Rev. Karleen Kay Kinker Pastor
Born and raised in Toledo Ohio, Karleen graduated from the University of Toledo in 1979 with a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy. She has practiced pharmacy in Michigan since 1981, first in the downriver Detroit area and recently in Hillsdale and Coldwater Michigan. In 2003, after spending a couple of years in deep discernment contemplating a call to ministry, Karleen began classes at Trinity Lutheran seminary Columbus, Ohio in the Master of Theology program. After another year of discernment while taking classes, she transferred into the Master of Divinity program at Trinity and in 2008 graduated and began a call to ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
On May 1, 2010, Karleen began her first call to ministry with the congregation of St. John’s Lutheran Church and moved to the city of Three Rivers from Hillsdale Mi. Currently a minister half-time, she also continues to practice hospital pharmacy part-time. Her ministry focus is in worship, pastoral care, social justice and the theology that involves the dialogue between science and religion. She truly believes that God’s mission is to reconcile the world and all creation to God and to each other and the Church is called to join in God’s mission by following Jesus’ call to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Her interests include, gardening, the arts, reading (especially history), travel (especially historical places), walking, and caring for her two cats, Seymour and Chloe.
Jeffery Keefer Director of Music
Music Director Jeffrey Keefer grew up in Three Rivers and graduated from Western Michigan University in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in music composition. Along with his church position, he teaches music lessons out of his home, operates a recording studio, Keefer Music, and plays with a variety of music ensembles including one he leads, Sentimental Jones.
Jeffrey leads worship music from the organ, piano, and guitar and has recently composed and dedicated a liturgy to the congregation of St. John's Lutheran. Being versed in both traditional and contemporary styles of worship music, he has also written and recorded an album of contemporary praise and worship songs. Enjoying the community of Three Rivers, you may find Jeffrey jogging with his dog Koda, riding his bike to and from St. John's, or World Fare (a fair trade store where he volunteers his time), or attending ballroom dance class at "It's Your World".
David Recher Commissioned Lay Minister
to St. John’s as a teen-ager when his father, the Rev. John M. Recher, became
our pastor in 1946. He has made Three Rivers his home since. David is a
graduate of Three Rivers High School and attended Michigan State University. He also completed numerous courses of
study at the Michigan Judicial Institute and the National Institute for Court
Management. He is a lifelong, self-taught student of the Bible, theology and
related studies. He is a graduate of the NW Lower Michigan Synod’s Lay
Missionary Program and a charter member of the Board of Governors of both the
Lay Missionary and Synodically Authorized Ministry (SAM) Programs.
He retired in 1992 after more than 23 years as Administrator and Magistrate of the St. Joseph County District Court.He has served the congregation in many ways over the years: teaching young people’s, adult, and catechism classes; Sunday School superintendent; chair of Christian education and evangelism committees, church council member and president of the congregation. David has also compiled a training manual for lectors, entitled, "The Untied Tongue." As Lay Minister, David is active in worship planning and St. John’s Arts Council, leads a Sunday morning adult forum, assists the Pastor in preaching and leading worship, and serves as lector and communion assistant. He and his wife, Mary, co-chair the congregation’s outreach team and lead a small group for seniors.
We are now using volunteers to staff our office during the week.