children’s ministry and a great music ministry. What’s not to like!

Q. What ways do you see to contribute?

A. I’ve heard about the Pet Parade, and if we can do it, I’d like to have a stand where people can come and have their pets blessed and maybe even do a worship service. I look forward to learning about everything here and growing it from there.

Q. Why did you become a minister?

A. I suppose I have a genetic predisposition to it with both my grandfathers, my dad and my mother’s brother as pastors in either the Presbyterian or United Methodist traditions. Faith has always been central to how I interact with the world.

Q. Were there other career paths you considered?

A. In college, I thought I was going into international politics, perhaps working at the United Nations, with a double major in French and political science and a minor in German. But the focus of that study was around arms and who’s at war with whom. That was not how I wanted to impact the world. I also almost went into the Peace Corps, but my dad was happy I didn’t.

Q. Did you consider becoming a missionary?

A. I have gone on many mission trips, both in the U.S. and around the world, including Russia, Kenya, Zaire, Rwanda and Jamaica. That’s part of who we are as Christians, discovering where God needs a hand. Part of my field education as a pastor was serving at a local church, and that’s where I fell in love and knew the kind of ministry I wanted.

Q. What do you find fulfilling about being a pastor?

A. I enjoy being able to see God blessing his people in so many different ways and being able to mediate some of that blessing. It’s all about connecting people to God and neighbor and enriching that blessing. Why doesn’t everyone want to do this?

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