Bartels welcomes new Chaplain – Pastor Mike Blair

Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community, Waverly, is pleased to announce Pastor Mike Blair has been named the new Chaplain to serve residents, families and staff. He will be joining the Bartels campus Dec. 15, 2019, and is answering this new calling from Luther College, Decorah. He has been serving the Luther community for the past 28 years.

Bartels CEO Deb Schroeder stated, “We are so excited about Pastor Mike Blair joining the Bartels family as our new Chaplain. Pastor Mike has clearly accomplished many things during his time in the ministry and it will be a privilege and an honor to work with Pastor Mike. We know Pastor Mike will make a difference in the lives of our residents, families, and staff in many new and meaningful ways.  As our new spiritual leader, we look forward to Pastor Mike perpetuating an already wonderful ministry at Bartels. Please join Bartels in welcoming Pastor Mike and his wife, Sue, to the Waverly community.”

Pastor Mike Blair commented, “The timing of this call comes as something of a mystery, even as I have been discerning such a possibility for a good while. After many years of walking with students in their vocational stories and faith questions, it is humbling and surprising to be on the receiving side of a new call to serve with a community of elders. Call stories, whether personal or Biblical, are disruptive, renewing, grounding and confounding all at once. Accepting the call to leave Luther College to serve with Bartels Retirement Community holds paradoxical, counterintuitive, joyful and bittersweet energy, yet it remains for me a call. The wisdom, insight and listening of colleagues and friends, including Luther College President Ward, has been invaluable to me and Sue in this time of discerning. We are excited to begin a new ministry with the Bartels community.”

Luther College President Jenifer K. Ward praised Pastor Mike, “It has been my privilege to walk with him in this journey of discernment and to hear of his love for Luther and of the stirrings one feels at the possibility of using our gifts in new ways. As I said to him, I find it almost poetic that, after decades of working with college students as they are becoming adults and discerning their futures, he will now have the opportunity to work with a population at a time of reflection about what their lives have entailed and how to transition to a time of Sabbath. I can’t imagine a more empathetic partner for these residents of Bartels and I know the joy, playfulness, care, and reverence Pastor Mike will bring to their time together.”

For over half a century, Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community has provided a loving, caring, Christian home for senior adults. The Bartels Chaplaincy program anchors this treasured service. Ministering to the spiritual needs of all residents, regardless of their church affiliation, the Bartels Chaplaincy helps fulfill the overall mission of the retirement community: Enriching the lives through quality services and Christian care.

The Bartels Chaplain provides a full-time chaplaincy ministry to all residents in many ways. The Chaplaincy program serves all communities on the Bartels campus. In addition to leading Sunday ecumenical worship services in the Good Shepherd Chapel and other worship areas, the Chaplaincy Program:

  • Conducts Bible studies
  • Leads daily meal time prayers and noon devotions in the dining rooms
  • Visits residents through one-on-one visits
  • Visits residents in the hospital
  • Attends to residents and their families during the end of life process, funerals and celebrations of life
  • Coordinates programs involving Wartburg students, church groups and area clergy
  • Acts as liaison between residents and representatives of residents’ home church

The Bartels Chaplain also ministers to staff and their families as well as carries the Bartels message to church and community groups.