Brian Roebke photo
Pastor Randy Ott received a championship belt from the congregation at Zion Lutheran Church in Morrison during Sunday’s retirement program for him after 21 years of service to the congregation.
By Brian Roebke
The congregation from Zion Lutheran Church in Morrison sent Pastor Randy Ott off to retirement in South Dakota with lots of love, respect, and food on Sunday.
Following an outdoor worship service at 10:30 a.m. that was Pastor Ott’s last Sunday preaching before retirement, the congregation made their way into the school gym for a lunch and program to thank Pastor Ott.
Among those speaking were Charles Edinger and Randy Loppnow, who said Ott’s love to preach and teach was something special to the congregation.
“Your ability to connect with people, either in a Sunday sermon, a bible study, confirmation class, talking with members in the parking lot, a conversation at a local establishment,” the president of the church council said.
Ott came to Morrison in 2002, serving for 21 years of his 34-year career. During his time here, he was known for his dedication to the church, the community, Jesus Christ, Michigan sports, real whiskey, and WWE wrestling.
When the church building was closed to the congregation during COVID-19, he preached to multiple cutouts of WWE superstar John Cena in the pews.
In his parting message after the dinner, he said God gave him the privilege of leading the flock in Morrison.
“It’s a flock like any flock, has challenges, has joys, its sorrows, and its blessings, but I’m incredibly thankful for all the time I had here,” he said. “Was it difficult at times, was there joy at times, yes, but above all, there was the spirit of Jesus and so I thank God for that gift.”
He was thankful for all the co-workers and staff he’s had over the years, specifically mentioning Nancy Pantzlaff, the church and school secretary.
He also called out two people who helped him through his cancer diagnosis over a year ago, Charles Edinger and Brenda Kuchenbecker.
“They got called to the pastor’s office and they thought they were in trouble,” he joked. “I told them what was going on because those two have been two of the best friends.”
Associate Pastor James Enderle is now taking over as pastor.
“I’m thankful for all of you,” Ott said. “I’m so glad you all could be here today. May God bless you today, tomorrow, and forever, and if I don’t see you again here on this side of heaven, I’ll see you in heaven.”