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Trinity Lutheran Church introduces new pastor Ryan Reese

LANSING, Ill. (June 10, 2024) — Trinity Lutheran Church formally introduced Pastor Ryan Reese on April 28, after hosting an interim pastor for months. Reese has been a pastor since 2006, having spent around 18 years with the Trinity Lutheran Church in Warren, Michigan.

Brief history, overview of Trinity Church

According to the Trinity Lutheran website, the church moved to its location on 2505 Indiana Avenue in 1925. The Trinity congregation itself began decades before in 1864, with “Lutherans of German descent.” Now, the church serves as a large piece of the community in Lansing, holding a weekly ladies’ Bible study and a community meal once a month.

Trinity Lutheran
Ryan Reese is the new pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansing. (Photo from tlclansing.org)

This summer, Pastor Reese says one of his main goals is getting to know his neighbors: those in the current congregation, as well as residents of Lansing. This, for him, comes from building upon these already existing activities of the Lansing Trinity Church. Reese hopes to be able to share spiritual opportunities in the Trinity congregation with their neighborhoods.

“One of the things that I will be looking at is ways to engage our direct and immediate neighbors to give them not only worship opportunities within our congregation, but general outreach activities,” Pastor Reese said. “I will be trying to get to know Lansing better, conversing with local leaders to get a feel for some of the needs in the community, what needs have already been addressed, how Trinity in Lansing can more closely offer itself to be a blessing, not only in what Christ has done for us, but also the town blessed by Christ, we can then be loving benefits to that community.”

History as a pastor, vision for Lansing

In deciding to accept his call for a new mission in Lansing, Reese felt that the experience he had in Warren, Michigan would allow him to spread relevant lessons. Though he acknowledged that the two cities are different, Reese sees a lot of potential similarities in the same difficulties faced by Trinity in Warren and Trinity in Lansing.

“The region of Lansing has been going through considerable demographic shifts in the last 10 years,” Reese said. “As populations change, as generations change, and as the needs of the community change, congregations find themselves in difficult positions to outreach and get to know new neighbors. … There are quite a few similarities of the (Trinity and Warren) communities — the economic brackets, the general needs of those communities. I wanted to try and take the lessons from working in a near urban-suburban congregation and help out another congregation that was in similar circumstances.”

While this motivated Pastor Reese’s new mission in Lansing, he is careful to acknowledge the differences between Lansing and Warren. Rather than entering his new position with a concrete plan, Reese finds that his experience as a pastor in the last few years — particularly in dealing with COVID — has allowed him to be more flexible.

“I try not to make the assumption that every situation, no matter how similar it might seem, is actually the same. I am hoping to find a way to find our mission as a congregation, not only in the presentation of the gospel’s message, but also our unique opportunity to be there for others. If I were to pin down what I want to achieve, I want to find what God’s mission for Trinity in Lansing is. I want to embolden the people of Trinity in Lansing to go forth with His grace and participate in that mission,” Reese said.

Personal calling

Reese’s religious journey fluctuated throughout his life. Though he was born and raised Lutheran — through the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod — his personal relationship with the Lutheran Church drastically changed.

In his 20s and planning to be a chemist, Reese would never have guessed he would someday be a pastor in the future. Especially in his early college years, his relationship with the church became increasingly distant.

One Sunday, a couple of years into college, he felt called to act.

“If you asked me the first couple years in college, I was emotionally somewhat distant to the church until a particular Sunday, when I went back in just out of the blue. It wasn’t Easter or Christmas — it was just a random day that I was having a real bad Sunday,” Reese said. “So I went into church, and I felt the strong urge to continue to be there because this was what I had been lacking in my life for the last several months.”

Over the course of his religious journey, Reese also found that the number of people who guided him grew. Even with his experience in college, when his faith was somewhat distant, he met several people who influenced who he is today, as a pastor.

“Then, pastors, friends, both those of the faith and outside of the faith, in my days in seminary, were all very formative to entering into the ministry. Each of them has had their own little hands,” Reese said. “I can think of how each one of the people that I know has impacted the path that has led me to this point, but it’s like a quilt in a tapestry. There are 1,000 different pieces in a quilt that make up the whole image. But if you look from afar, you see the full picture.”

Reena Alsakaji
Reena Alsakaji
Reena Alsakaji is a freelance writer and a senior at Munster High School. She is the Editor-in-Chief of her school’s student-run newspaper, Crier. She is also involved in Munster Speech & Debate, Student Government, HOSA, Philosophy Club, and Poetry Club. Over the past two years, Reena has fallen in love with the Lansing community as she watched her mother go through the process of opening up a home decor business on Ridge Road (Cadou Decor). Reena hopes to broaden her coverage all over Lansing. Her favorite story so far is, “South Holland neighborhood group hosts Juneteenth event for hundreds.”


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