Volume 124, Number 50
Thiele on track to become ordained Lutheran minister
BY RICHARD PETERSON
Larry Thiele’s congregation isn’t necessarily measured by the numbers of people who attend worship, but rather by the number of lives his ministry touches. His Dakota Oyate Lutheran Church near Tokio has about 140 baptized members, but only about 15 of those regularly attend services. "We’ve got about 20 people we can call on to help with special events," Thiele says. "But we touch the lives of lots of kids," he adds.
Thiele isn’t an ordained minister, but is in the Lutheran Church’s special program for minority groups to become ministers. In October of 2007 he enrolled in the Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) and he expects to be ordained in about three years. In the meantime, he’s acting as Dakota Oyate’s minister.
Under the TEEM program he’ll have three intensive courses per year. The first one is four days at Pacific Lutheran Seminary at Berkeley, Calif. at the end of January. The second one is a week at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. in June and then back to Berkeley in October. In the meantime, of course, there’s lots of homework for the aspiring minister. He gets assignments over the Internet.
"The Bible is the main textbook," Thiele says. There are several writing assignments based on study of the Bible.
Thiele married Tokio native Darla Blueshield in 1979 and came to her reservation to live 28 years ago. He’s a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Nation, headquartered in Sisseton, SD. Both the Spirit Lake Nation and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Nation are Sioux tribes. "When I first came here, I wasn’t really a Christian," Thiele admits.
His wife was a member of the Tokio Lutheran Mission. He was baptized in the Episcopal Church and his family went to the Presbyterian Church. In 1985 they moved to Peever, SD on his reservation and he became involved with the Dakota Christian and Missionary Alliance.
They returned to the Tokio area in 1987 and he got to know Pastor Ernie Johnson of the Tokio Lutheran Mission. He went to Bible studies under Johnson and committed his life to Christ.
When Johnson left, Thiele, his brother-in-law and his cousin became lay pastors and conducted services when there was no pastor. That was quite a bit. From 1992 to 2002 there were only three pastors serving the congregation, each for about a year.
In 2002 Thiele became a synod-authorized Lutheran minister and he’s been doing that work full time since.
He’s also had other jobs as well. Prior to 2002 he worked for the tribe’s Youth Healing and Wellness Center dealing with adolescent addictions. He’s been a member of the Warwick School Board since 1995. That’s 12 years of a tough job. "Yes, there are some challenges to being a school board member, but when those challenges are successfully met, there are rewards as well," Thiele says.
The church, which was built in 1995, is located about a mile south of Tokio. It isn’t anything fancy, but certainly adequate. The main worship room has removable pews so it can be used for many purposes. Activities for children are often held there. The Drug and Alcohol Prevention Services of the Spirit Lake Nation also has an office in the church building. Lisa Burdick is the local coordinator.
Just before this interview Thiele had a meeting with Curt and Deb Hanson of Maddock to discuss ways to curb underage drinking on the reservation.
Children from the Mayville Conference of the Lutheran Church come to Dakota Oyate to learn about the Indian people. "You’d be surprised at all the misconceptions people have about Indian people," Thiele says.
After his talk the Native American children and the children from off the reservation have activities together. "It’s a good learning process for everyone," he says.
The Dakota Oyate ministry is funded by the synod, the ELCA Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission Unit and its mission partners, First Lutheran Church in Fargo, Calvary Lutheran Church in Grand Forks and St. John’s Lutheran Church in Jamestown.
Thiele also holds a culture camp for children from the reservation for three to four days in June. The seventh camp is scheduled for this coming June. Thiele arranges for tribal elders to come and teach Native American culture to the children. They also get a grounding in Christianity.
One of the innovations of his ministry is the van which is used to take parishioners to medical facilities in Fargo, Minot and Grand Forks. One cancer patient has been provided a weekly 320-mile round trip since mid-December of 2006. A lupus patient received three 180-mile round trips for treatment. A family living in Dallas, Tex. needing transportation back to North Dakota received a van ride. The van is a year old and it already his 60,800 miles on it. The van is also used to pick up children in the Tokio-St. Michael area for the Wednesday evening youth ministry at the church.
Thiele and his wife have three daughters and a six-year-old son. Two of the daughters attend Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten and the third daughter works at the Spirit Lake Nation Boys and Girls Club site at Wood Lake.
Dakota Oyate’s place in all this said Thiele, "is to demonstrate Christ’s love, planting seeds of hope, which is accomplished in any way that’s feasible."
