More than 25 years of ministry
Timothy Kellgren has made a lasting impact on the community of Petaluma, Calif., through the many social ministries he has founded and supported in more than 25 years of ministry with Elim Lutheran Church. His impact on this community is so deep and lasting that in 2014, the same year as his retirement, the city of Petaluma voted Pastor Kellgren as 2014 Citizen of the Year. Kellgren is a man whose faith has made him an activist for a better community and a better world in ways large and small; global and local.
Kellgren had his eyes constantly on the needs of the Petaluma community. Affordable senior housing, shelter for the homeless, food resources for the community, a preschool and a medical clinic are all results of Kellgren’s tireless work to help his congregation live out their faith in the community. A congregation member says, “In Tim’s view, all of these activities are simply the result of acting upon his Christian faith—a faith that calls him to ‘radical love’ for his fellow humans and to strive for social justice in every corner of the world.” These effective and creative ministries offer the church community a way to live out their faith and share their gifts through service and relationship with their neighbors in the community.
Kellgren’s leadership led Elim Lutheran church to ministry across the globe, as well. A relationship with the New Life Band from Arusha Tanzania developed into ongoing support for the ministry of the church in Tanzania. Elim Lutheran has provided support to build a hostel where female students, teachers and visitors live while teaching, learning and serving. This relationship between Elim and the New Life Band has resulted in shared ministry between the United States and Tanzania and many visits for education, worship and building lasting relationships. He also initiated the congregation’s annual mission to build houses in Mexico.
Pastor Kellgren was loved deeply by his congregation at Elim Lutheran during his many years there. Kellgren prioritized building relationships with his congregation, especially the children and youth. One congregant says that Tim offered the “most engaging preaching I had ever heard—at once deeply comforting and rousingly uncomfortable to the material and self-focused aspect of myself” while another declares that “we as parishioners could see the faith, love and Holy Spirit literally pour out of this man, week in and week out!” Pastor Tim was a truly gifted leader, talented preacher, effective teacher, and a man of many accomplishments, but he will be remembered for his unwavering faith in Christ that was always central to his ministry.