After feeling moved by the Holy Spirit, filling out a lot of paperwork, and going through the calling process, Rev. Erin Bovendam, 42, has been called to Perham’s Calvary Lutheran Church as the church’s new lead pastor.

Bovendam was ordained at Luther Seminary in 2006. She said that she and her husband, Chris Mathison, who is also a Lutheran pastor, have been serving different congregations in McAlisterville, Pa. for the past 14 years.

“We have two boys one is in fifth-grade (Ben) and one is in seventh-grade (Henry ). We felt like now would be a good time to move them rather than when they got older,” Bovendam said.

Bovendam said that while she had never been to Perham before taking this call, she has lived in the area before. She spent her junior and senior high years in Bemidji, Minn, and still has family in the area. “We felt like we needed to be a little closer to our family,” she said.

Bovendam said Chris is taking a break but will be looking for a call after their family is settled into Perham and the school year. “With COVID and one of our kids is home learning for three days a week we felt like both of us getting a new call would probably be a bit challenging,” she said.

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Bovendam and her family moved to Perham in early September to start getting settled in before her call started. “We just love the community and I think we live close enough for our kids to walk to school,” she said.

With COVID-19 keeping Calvary from holding worship at full capacity and having to use TV and radio to include all member in weekly worship, Bovendam is having a different experience getting to know her new congregation. She said that getting to know them with their masks on in person and without the masks in virtual meetings is a challenge that she is working to overcome.

“I feel like Calvary is so intent on trying to show love and grace to one another, but also shows that beyond the building and faith community. I’m most excited to get to know these people, to be their pastor and walk alongside them living out our calling to follow Christ,” Bovendam said.