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St. Stephen bids farewell to Pastor Rich Kogler

FALLBROOK — On Sunday, March 1, Pastor Rich Kogler will be completing 15 years of service as pastor of St. Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church, School and Preschool. He has served the congregation since October of 1993.

During the years, the congregation grew its K-8 grade school program, added the preschool, Little Ark Learning Center, and completed a building project that added office space, classrooms for upper grades and preschool.

Pastor Kogler grew up in North St. Paul, MN. He attended Northwestern College, Watertown, WI, graduating with a BA in 1971; and went on to graduate from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, WI, with a Masters in Divinity in 1975.

In 1984 the Koglers moved to Yucaipa, CA, where he served as pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. In 1993, Pastor Rich moved the family to Fallbrook and began his service at St. Stephen.

For the past 15 years Pastor Kogler has also served as the Vice-Chairman of the Board for Ministerial Education of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, based in Milwaukee, WI.

“Thank you to all of our Fallbrook friends and the families we have come to know and love,” says Pastor Rich. “It has been a pleasure working with church and school families, community business owners and leaders over the years.

“We pray that our gracious heavenly Father will bless the ministry of St. Stephen and make his face shine on the community.

“Jana and I will miss the small-town atmosphere of Fallbrook, the friendliness of its citizens as well as the great weather.”

Mrs. Kogler continues her service as kindergarten teacher at St. Stephen Lutheran School. The couple feels blessed by having lived in Fallbrook, where they raised their five children, Nate, Christina, Peter, Katherine and Elizabeth.

The congregation will be observing “Celebration of Grace Sunday” on March 1. Pastor Kogler will be preaching his last sermon as pastor in the morning service at 9:30.

In a 4 p.m. service, the church will be remembering 36 years as a congregation, 28 years with a school (K-8), six years with Little Ark Learning Center and 15 years of service by Pastor Kogler.

Rev. Dave Valleskey, former WELS Seminary President, will be preaching. A potluck, hosted by the Ladies’ Guild will follow.

For more information, call (760) 728-6814.

Pastor Kogler will be moving on to pursue other ministry opportunities in the Lutheran Church.


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