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Trinity Lutheran pastor hopes to share faith with others

A pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Albert Lea is helping parishioners live a life of faith through action.

The Rev. Eileen Woyen assumed her position in September. As pastor, she leads two worship services a week, teaches and engages in pastoral care.

Woyen wants parishioners to live out their faith beyond church walls.

“I enjoy making connections and helping people grow in their faith, seeing how our faith and our daily life can go hand in hand,” she said. “So often we are Christians on Sunday, but forget about it on Monday.”

Woyen encourages parishioners to not be frightened about being Christians and to show how they are children of God.

“Just by giving them examples, sharing also that their relationship with God, if that is stronger, they are more confident in their own faith, they might be more willing to open up to sharing or just living out their faith,” she said. 

Woyen’s husband, the Rev. Steven Woyen, is pastor at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Lyle.

Eileen Woyen, a self-described cradle Lutheran, began her journey to ministry while she attended Wittenberg University, a private school in Springfield, Ohio. Woyen said she was told by a faith leader she would do well as pastor, to her surprise.

“(He said), ‘You know, Eileen, I think you have skills that could help you be a good pastor,’” she said. “Well, I thought he had drank too much wine at dinner, because I never saw myself doing anything like that. Church and faith were important to me, but I didn’t know any women in ministry. And the women I did know in ministry certainly didn’t look or act like me.”

Woyen has a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Wittenberg University and a master of divinity degree from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Bexley, Ohio.

Woyen, who became a pastor in 2000, said she decided to join the ministry once she realized her calling.

“Finally accepting that God had called me to do this,” she said. “And I can’t say that I heard voices or anything … a peace came over me when I finally said ‘Yes, I will follow God’s call.’”

Approximately 180 to 200 people attend weekly services she leads on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.

Woyen was an associate in youth and family ministry at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Avon Lake, Ohio, and at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Akron, Ohio. She was sole pastor at a church in Greene Ohio, before coming to the area. Her message is of acceptance.

“I want them to know that they are loved and forgiven by a gracious God and that because of that we can share that with others,” she said.

To Woyen, having faith in Jesus Christ is extremely important.

“Because he is everything,” she said. “ Like my sermon (Sunday,) we are called to be light and salt for the earth. And Mother Teresa at one time said, ‘How do we do this, but to give them Jesus,’ and that we’ve been given Jesus, that we give Jesus. It’s simple but profound and hard at the same time.”

Eileen Woyen

Age: 44

Address: Lyle

Livelihood: pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church

Family: husband, Steven; two sons, 9-year-old Jacoby and 5-year-old Martin

Interesting fact: Woyen is from Ohio

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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