Trinity Lutheran welcomes new pastor

by Sharlene Irete

Jim Beilstein hadn't been to Gardnerville before the process of becoming the new pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, but said he first spotted Carson Valley while skiing at Heavenly Valley.

"I was kidding the other day when I said that the main reason I came to Gardnerville was because someone told me it was 30 minutes from heaven - they just left out the 'ly,'" he said.

Beilstein's first day was Oct. 1, with his official installation celebrated at the 4 p.m. worship service Oct. 17 at the church, 1480 Douglas Ave., Gardnerville.

"My wife was raised in a small community, and I was raised in Missouri, and people here seem like the same common-sense kind of folks," Beilstein said. "Gardnerville is a friendly area, and then there's the beauty of the mountains."

Pastor Jim, as he likes to be called, came from Bakersfield, Calif., where he was pastor at the dual parishes of Peace Lutheran in Taft, Calif., and Shepherd of the Hills at Lake Isabella, Calif.

"The Lord seems to open the doors for us. The head elder here at Trinity is a fraternity brother from the University of Missouri where I took engineering," Beilstein said.

Beilstein, 61, also received a master's degree in management from Oklahoma State University, and attended the Concordia Seminar in St. Louis, Mo. He worked in sales and management at Westinghouse for more than 25 years and was always involved in his church.

His wife Mary is a teacher and will remain in Bakersfield until she completes her master's degree in reading. The Beilsteins have two children: Their daughter is a doctor of audiology in Cooperstown, N.Y., and their son is studying automotive technology at Universal Technical Institute in Sacramento.

Beilstein said his vision as new pastor is for Trinity Lutheran to meet the needs of the community.

"The goal is for people to find our church a beacon of light and hope - for everyone," he said.

Beilstein said experience in management is one of the good qualifications of a pastor.

"In the Bible they talk about gifts, and God gave me the gift of leadership and administration," he said. "Being the leader is something I can bring, and people seem to want and appreciate a leader. And I love the Lord."

During his first week as new pastor, Beilstein's activities on Wednesday included chapel for the preschoolers at 9:20 a.m., working on his devotion for next week's pastors' convention at the Carson Valley Inn, writing Sunday's sermon, and conducting chapel for the daycare children at 3:45 p.m.

"And tonight there's a class for junior high kids," he said. "It's a long day, but that's OK. I love it."

Trinity Lutheran Church offers youth and adult Bible classes through the week. Sunday services include worship and Holy Communion at 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., and Sierra Spirit Praise Service at 5 p.m. Information, 782-8153.


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