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Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in West Bend, WI marks 1 year with new pastor | By Kellie Winkler

West Bend, WI – Driving by Our Savior’s Lutheran Church this past summer at the corner of Silverbrook Drive and Hawthorn Drive, one might have done a double take.
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Why would there possibly be larger-than-life, Christmas red letters, complete with a Nativity scene and star, spelling J-O-Y, on the front lawn during the warmest months of the year?
Isn’t that a Christmas message? One might wonder if something unusual was going on.
As it turns out, there was, in fact, something very noteworthy taking place at Our Savior’s in West Bend. A transformation was in progress, a palpable shift.
As with many churches, Our Savior’s was hit hard by the pandemic, causing many of
its faithful to scatter in different directions. This scattering was only aided by the
fact there was no called pastor and only bridge pastors trying to keep people invested
and involved.
Enter one Reverend Jim Hearne, “Pastor Jim,” or “PJ” to most, who was welcomed
by the Our Savior’s family one year ago in December. Since then, under Hearne’s
guidance and leadership, the OSLC congregation has re-navigated onto a path of
healing, J-O-Y, and a mission to always “be church AFTER church.”
Hearne came to OSLC after his own personal journey, one that many believe has
served to enrich his ability to reach and resonate with worshipers.
Once an ordained priest in the Catholic church, the pastor experienced an unexpected change of direction, but one that kept him on a journey of faith. He met and married his wife, Amy, began a family, and eventually became a pastor, ministering in the Evangelical
Lutheran Church of America.
Hearne has served at churches in the Chicagoland area, Barneveld, Wisconsin, and now, in West Bend.
From the start, Hearne’s impact at OSLC has been evident. The church family once
again, feels a restored semblance of stability, direction and purpose and the comfort
of a pastor who is present in the congregation and community.
He has helped welcome back previous members who opted for the sidelines during COVID, as well as newcomers visiting for the first time.
“Admittedly,” said Hearne, “I use the word JOY a lot in sermons, writing and my own
personality. I truly believe church should be a place of joy where folks’ spiritual cups
and hearts are filled with goodness, hope and joy! We are re-learning and rediscovering this faith family as a place of joy and being able to find and discover joy when we leave worship.”
As an extension of this shift in approach to growing faith, Hearne has helped
implement other changes at Our Savior’s as well.
A midweek, 30-minute service on Wednesdays was added to accommodate those unable to worship Sunday mornings; special drives and collections have been taken for various organizations throughout the community, including Washington County Humane Society, Albrecht Free Clinic, the 9/11 Wisconsin Memorial in Kewaskum, and Hephatha Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, among others. OSLC most recently raised money for the Youth Impact Club, and Hearne also spoke to the FCA (Federation of Christian Athletes) at the high school giving a devotion to about 60 kids; both organizations are based at the high
schools in West Bend.
Ten-year member Brooke Armstrong sees the transformation taking place at OSLC. “It
has been a breath of fresh air for Pastor Jim to be here, bringing the kids together
and making them interested in church again. He is there for everyone in the church no
matter what age, diversity, or how much you are involved. He is concerned for
everyone.” Armstrong’s own daughter, Megan, helps at the church’s Sunday school for
elementary-aged children and participates in Journey, the education program for
older youth at OSLC.
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of
America and welcomes all who wish to participate in worship, Bible study, youth
confirmation, and local or worldwide outreach.
The community is invited to enjoy OSLC’s 17-foot tree surrounded by over 100 poinsettia plants during worship on Christmas Eve at 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. and Christmas morning worship at 9 a.m.
Additional information may be found online at oslcwb.org.information, or feel free to contact Pastor Jim directly with any questions you might have.
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