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Church welcomes new pastor

Faith Lutheran Church, 545 Apollo Road, will install a new pastor at 4 p.m. this Sunday. Clayton Welch, 31, was moving into the next-door parsonage early this week along with his wife and three children, ages 6, 4 and 2.

Welch is from the Phoenix, Ariz., area. He grew up in Arizona but was born in Madison, Wis.

"We're just thrilled that God has called us all the way up here to this church," Welch said Tuesday during a lunch break from home moving.

Welch won't preach his first sermon until Sunday morning, Jan. 17.

Welch replaces the late Paul Schmeling, who died last Memorial Day after falling from a tree in his yard that he was pruning. Schmeling, 56, had been Faith Lutheran's pastor for 18 years.

Schmeling's wife, Beth, has since moved to Woodbury, Minn., but continues her connection to Faith Lutheran as both a member and as the church's preschool director and teacher.

Read more about Clayton Welch in an upcoming print issue of the River Falls Journal.