Trinity pastor surprised on 25th anniversary of ordinationPublished 11:00am Thursday, July 12, 2012
The Rev. Curtis Deterding from Trinity Lutheran Church returned from vacation to a surprise from his congregation on Sunday.
After taking about a week off, Deterding’s wife talked him into attending church to watch from a pew. He had no idea the congregation had planned a big surprise party for him. Sunday marked Deterding’s 25-year ordination anniversary.
“I usually don’t go to church on vacation days, but my wife talked me into it,” he said. “I didn’t know she was in on it. I was really surprised.”
The surprise had been in the works for weeks, and nobody slipped or gave him any idea something was up.
Information about the surprise party was even printed in a church newsletter, but a fake newsletter was sent to Deterding.
In the days leading up to the surprise, Deterding mentioned stopping by the church a few times, but his wife insisted he stay away and enjoy his time off.
“Every time I wanted to go, she came up with something to keep me out,” he said. “I thought maybe she was finally getting it and that I really do need time off.”
Perhaps his most special surprise came when Deterding’s friend, the Rev. Ed Arle gave the sermon, driving from St. Charles Mo. to give the message. Arle and Deterding worked closely in the past, and Arle actually installed Deterding into a church in Missouri.
“I was shocked when I heard he was here,” Deterding said. “It was a joy to have him here. He didn’t disappoint that day.”
The church service also included special music from several members of the congregation, he said.
“We had a celebration afterward,” Deterding said. “There were some stories shared that were close to some members’ hearts.”
A video was presented featuring several of Deterding’s friends and family members congratulating him for reaching the big milestone.
“It was very special,” Deterding said. “It was a wonderful day of celebrating.”