Trinity Lutheran Church gives thanks for Pastor Jim

Pastor Jim Lindus of Trinity Lutheran Church. “It’s been a great ride,” he said.  - Photo courtesy of Laura Canby
Pastor Jim Lindus of Trinity Lutheran Church. “It’s been a great ride,” he said.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Laura Canby

Pastor Jim Lindus looks back fondly at the 20 years he has been in the pulpit at Trinity Lutheran Church.

“It’s been a great ride,” he said Thursday. “This has been a great place to raise our children.”

Lindus and his family were saluted recently at a dinner and roast at the church. More than 350 people attended.

“It was two hours of straight laughter,” Lindus said. “It was really a lot of fun.”

Speakers joshing Lindus during the roast included retired pastors Daniel Erlander, Dennis Hanson, Eric Ottum and George Brunjes. Golfing buddy Tom Brown, manager of PayLess Foods in Freeland, got in his digs, too.

Two of Lindus’ three daughters, Jenna and Emily, students at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, also attended the event. Daughter Kelsi is a student at Northwestern University in Illinois.

The congregation gave Lindus a new golf cart and $3,000, which he and his wife, Felicia, were instructed to use for their “bucket list.”

“Can I give the money back and take Sundays off?” Lindus reportedly replied.

Another $1,000 was donated in his name to World Hunger Relief, a Christian organization committed to the alleviation of hunger around the world. Also, $500 checks were donated on his behalf to Good Cheer Food Bank in Bayview and Gifts From The Heart Food Bank in Coupeville.

Under Lindus’ leadership, the Trinity Lutheran congregation has contributed more than $1 million to local, national and world charities, with a special emphasis on fighting hunger and poverty.

In the past 20 years, the congregation has grown from 90 members to 1,200, and its annual budget has increased from $51,000 to $641,000, Lindus said.

He said that through the years he has officiated at 284 baptisms, 293 weddings and 409 funerals, and that the church recently has been donating $100,000 a year to worthy causes.

He said Trinity Lutheran has become the “community center for Freeland,” with a number of public and civic meetings held at the church during any given week.

“I think the church is positioned to continue to build on that,” he said, adding that he and the congregation also envision the eventual construction of apartments for seniors.

Congregation member Laura Canby of Clinton called Lindus “a gifted preacher and a humble servant-leader.”

“He’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and move tables or make coffee,” she said Thursday. “And he always parks furthest away on Sunday mornings to make more room for visitors and the elderly.”

Congregation member Bob Olson of Freeland called Lindus “one of those who is blessed to be blessed.”

“He’s on call 24/7,” Olson said. “He’s done so much for so many. I can’t say enough about him and his whole family.”

Lindus, 50, is an Illinois native who received his seminary training in Minnesota. He came to Trinity Lutheran in 1989 after three years as pastor of a church on Bainbridge Island.

“It’s a wonderful place,” he said of Trinity Lutheran, and of the South Whidbey community in general. “We just have a great sense of appreciation.”

“I was with him when he got his one and only hole-in-one,” Olson said of Lindus, an avid golfer. “It was July 17, 2002 at 7:20 in the morning on the par-3 hole number three at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club. How’s that for memory?”

Lindus lives with his family at Useless Bay, “six minutes from the first tee” at the nearby golf course, so the new golf cart will come in handy.

“Now I won’t have to walk,” he said.

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