HUDSON -- Pastor Steve Saatkamp joined Emmanuel Lutheran Church as the congregation’s new pastor in July this year.

Saatkamp takes over for Curtis Holub, who retired after joining the church in 2018.

His answers are edited to fit this space.

Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

My wife Joanna and I have been married for five years and we have a daughter, Nora, who is just 7 months old. Joanna and I met in college, moved to east Asia two weeks after we got married, have been able to travel some of the world together, and have lived in four different places in the last six years. ...

If you're an early riser you'll find me at the Hudson YMCA trying to get back in shape. I love biking and have been enjoying seeing our community on two wheels. Joanna, Nora and I love learning from different cultures, traveling, outdoor activities, making new friends and keeping in touch with our family whenever we can.

How long have you been a pastor?

I've been a pastor for about a month and a half. I graduated from the seminary in May so I'm pretty new to full-time pastoral ministry. And in comparison to the eight years of training and two years in east Asia, the last month and a half has flown by.

Where have you previously served?

I've been blessed to serve in many parts of the country and the world. In high school and college I did short-term mission trips in Colorado, Texas, Utah and Antigua. After college, I lived in east Asia for two years where I taught English at a university and studied the Bible with friends. Joanna and I got married after my first year there and we got to experience serving in east Asia together. She did mission trips in high school and college and spent time in Russia before graduating with her teaching degree and coming to east Asia. During my seminary time I served as a summer assistant at Living Shepherd Lutheran Church in Laramie, Wyo. Part of my seminary training was a yearlong internship at Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington, Ga. And during my senior year I served alongside one of my professors at Trinity Lutheran Church in Mequon. In all the places we've been, God blessed us with many people whom we'll always care about, but we're excited to connect with people here.

Why did you decide to become a pastor? What drew you?

God's love for me influences every part of my life, but it's really what led me to think about full-time ministry as a pastor. In Christ I find my identity as a forgiven, loved child of God because of my savior, Jesus. And that's what I want other people to know too. I had many people encourage me to consider using my gifts to serve in ministry like my parents, my friends, my teachers and my pastors. But more than anything else, I wanted to share God's love with people who are missing something that you can't get anywhere else. That's why I'm a pastor. I want everyone to have hope and certainty in God's love for them.

What brought you to this church?

I was assigned to Emmanuel after graduating from the seminary. ... I can tell you how blessed I am to be here. The members have welcomed my family with open arms and have shown us love since the first time we met them. They are focused on connecting with the community and sharing Jesus with people who need to hear about their savior. T

he members of Emmanuel had been waiting for a full-time pastor who would work to help connect Emmanuel with this community. Doing outreach is one of my favorite aspects of ministry and at Emmanuel, that's a big part of what they want their pastor to do.

What will your priorities be as pastor?

I'll get to preach in worship every Sunday. Most Sundays I'll also get to lead our adult Bible study. Caring for members in the hospital and members who can't make it to our church building will be a regular part of my ministry. On Wednesdays, I will help equip our youth by leading a middle school Bible study that covers the main teachings of God's Word. I get to do devotions at Red Cedar Canyon Senior Living every week. Multiple times a year we'll have studies that are open to anyone who wants to ask questions and find out more about what the Bible says. Every week I'll lead a chapel service for our preschoolers at Joyful Noise Preschool. And I'll get to help connect Emmanuel with the community at different events and in different community service opportunities.

What has been a defining moment for you over your faith career?

Being God's tool to get people connected with his love. Seeing what God can do through me is a humbling but amazing experience.

What are you most looking forward to with this congregation and with the community as a whole?

I'm excited to grow together in Jesus and to reflect his love in everything that we do!