Decorah Lutheran Church's Pastor Peter Kowitz is focused on the future of the church, its congregation, and the community. While looking ahead is the goal for Kowitz, it's the looking back that shows how he and his family ended up in Decorah.
When asked about first learning about Decorah, Kowitz says, "I grew up in the Twin Cities and graduated from White Bear Lake High School. My family was always active in our church. The organist at our church was a Luther College grad, so that was how I first learned about Decorah and the college."
After he graduated with a double major of Music Education and Religion in 1998, Kowitz taught music in public and private schools for a dozen years. He says, "Choir was my specialty, but I also taught general music and band." Kowitz goes on to highlight how his background in teaching music equips him for his role as a pastor at DLC. He enjoyed the group dynamic of music and says, "Working together on a common goal is an important part of church councils and committees."
Kowitz chooses music to remain an important part of his life even as he focuses on his ministry. His wife, Sarah, a 1999 Luther graduate, is a violinist and teaches string lessons. They and their two sons, Carter and Ansel, all enjoy playing music and going to concerts and shows.
Along with his teaching and music skills, Kowitz brings leadership from his years of working in different churches, most recently United Lutheran Church in Proctor, MN. He says, "I have experience in transition and organizational restructuring, so I am a good fit for the work Decorah Lutheran has to do. I have been involved in Lutheranism around the country and bring a broad perspective to Decorah Lutheran. God is about resurrection and new life, so I lead with hope for the future."
Although his first official day (April 1st) at DLC didn't go exactly how it was planned because of COVID-19, Kowitz isn't shaken from his current goals and future plans. He says, "My immediate plans are to lead DLC through the rest of the quarantine and eventually to be open again. But in the long term I hope to revise the organizational structure so that ministry in the community is the focus. Worship is central to the church's identity, so I will make sure it is vibrant and authentic." He's using this time to combine social media, his musical ability, and his love of God to create new ways of spreading hope. Check out his latest musical endeavor on Facebook with help from some members of his congregation here.
A welcome celebration and Installation Service for Pastor Kowitz will be scheduled for a later date. Until then, Kowitz keeps his eyes on the goals of his ministry, saying, "I am excited to work alongside the members of Decorah Lutheran. This congregation has everything it needs to be a vital presence in the community for years to come. Together we will share the Gospel message of love to a beautiful but broken world."