Trinity Lutheran Church welcomes Pastor Tim Mason

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

Trinity Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye welcomed a new pastor this month. Pastor Tim Mason arrived in Sleepy Eye a couple weeks ago, after a cross country drive from his home in the San Diego, California area, accompanied by his dog Brewski. On Sunday, Sept. 26, the congregation celebrated Pastor Tim's installation as their pastor and he is happily ensconced in his church office and the parsonage (despite his belongings still on a truck somewhere between California and Sleepy Eye when we met last week.)

Pastor Tim Mason was installed as Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church on Sunday, Sept. 26.

Pastor Tim took a bit of a different route to Sleepy Eye than we may be used to. He does have roots in Minnesota, growing up in Coon Rapids, but during his career he made a home for himself in Japan, after going there as a missionary and becoming a pastor of both Japanese and International Lutheran congregations. He said he has always been drawn to different cultures and languages and finds life gets deeper with the experiences.

Following 14 years in Japan, where he married his wife Yuriko and they welcomed sons Andrew and Kai into their family, Pastor Tim found himself ready for a change. The family relocated to Hawaii where he was pastor of Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church in East Honolulu. Pastor Tim describes the experience as being "nested" in the cultures of Hawaii, where he served for 15 years. More recently Pastor Tim lived in California and worked as a visitation minister—carrying on through the pandemic as so many have, reaching out through FaceTime, Zoom and phone calls.

So, why Sleepy Eye? Pastor Tim said he realized he really is a "pastor" and wanted to pastor a congregation again. With his roots in Minnesota, and siblings and cousins in Wisconsin and northern Minnesota (who are thrilled to have him back in the region) he decided to make a big change, serving in a farming region for the first time. Besides, he said, "Sleepy Eye has the most awesome Call Committee in the country!"

Yuriko and Kai live in Honolulu where Kai is a college student. Son Andrew is a student at the University of North Dakota, studying to be a pilot.

Pastor Tim is enjoying learning about Sleepy Eye and the surrounding rural area (learning by the driving around method). He told his congregation he is interested in understanding "planting and harvesting" from their perspective as these are very important metaphors in the Bible, used by Jesus many times. He wrote to his congregation in the church newsletter: "As an agricultural community, I look forward to hearing and learning more about this metaphor, as this is the context in which you have lived, and I will soon claim as my home."

During our interview, Pastor Tim described worship in this way: "Worship is a human's best attempt to say thank you for God's grace, peace, mercy, love and justice bestowed through the Cross of Christ."