Staff Report

The Rev. Russel Troester formally became resident pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Santa Ynez in an installation ceremony on Feb. 11 before the entire congregation and invited guests.

Eleven ministers representing congregations of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod north to Monterrey and south to Malibu participated in the Laying of Hands ceremony welcoming Troester, a South Dakota Native, to the blue-gray church at the corner of Edison Street, Baseline Road and Highway 154.

Troester, a graduate of the University of South Dakota, is a 2008 graduate of the Concordia Seminary in Saint Louis, Mo. He takes over the position after the retirement of Rev. Lowell B. Kindschy, who served the congregation for 20 years.

Troester comes to Shepherd of the Valley after serving two previous congregations, most recently in Nebraska. His family includes his wife, Kris, and four boys: Rome, 12; Jack, 9; Sam, 8; and Kal, 4.

The family is living temporarily in Santa Ynez while a 1,740-square-foot parsonage is being built on the church campus at 3552 Baseline Road.

The new pastor’s arrival is but one highlight in a busy year for the 100-plus-member congregation.

“To say that Pastor Troester’s arrival is an answer to prayer is an understatement,” said congregational President Marv Newton. “Our church family has been involved in a rigorous process of self examination, community study and preparation for welcoming a new minister. Combine that with a design and build of a modular residence on the property, our successful Bunkhouse Bonanza Fundraiser, and the day-to-day operation of our parish, and you can see our hands were full.”

Over the preceding nine months, Shepherd of the Valley was led and served by  Interim Pastor Ronald Moritz, who guided the congregation on its journey to a new pastor.

“With Pastor Moritz’s capable leadership and guidance, Shepherd of the Valley was well positioned to review several highly qualified candidates and make a credible and well-prepared offer to our top candidate, who accepted our offer … made all the more sweet by the fact that our new pastor could lead us through the Lenten and Easter season,” said church member and Stewardship Chairman C.J. Jackson.

Shepherd of the Valley holds Sunday worship services at 10 a.m. with adult Bible study at 9 a.m. and Sunday School for children during the worship hour.