On Saturday night, with heavy hearts, members of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, along with friends and family, gathered to wish farewell to Pastor James Glander.
Glander, who served the church for 16 years and was in church ministry for almost 50 years, retired over the weekend. On Saturday afternoon, he officiated Betsy Moose’s funeral – the church’s volunteer secretary. Then, that evening, was the gathering in his honor. Finally, on Sunday, Glander led his final service at the church.
“It’s bittersweet for me personally because these are my best friends,” Dee Glander, James’s wife, said on Saturday evening. “We came here without children; they were all raised already, and these have become our family.”
Mark Lewis, president of the church council, stated it was important to celebrate the leadership and shepherding that Glander provided to the church for nearly two decades.
“Yes, there is sadness, but it’s a body of work that we’re celebrating,” he said. “... He’s worked hard, and it’s time for him to enjoy this time in his life and enjoy all of these family members and beautiful grandchildren.”
During the event, Glander was treated to a slideshow, featuring photos throughout the years. Afterward, the church council presented gifts to him, including a certificate of a tree planted for the Holy Land in his name and a crystal award.
His wife was given a Pandora bracelet with charms.
“We’ve had this pastor and his wife longer than any of our other previous pastors,” Bill Ellis said. “... He’s a man I have been able to call by his first name. I’ve never dared to call any other previous pastor by their first name and that shows the caliber of man he is.”
Mike Priebe, who hadn’t even been with the congregation a full year, also spoke highly of Glander.
“I came here one Sunday after I moved, and the service was wonderful; the music was great; the preaching was good, and, after the service, I was swarmed by these beautiful women,” he joked. “I thought I was in heaven, and it was just a sense of this being a place to call home. I think that comes from a pastor who creates a home in the congregation.”
Though Glander and his wife plan to stay in the area in the short term, they also plan to find a way to be closer to their family. Their children live in Charlotte, Columbia and Blue Field, W.Va., and they hope to find a happy median between the three.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star.