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Mission festival focus is on special

May 14, 2019 GMT

For its quarterly mission festival, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church will host the Rev. Joel Gaertner of the Lutheran Home Association this week to speak about Jesus Cares Ministries and lead worship services.

Gaertner will lead the Jesus Cares Ministries simplified worship service, “Worship at the Cross,” for the services. This is to give members and friends of St. Mark’s the opportunity to see this service and understand the ministry opportunity to reach out with the Gospel to people with special needs. The Bible verse on which the service will focus is Revelation 3:8.

Gaertner is a 1990 graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary and has served congregations in Florence, Kentucky, as well as Algoma and Fond du Lac. In each of those congregations he worked with people with special needs. Since September 2013 he has served as vice president of ministry for The Lutheran Home Association headquartered in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, and national director of Jesus Cares Ministries.


In that second role he works with the over 160 Jesus Cares programs across the country and in Malawi, Africa, where volunteers in congregations and Christian schools share the Gospel with people with special needs. Gaertner also serves as the chairman of the WELS Commission on Special Ministries, helping to guide and direct the various areas of work under that commission.

He and his wife, LuAnn, live in Cudahy. They have two grown children, one granddaughter and another granddaughter later this year.

Gaertner will speak in all services this week at St. Mark’s: Wednesday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday in the 7:30, 9 and 10:45 a.m. services. The church is located at the corner of Sixth and Jones streets in central Watertown, where parking is available nearby. Visitors are welcome.