Pastor Darrell Morton has bid farewell to a position in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., to assume the role of pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church, Nevis.
Morton's last position was Assistant to the Presiding Bishop of the Federal Chaplaincy Ministries. Their role was overseeing all Evangelical Lutheran Church of America federal chaplains, including those serving the military, Federal Bureau of Prisons and Department of Veterans Affairs.
"It's a welcome change," the California native said of his return to Minnesota, where he attended the seminary.
Morton began as a young pastor serving parishes at Trinity in Laporte, Malvik in Guthrie and Aardahl outside of Bemidji from 1977 to 1980.
His internship had been in Battle Lake, where he was ordained. Park Rapids resident Glenn Anderson was supervising pastor at the time.
He became an Air Force chaplain, his role taking him around the globe for 25 years.
"Six years ago, the national ELCA called me to the position," he said of the assistant to the bishop. He retired from military chaplaincy to assume the role.
"My parish was chaplains," he said.
Now he returns to traditional parish ministry, which by numbers, he said, is similar to his duties as an Air Force chaplain.
"I love participating in the daily life of the people I serve," he said. "I love preaching and teaching and interacting with people."
"And I love Minnesota," he said. "It feels like home to us." He and his wife of 45 years, Wendy, have four children. Several members of the family are pastors, Morton said.
Morton will be installed as Bethany's pastor at Sunday's 9 a.m. service.