Hettinger Lutheran Church welcomes new pastor

Just last week, the Hettinger Lutheran Church welcomed a new pastor into town. Originally from India, Pastor Selva Periannan and his wife, Leema Rosy, moved to Hettinger from Kenmare, North Dakota to serve at the Lutheran Church.
Before working as a pastor, Selva was a priest with the Catholic Church for 29 years, working in various places across world. In 2004, Selva traveled to North Dakota after receiving a call from the bishop of the Bismarck Diocese.
For years, Selva stayed in North Dakota, serving St. Agnes Catholic Church in Kenmare, St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Donnybrook, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Bowbells.
It was only just recently in June that Selva completed his transition from the Catholic Church to the Lutheran Church. Selva said that he changed denominations to “serve people in freedom and joy.”
“I was struggling to decide where to go after being a priest for many years,” said Selva. “I prayed to God to show me the way.”
Selva said that he didn’t know much about the Lutheran Church before becoming a pastor. It was only after talking to his neighbor who was a Lutheran pastor that Selva learned more about the Lutheran denomination.
“My neighbor set a foundation,” he said. “Then, I began my transition to becoming a Lutheran pastor.”
After 18 months of training, internships, and online studies, Selva officially became a fully-fledged pastor in late June. Then, after hearing the need for a Lutheran pastor, Selva and his wife moved to Hettinger.
Already, Selva preached at the Lutheran Church. Overall, he said people were receptive to his message.
“People were very happy to have us,” said Selva. “We are so fortunate and blessed to be here.”
Selva said that his personal philosophy as a pastor focuses more on the “practical and existential.”
“My style is practical – not mystical,” said Selva. “It’s very modern and down to earth. I’m preaching the gospel for day-to-day life. That’s more effective”
He continued, “There’s no use talking in the air. The message has to reach people, communicate, and bring life. That’s my passion.”
Looking forward, Selva said that he and his wife are excited to take part in community events, including bingo.
“I look forward to continuing my ministry as a pastor and serving the local community,” said Selva, “especially in spiritual connection.”

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