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Leaving a good place

Rev. Sprecher retiring from LO church after decade of service


Sometimes when a pastor leaves a church he is asked not to let the door hit him on the way out.

But that is not the case for the Rev. Steve Sprecher at the Lake Oswego United Methodist Church. He is very much leaving under his own steam after 10 years as head pastor of LOUMC. In a career that spans four decades in the Christian ministry, Sprecher counts his time in Lake Oswego as some of his happiest and most successful years. He just wants to make way for tomorrow. by: SUBMITTED - Rev. Steve Sprecher is shown delivering a sermon at Lake Oswego United Methodist Church. Now, he plans to travel, play the piano and still do some preaching.

“I must say this is the best church I have ever served,” Sprecher said. “In 41 years this has been the best fit and the most fun. The hardest part is leaving people I’ve gotten to know. I honestly think I’ve received more being here than I’ve put in.”

Ironically, Sprecher’s coming to Lake Oswego was sort of an accident. In 2003 he was quite happy as the assistant to the Portland Methodist Bishop and was not looking for greener pastures. The pastor of LOUMC at the time had left in the middle of the year in a surprise move. Sprecher was originally just an adviser on the matter. But when you serve God, things have an odd way of working out, he said.

“Everything came together,” Sprecher said. “It was one of those surprise things that come along when you’re thinking about something else. I had been serving as the superintendent of this district and I loved coming out here.”

When you are the superintendent of a Methodist district, you go to a lot of meetings. Sprecher used to go to 43 meetings each fall, and he received reports galore. But he noticed the reports that came from LOUMC were always fun, thanks to ministry staff members Linda Woods and Sue Johnson. Naturally, Sprecher went on to have great working chemistry with them.

Sprecher’s accomplishments at LOUMC included developing a statement of welcome and inclusivity; refining a strategy for ministerial strategies, goals and objectives; starting such programs as “Change the World” weekend and increasing congregational participation on mission trips; expanding support for Neighborhood House, Habitat for Humanity and the church’s transitional shelter; promoting church members to share their personal faith journeys during Lenten season; and spearheading the development of the church website at lakeoswegoumc.org.

“We discovered our church identity and built a cohesive vision of the future,” Sprecher said.

Sprecher also gave the church its motto: “A place to connect to God, each other and the world.”

Leaving is sweet sorrow for Sprecher, but, he said, “I’m leaving at a good place. It’s time for a younger leader to lead on to the next phase.”

Although he is leaving his church, Sprecher won’t be leaving Lake Oswego. He and his wife, Lynda, a fused-glass artist, will be doing all the things that couples like to do in their retirement years, such as traveling and, in Sprecher’s case, playing jazz piano.

However, before he really retires, Sprecher, who recently turned 66, has a lot of work to do. He plans to fill in at another church in Portland for six weeks. Then, who knows where Sprecher will get the call?

He said, “If you think this faith gives you life, you want to share it with other people.”

LOUMC plans a send-off celebration for Rev. Sprecher after the service on June 30.




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