Weather Forecast


Odegard back in the area as pastor for Sabylund Lutheran

One of the oldest clichés out there is that you can't go home again.

Sue Odegard is one person who dispels that notion.

Odegard, who grew up in the Twin Cities and lived in the Pierce County area for 20 years before moving to Michigan's Upper Peninsula in 2004, is back as pastor for Sabylund Lutheran Church, located on County Road J in Lund.

"I'm blessed to be back," she said. "It's beautiful here. I love it."

Odegard knows the area quite well, as she spent 14 years working for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal as a reporter/community news editor from 1986-2000.

She said her experiences in that field, which included reporting on traffic accidents and court cases, led her into the ministry profession.

"It's been a wonderful second career choice," she said.

After graduating from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Odegard was assigned to the Northern Great Lakes Synod, which covered northeast Wisconsin and all of the Upper Peninsula. She was then chosen by the congregation of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock, Mich., to serve as its pastor in 2004.

She was there for the last three years and loved the area. The only catch was that her husband of 34 years, Larry, was unable to get a job up there so he kept his job at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and made the 12-hour round trip on weekends to visit her.

With that in mind, Odegard began looking for openings near this area. Sabylund represented the perfect opportunity, as it's been without a pastor for nearly 18 months.

She said she felt thrilled and honored when she received word in April from the Sabylund Call Committee the congregation voted her to be its pastor.

And the reception she and Larry received so far from her parishioners has blown her away. She explained nearly 30 of them helped her move in and, at the same time, helped clean and remodel the parsonage, her home.

"They worked very hard to make it beautiful for us," she said. "It has so much character with stained glass windows, dark woodwork and a built-in mural."

Odegard was installed as pastor in a ceremony early last week in front of 45 friends and family, including the couple's two children, son Jeremy and wife Teri, along with their children, Emily and Megan, who live in River Falls, and daughter Kristina and husband Hunter, who live in Chicago, along with the congregation. Afterwards, a meal was had in which her family met her "new family."

So far, the new job has kept her busy.

"I'm hitting the pavement running," she said. "I'm doing what needs to be done."

That includes scheduling a baptism and going over final plans with a couple she's going to marry next month. She also plans on having a meet-and-greet with parishioners at the parsonage so they can talk about the future of the church.

Sabylund's lone worship service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sunday, with Sunday School at 9 a.m. and Adult Bible Study for 9:15 a.m. when they resume in the fall.

Contact Jason Schulte at or 273-4334.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

(715) 243-7767 x243