Larry Thiele stands in front of the altar at the Dakota Oyate Lutheran Church near Tokio. Thiele is a synod-authorized Lutheran minister and he’s on the track to full ordination.
Williams promoted to USAF Lt. Colonel
Maddock native Paul N. Williams has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force.
He is the son of Rodger and Marie Williams of Maddock and the brother of Mark Williams, also of Maddock, and Annie Bergrud of Menoken.
LTC Williams was promoted December 3 at a ceremony near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. Colonel Kimberly Sievers presided over the ceremony that included his parents, who pinned on their son’s lieutenant colonel silver oak leaves — just as they had his lieutenant gold bars nearly 16 years ago — along with his wife, Maria.
LTC Williams serves as chief of Global Force Management for the Joint Functional Component Command Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JFCC-ISR), part of the US Strategic Command, and is currently stationed at Bolling AFB in Washington, DC. He is a master intelligence officer and USAF Weapons School graduate and has deployed numerous times to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
LTC Williams graduated from Maddock High School in 1988 and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1992 from the US Air Force Academy. He earned a master’s degree in military history in 2003 from the American Military University and an additional master’s degree in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College in 2006.
LTC Williams graduated from the USAF Intelligence Officers course at Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Tex. in 1993 and was stationed at Castle AFB near Merced, Calif. until 1994. From there he was stationed at Hickam AFB in Honolulu, Hawaii from 1994 to 1997 before accepting a one-year remote assignment to Osan AB in South Korea. While stationed in South Korea he was selected to attend the USAF Weapons School and graduated in 1998. Following graduation, he was stationed at Shaw AFB in Sumter, SC from 1999 to 2002. His following assignment was at Langley AFB in Hampton, Va. from 2002 to 2004. In 2004 he was assigned to the USAF Headquarters and has been in the Washington, DC area since that time.
The lieutenant colonel and his wife have a son, Jackson, and currently live in North Arlington, Va.
The Williams family is pictured at the promotion of Paul Williams to US Air Force lieutenant colonel. Left to right are an unidentified US Air Force officer, Rodger and Marie Williams of Maddock, LTC Paul Williams and his wife, Maria holding son Jackson.
Beth Horner to make eighth trip to contest
The 60th annual ND Make It With Wool contest was held November 30 and December 1 in conjunction with the ND Lamb and Wool Producers convention at the Seven Seas Inn in Mandan. Creative and energetic contestants from across the state competed for the four ambassador positions. Each contestant took home a length of Pendleton wool and numerous other prizes that included various wool yardage, gift certificates, books, sewing notions and sewing machines.
The Make It With Wool contest was started 1937 with the purpose to promote the beauty and versatility of American wool fabrics and yarns. The contest is a fashion, sewing and presentation competition. It is open to all North Dakota residents. The contest encourages personal design in sewing, knitting and crocheting and recognizes creative skills. Contestants must select, construct and model their own garments made of at least 60% wool in front of a panel of judges.
MacKenzie Ness of Devils Lake was chosen as the preteen ambassador. The preteen division is composed of individuals under the age of 13. She won a Janome sewing machine sponsored by Blow’s Sew-N-Vac of Fargo, a plaque sponsored by the North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers, Pendleton wool yardage and several other prizes. The preteen division does not advance to national competition. Mariah Billadeau of Parshall was named alternate.
The senior division is for individuals ages 17-24. Chosen as senior ambassador was Beth Horner of Fargo. Beth won a plaque sponsored by the North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers, Pendleton wool yardage and several other prizes. She will travel to Las Vegas and represent North Dakota at the National Make It With Wool contest. This is Beth’s eighth experience representing North Dakota at the National Make It With Wool competition.
Winning the Creative Award was Beth Horner. This award is given to the overall contestant that has outstanding workmanship, creativity or unique embellishment.
Next year’s contest is already in the planning stages. It will be held again in conjunction with the North Dakota Lamb and Wool Producers convention. Now is the time to start thinking about the wonderful use of wool. For more information and for an entry form to next year’s competition, contact Jane Horner, ND Make It With Wool Director, 7906 Highway 20, Starkweather, ND 58337 or check out the Web site at www.NDLWPA.com under the MIYWW button.
MacKenzie Ness is the daughter of Jon and Kim Ness of Devils Lake and granddaughter of Oscar and Shirley Byron of Edinburg and Dorothy Ness and the late Francis Ness of St. Vincent, Minnesota.
