Pastor recognized for service

Published 3:08 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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Community members, including law enforcement officers and personnel, elected officials, clergy and community leaders gathered at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club last week to honor John Mitchem, pastor of United Methodist Church in Albert Lea, for his life’s work, and to share personal testimonies of his work in the community.

Public Safety Director J.D. Carlson, Sheriff Ryan Shea, Mayor Rich Murray, State Rep. Peggy Bennett and Minneapolis Police Department Chaplain David Engman were the featured speakers.

In addition to his roles as lead pastor at United Methodist Church in Albert Lea and chaplain for the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office, Mitchem served as the president of the Freeborn County Ministerial Association.

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He spearheaded the emergency lodging fund with the association, rescued Ruby’s Pantry from leaving the community, organized community-wide children, youth and family events, was a mentor to young pastors, filled in for pastors who were on sabbatical and provided for Southwest Middle School after school programs.

He also opened the doors of the church to safely shelter residents during times of crisis, including times of dangerous weather and the active shooter incident.

He assisted law enforcement officers and their families, providing support, grief and critical incident counseling.