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New minister in Conroy

By ANDREA FURLONG

Pastor Don Keiser Dovre may have just started ministering at First Lutheran Church, Conroy, one month ago, but he has more in common with the rural church than a love for the country.

Like First Lutheran, which was founded over 150 years ago by Norwegian immigrants, Dovre has some Norwegian roots. Some of his ancestors were Norwegians and he even learned to speak the language while studying abroad one year in Norway during his college years.

“I can really speak good about church stuff in Norwegian, but don’t ask me about normal stuff in Norwegian,” he laughed.

Dovre, 50, comes to First Lutheran after serving as the minister for Palestine Lutheran Church, Huxley, for the last 10 years. Other churches he has ministered at include St. John Lutheran Church, Morgan, Minn., and Peace Lutheran Church, Ryan. He also served as the director for annual giving at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque.

First Lutheran’s congregation of about 60 active parishioners is one-third the size of the last church Dovre served at, but there are some key things the two have in common, he said.

“They’re both open country churches. ‘Open country, open hearts’ is kind of a slogan they have here, and I think that’s true of both congregations, too,” he said.

Dovre said he accepted the position at First Lutheran because he wanted to serve a rural church close to Iowa City, where his wife works as the director for evangelical mission for the Southeastern Iowa Synod.

He describes himself as a Christian from birth whose only other career interest as a young man was farming.

“I was wondering how I might best serve God and I didn’t know whether to go into farming, since I’d been raised on a farm, or if I should use my gifts as a pastor. As time went on, I was led in that direction,” he said.

One of the main things Dovre hopes to learn from his new congregation is the ability to work together with diverse minds and backgrounds together.

He hopes to learn from the congregation: The joining together of many diverse minds.

“We have big diversity because we have people from the Amanas, people from Williamsburg, people from Marengo, people from Iowa City. We have older people who have been here all their lives and people who have just moved in because of culture of the area. We have a lot of different ideas, a lot of different understandings about what God wants us to be doing. I hope I can learn from them about how we all get along. That’s something I hope the whole world can learn from a congregation like this,” he said.

Dovre has a bachelor’s in economics from Corcordia Univesity, Moorehead, Minn,. and a master’s of divinity from Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque. He is originally from Morgan, Minn. Dovre lives in Williamsburg with his wife, Gloria, and children Jurgen, 10, and Inga, 6.

UPDATED December 2, 2009 2:21 PM

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