Beth Horner is the daughter of Dick and Jane Horner of Starkweather, formerly of Graham’s Island, and the granddaughter of Pete and Rose Horner of Napoleon and Esther Augustin and the late Milton Augustin of Crystal.
Beth Horner, left, and MacKenzie Ness model the outfits they made for the Make it With Wool Contest.
Leeds native earns doctorate
Cara Mitzel graduated from the UND School of Medicine with a doctor’s degree in physical therapy on December 14. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree with a major in physical therapy in May of 1994 and received her master’s degree in physical therapy in May of 1995 from UND.
She is employed by Altru Health Systems Outreach Rehabilitation Services. She is located at the Altru Clinic in Devils Lake, where she provides outpatient physical therapy services.
Cara is the daughter of John Jr. and Marilyn Conway of Leeds. She and her husband, Cory, reside in Devils Lake and have four children, C.J. (10), Cullen (7), Cherstin (4), and Carlee (1).
There will be an open house to celebrate Cara’s graduation on January 19 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Devils Lake Knights of Columbus Hall in Devils Lake.
Dr. Cara Mitzel is pictured at her graduation with her family. On the right is her husband, Cory Mitzel and their children, CJ, Cullen, Cherstin and Carlee.
Dr. Cara Mitzel is pictured at her graduation with her parents, John Jr. and Marilyn Conway of Leeds.
Red Ribbon Week
Students Amber Bracken and Michael Tufte, representing the Teens Against Tobacco Use Committee, planned activities for students at the Leeds School for Red Ribbon Week Activities. All students participated in lessons emphasizing living a drug-free life. Kindergarten and first grade students are shown with Bracken and Tufte learning a lesson on "Identifying and Expressing Feelings," with discussion related to saying no to the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
Benson County Sheriff Steven Rohrer relates to students in grades 7-12 about DUI laws in North Dakota and consequences of underage drinking and driving.
Challenge issued to civic and youth groups in Maddock Community
The "Young at Heart" Restaurant at the Maddock Memorial Home is seeking a group that would like to come and serve the monthly restaurant-style breakfast to our residents. The next breakfast will be from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
The Active Women of Maddock, the Red Hat ladies from Maddock Cafe and Lanes, the Bethany Church Women and Youth Group and the Farm and Home Improvement 4-H Club have all taken a turn and it has been a real success. The goal of the morning is for residents to have new faces from the community to visit with.
When serving is done, everyone that has helped is welcome to sit down for breakfast themselves. To answer the challenge contact the Memorial Home at 438-2641. The "Negative Table" from the Maddock Cafe and Lanes has been a suggestion!
The Maddock Cafe and Lanes Red Hat ladies served the "Young at Heart" Restaurant at the Memorial Home. Pictured, left to right, are Bernie Kanzleman, Deb Jacobson, Bernice Aanderud, Tish Gilbertson, Jean Mosser, Sharon Wood and Wanda Terpening.
Students send cards and flag
The Warwick kindergarten class is pictured with Debra Bertsch, right, a member of the VFW Auxiliary 756 of Devils Lake. Mrs. Bertsch, a librarian paraprofessional at the Warwick School, discovered that the class had adopted Senior Airman Rebecca Gutierrez, who is serving in Iraq. She brought musical greeting cards to be mailed to "Soldier Becky" along with a US Flag which Soldier Becky can carry in her pocket. The flag is folded and placed in a plastic bag with the following on it: "God Bless You and America. A flag for your pocket so you can always carry a little piece of home! We are praying for you and we are proud of you! Thank you for defending our country and our freedom! Presented to you by VFW Ladies Auxiliary 756." Seated in front are Klint Georgeson, Julian Hill, Warren Greene, Mary Jane Cavanaugh and Kalem Jackson. Standing, left to right, are David Mandan, Diego Lufkins, Mallory DeMarce, Mariah Redfox, Brielle Ramirez, Kansas Cavanaugh, Jackson Delorme, Sarah Anderson, Kary Georgeson and Debra Bertsch.
Hoop shoot winners
Winners of the Elks Hoop Shoot contest from Leeds were ages 8-9, left to right, Lane Ritterman, Grace Nybo, Kaylee Lybeck and Garrett Johnson.
Winners in the ages 10 and 11 category were Jessica Peterson, Taryn Bjerke, Mathias Follman and Cameron O’Brien.
Winners in the ages12 and 13 category were Chelsi Olson, McKenzie Silliman, Seth Bisbee and Brady Stoll.