Pastor Medical Leave Letter

St. Stephen’s Day


Dear Bethany & Pilgrim Parish:


Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen!


I have been advised from my health care team to undergo various treatments for non-emergency medical issues. Please do not be alarmed as the treatments are preventative in nature and I feel fine. However, if I do not take the time as advised my health will be in jeopardy. In talking with the church councils, the parish board, the NW Synod of Wisconsin, ministry colleagues, and staff it has been decided that I will take at least six weeks off for medical leave. The good thing is that most of those days will be covered from unused vacation and sick time.


With deep gratitude and grace, Pastor Maggie Isaacson and Pastor Roger Pittman have offered their experience and help. A schedule has been made for pulpit supply and emergency contacts. The synod introduced a recent seminary graduate to preach and on those Sundays the service will be Service of the Word. With Pastors Isaacson and Pittman, we will have our normal Service of Word and Sacrament.


I ask for your prayers of well-being and strength as I take this journey. I also appreciate your grace and care by giving me the necessary time and space to do what I have to do. As one minister said recently: “this is not just for you and your health; it is also for the congregations and those you serve!” Like Mary, I will keep that thought in my heart and ponder it.


I will take leave starting January 9th and I plan on returning February 25th to prepare for Transfiguration Sunday on the 27th. There is a chance you will still see me out and about as I have procedures in the Twin Cities and Chicago and will likely be able to stay at home for periods of time.


You will be in my prayers and thoughts. I am incredibly thankful and blessed to be called to Bethany and Pilgrim. I have been reflecting on what Paul, a pastor, wrote to his church in Corinth: do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19


Your Servant,


Pastor Emily K. Stelling

Pastor Maggie Isaacson is a beloved community figure and pastor. She was the pastor of North Valley Lutheran Church for many years, in between Centuria and Milltown. She recently retired and enjoys spending time with her grandkids. She is Pr. Emily's mentor and Reverend Mother (Emily's words!). Thank you, Pastor Maggie! 

You can get a hold of Pastor Maggie via phone:715-553-1350 or email: 

Pastor Roger Pittman is a familiar face to the parish! He was the interim pastor after Pastor Paul Peterson. Also retired, Pastor Roger continues to be active in the community as a chaplain with the County Sheriff's department and as a member of Lakeview Lutheran. Thank you, Pastor Roger! You can get a hold of Pastor Roger via phone: 715-733-0249 or email: 

For non-emergency questions, please contact Secretary Jane in the Bethany office: 715-349-5280 or email:

For pastoral emergencies, please continue to contact "The Pastor Phone": 715-791-4429.

Thank you for your support and prayers for Pastor Emily.