Zion Lutheran Church welcomes new senior pastor

Anoka’s Zion Lutheran Church is welcoming a new senior pastor to its congregation.


by Mandy Moran Froemming
Union Editor

Anoka’s Zion Lutheran Church is welcoming a new senior pastor to its congregation.

Rev. Peter Nycklemoe 

Rev. Peter Nycklemoe is in his second week in the leadership role at the local church. He comes to Anoka from Rochester’s Mount Olive Lutheran Church, one of three congregations he has served in a 21 year career in ministry.

Strangely, Nycklemoe wasn’t looking for a change when the opportunity for the senior pastor position at Zion came up.

“I was enjoying my time in Rochester and feeling pretty settled in there,” he said.

He received a cold call from the bishop, who first asked if he was interested in a congregation in Minneapolis, which Nycklemoe felt wasn’t a good fit.

But the second time the bishop called, this time about Zion, he decided to pursue the opportunity.

“We had a good chemistry right away,” said Nycklemoe of his first meeting with the call committee. He also spent time meeting with the church staff and council to help him decide if he would take the call if offered.

“I really liked the people here,” said Nycklemoe. “There is a creative, committed staff and Zion is one of the most historical churches in Minnesota.”

Founded more than 140 years ago, the Anoka church’s roots run deep.

While Zion is a large church, with a congregation around 6,500 members, Nycklemoe feels at home.

“I grew up in large congregations like this,” he said.

A pastor’s son from Milwaukee, he had no intention of becoming a minister and following in his father’s footsteps.

“I worked hard to avoid the call, but God is persistent,” he said.

He majored in theater and ancient history at St. Olaf College and had been accepted to graduate schools in both disciplines, along with seminary school.

He followed the path to Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

“It was clearly obvious right away it was a good fit,” said Nycklemoe.

Prior to his 12 years of service at Mount Olive in Rochester, he served as youth director at Prince of Peace in Roseville, intern at First Lutheran Church in Racine, Wisc., and solo pastor at Martin Luther Church in Milwaukee.

Doug Jones led the eight-person call committee, which looked at several candidates before recommending Nycklemoe to the church council. He was also affirmed with a vote by the congregation.

The call committee worked with the bishop in order to narrow the field to five candidates for the job.

“We were looking for a person to provide leadership for the congregation,” said Jones. “We were looking for someone who was a faithful servant of the gospel, a strong leader and a strong preacher.

“We wanted someone who was humble yet assertive, a deep reader who was grounded in Lutheran tradition. We found all of that in Pastor Nycklemoe.”

This is one of the few jobs left where the candidate must receive the approval of hundreds before he is hired.

Nycklemoe and his wife Kathie have been married for 26 years. She is also an ordained minister. The couple served together as pastors at Mount Olive in Rochester, so she will be looking for a new call once the family gets settled.

They have a daughter, Marin, 18, who will start her freshman year at Luther College in the fall. Twin boys, Karl and Sam, will be freshmen in high school.

“We are a family that loves the outdoors – camping, biking and hiking,” he shared.

Nycklemoe’s personal hobby is fly fishing, something that won’t be quite so accessible in the north metro.

Nycklemoe’s official installation is planned for Oct. 10.

This fall he has plans to start a congregation-wide listening event, where members will gather in small grounds to talk about their faith.

“I want to hear where they’ve been, who they are and where they hear God calling them,” said Nycklemoe.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at editor.anokaunion@ecm-inc.com

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