Bidding a Loving Farewell to Deacon Sherie

May 15 - 20


Honoring 27 Years of Service

Sherie Kruse is that person everyone knows with the perpetual smile. Always paired with an attentive ear, a kind word, and the uncanny ability to make you feel like you’re the most important one in the room, she’s the person who never fails to make people feel better – that everything will be better – if they lean into their faith with confidence in Christ. The bonus? She adds a ton of fun to everything she does!

When Kruse, husband Jack and their two kids came to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in 1994, neither the members there nor Kruse herself knew the journey that was just beginning. With a degree in Special Education, she was naturally drawn to teaching Sunday School, and by summer 1997 was hired by the church to lead their Christian education program on a part-time basis. Kruse’s purview quickly expanded to include Vacation Bible School in summer and the youth confirmation ministry (“Journey”), then took another leap to full-time Education Director at OSLC when the pastor at the time accepted another call. With no permanent pastor on staff for the short term, Kruse stepped up to fill a critical need at OSLC, a theme that would resurface during her tenure there.

When the new pastor was eventually settled in, it was with his encouragement, and the support of a retired pastor who periodically filled in at the church, that Kruse made the decision to enroll in a course of study through the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America called Word and Service. Doing so would expand her skills and functions within the church, including, for example, the ability to preside over funeral services.

Kruse attended these classes for three years in a church basement on Bluemound Road with a dozen other students. She continued to teach at OSLC and lead the education program all while gaining further knowledge of historical scripture, how to best teach it, and becoming more versed in doctrine of the Old and New Testaments. Kruse was commissioned an Associate in Ministry of the ELCA, which later became known by the title of Deacon.

In the same way her responsibilities grew and developed as Education Director, Kruse’s role within this new title was also an evolution, sometimes with thoroughly unexpected paths. “I was doing better curriculum,” said Kruse, “and also given the opportunity to preach.” She recalled preparing for that inaugural sermon, briefly questioning herself, “Am I going to do this right?” Her fears were quickly put to rest, though, with the reminder of her theologic training and that she was among family with OSLC members.

During her years at OSLC, that very closeness and sense of family touched every member of the church through group worship and study as well as Kruse’s one-on-one ministry, often in profound, personal and lasting ways.

Kevin Peters, a member since 1992, thinks back on the high and lows that Kruse was there for with his family. “Sherie taught us to make the best Brussels sprouts,” Peters laughed. “We make them all the time!” She also showed up as powerful support during one of the family’s most difficult times, the loss of a young daughter. “The eulogy Sherie gave at my daughter’s funeral was amazing,” Peters said. “What a tough time. And her words were unbelievable! They will be etched until my heart beats no more. Then (after that), they’ll be on my life’s soundtrack for eternity.”

Kruse is known among the congregation as a ring leader of sorts for her fun activities, especially for the kids. Whether it’s strewing hundreds of eggs across the church lawn at Easter time, sitting in as BINGO caller for game night, leading a procession of Christmas carols at an outdoor tree lighting, or finding new and engaging ways for church youth to serve others, she can be found in middle of it. “No matter what she does, she makes it fun,” said Arline Rasmussen, past and current OSLC Council President. “Sherie taught me how building trust can lead to a friendship.”

Regardless of the capacity, Rasmussen continued, whether teaching Sunday School, as a parent with a child going through affirmations, sitting on a committee, or working closely with her on Council, “Sherie always reminded us to look at the whole picture, and encouraged us to pray because it’s in God’s hands; we are never alone.”

The COVID period was a difficult one for everyone, especially churches struggling to minister to their congregations, often remotely, and OSLC was no exception. They were, however, faced with the doubly-daunting task of doing so minus a head pastor. Once again, Kruse stepped in and stepped up to keep the congregation close. “From February 2020 to December 2021, Sherie was my rock!” Rasmussen exclaimed. “I had just been voted president of OSLC, we were looking for a full-time pastor to call OSLC their home, and COVID hit. It hit hard and was new for everyone! We received what seemed like daily notices from the Synod on how to handle this pandemic – it was rather overwhelming.”

Through it all, Rasmussen explained, Kruse was there encouraging, ever a reminder that God would see them through such a difficult time, urging the Council to do what was best for the whole, and always leading the group to pray and give their many challenges to God’s hands. “Waiting and praying for someone to answer our call (was difficult),” reflected Rasmussen. “Again, Sherie was my rock! Always calm and composed, I’m sure she worried, because she’s human, after all, but she never showed it.”

The church’s prayers for a new pastor were answered in December 2021 with the arrival of Pastor Jim Hearne. “From the first call, she was delightful,” said Hearne. “She was hope-filled, and her joy was contagious. Her steady presence and calm demeanor are a wonderful gift to me in the highs and lows of the ministry we face. She has really been a partner in faith.”

Hearne reflected that he will miss the simple moments he enjoys in the office with Kruse and Office Administrator Kelly Strosin, the laughter and jokes. Another fond memory was working with Kruse during the Ash Wednesday drive thru “ashing” the church offers each year. He recalled those in-between moments, waiting for folks to pop by on their way to or from work or errands. “It gave us a great chance to talk church, faith, family and life.”

Hearne’s wishes for Kruse in her retirement sum up an entire congregation’s wishes for their beloved Deacon: “I hope Sherie will now (have more time to) enjoy Jack, the kids and grandkids. We’re so grateful for your loving service and ministry you have offered through your years at OSLC. We will dearly miss you.”

In celebration of Kruse’s 27 years of service, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church will hold a special worship service on Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 9am. The service will be followed by a fellowship brunch. Community members touched by Sherie’s loving work at OSLC are invited to join the festivities.

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and welcomes all who wish to participate in worship, Bible study, youth confirmation, and local or worldwide outreach. Additional information may be found online at