JUNEAU - As Michael and Kathy Steckel drove off the ferry in Auke Bay a few days ago at the early hour of 4:45 a.m., 13 people from Faith Lutheran Church were on hand to welcome the family. Their new spiritual leader had arrived from St. Louis, Mo. The couple was accompanied by their children, Tecumseh, l4, and Truly, 9.
A service of induction for Michael Steckel will be held at 10 a.m. today at Faith Lutheran Church. At the service, Steckel will become "Vicar Michael," which is the term the denomination uses to refer to pastoral interns who are completing their practical internship prior to being ordained, which allows eligibility to be "called" by the congregation to serve as pastor.
The choir, under the direction of Lorinda Kassner with accompanist Maralee Guiher, will provide special music for the festive event. Guests at the service will include the Rev. Philip Kuehnert, pastor of Zion Lutheran in Fairbanks, who will conduct the Rite of Induction, and the Rev. Brandt Hoffman, pastor of Zion Lutheran in Anchorage, who will serve as preacher. Holy Communion will be celebrated.
Hoffman's family had been members of Faith Lutheran during the 1960s, when the Rev. Thomas T. Bunnett was serving as pastor and who has most recently been serving as Interim pastor during the summer for the past six years. He will be the officiant for the service. Deacon Dan Kassner will be the liturgist.
Steckel was born in Allentown, Pa. He served in the U.S. Navy for six years, was hired as a contractor for NASA in the sounding rocket program, then worked for a private aerospace company in Fairbanks at a satellite tracking station. His ministerial program included completing deacon studies. The past several years, he has studied at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
His wife, Kathy Steckel, was born and raised in Fairbanks, where they met and were married July 4, 1992. She has worked as an accountant. They appreciate outdoor family activities and are delighted to be back in Alaska.
Members and friends of the congregation are cordially invited to attend the Induction Celebration this coming Sunday.