By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Kevin Zellers is the new pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Swanville. He was both ordained and installed June 23, and started in his position June 24. He is replacing Rev. John Grein
Zellers was born in Nebraska, but grew up in many places around the country.
“My father, also Kevin Zellers, is also a pastor. We moved around a lot,” he said. “I lived in Hawaii; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Fort Dodge, Iowa; Beach, N.D.; and West Fargo, N.D.”
Zellers said he calls Fargo his home for it’s where he graduated from high school and where he lived when he graduated from Minnesota State University in Moorhead. He also married Erin Heideman, his high school sweetheart, there.
Zellers graduated from college in 2003, with a degree in finance. He landed a job with Harland Financial Solutions, a banking software company.
He said there were no real defining moment when he decided to become a minister.
“There were about seven years of going back and forth,” he said. “There was always a tug to go into the ministry.”
During those years, Zellers was taking remote theology courses through Concordia College in Irvine, Calif. It was when he was about to write his thesis for his master’s degree that he made the decision to become a pastor.
“When I found out I could transfer my credits, my family and I moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., where I attended Concordia Theological Seminary.”
That was in 2009.
Zellers took two years of academics, then spent one year as a vicar in St. Joseph, Mich. After that, back to Fort Wayne and another year of academics.
When finished with his four years of study, God and the seminary found the best fit for Zellers in Swanville at St. Peter’s.
Zellers and Erin have two sons: Caleb is almost 8 years old and will be a second grader at Swanville Schools. Ethan is almost 5 years old. Erin has a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design, but is currently a stay at home mom.
The family loves to be outdoors and they all love to play baseball.
“The people in the congregation are great. They have gone out of their way to help our transition to Swanville,” Zellers said. “The church building is very impressive. I like the older feel to it.”
Zellers said he really likes Swanville and has visited most of the local businesses.
“I’m excited to be here after four years of training,” he said. “Now I can preach God’s word, forgive sins and distribute the Lord’s body and blood to those who need it. This is very exciting for me.”
Zellers quoted St. Augustine, “The church is a hospital for sinners. It’s a place where sinners come to received God’s good gifts of forgiveness and salvation won for them by Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.”