St. John's Bids Farewell to Pastor
Rev. Peter Perella left the historic New Baltimore church for new position in Chicago.
Parishioners at St. John's Lutheran Church of New Baltimore bid farewell Sunday to Rev. Peter Perella during his final service.
Perella is leaving Michigan to become director for worship formation and liturgical resources at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Chicago.
Speaking during his last sermon, he told members of the small, historic church, "Today is not about me; it is about Jesus Christ." He reminded the congregation that God's love is never-ending.
The young pastor came to the church in August 2005. He and his wife, Katie, and their two daughters have been closely tied to the community through the church.
In a letter to the congregation Perella said, "You have ministered to me in more ways than I have to you, and I thank you for your part in the ministry and life we have shared together."
Perella, who beat a rare form of cancer in 2008, also expressed gratitude to the congregation for prayers and support during his illness and recovery. He has been involved with the American Cancer Society's fight for a cure through the Relay for Life of New Baltimore.
The Southeast Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was notified of his decision to leave the church in late May in order to make preparations for pastoral leadership after his departure. Duane Schafer has been named to fill pastor duties until the congregation calls the next pastor, Perella said.
On Sunday, church members thanked the pastor by hosting a brunch at Zuccaro Banquet and Catering in Chesterfield Township.
In an address to him, the congregation stated, in part: "With the gospel you have comforted us in times of sickness and trouble, and at the death of our loved ones. Sharing our joys and sorrows, you and your family have been important to our life together in the church of Jesus Christ, in our service of the community, and in God's mission to the whole world."