Congregation celebrates pastor of 15 years last day in Salem

Joe Mitchell and the two scrap books of his 15 years at Salem United Methodist Church that were presented to him Sunday.

Joe Mitchell and the two scrapbooks of his 15 years at Salem United Methodist Church that were presented to him Sunday.

The congregation at Salem United Methodist Church said good-bye today to their pastor of the last 15 years — Joe Mitchell.

Mitchell has been reassigned to pastor at two churches in Sturgeon Bay, Door County. He will be succeeded at Salem UMC by Grace Cajiuat, who officially takes over July 1.

With a stay that long the congregation obviously had grown attached to Mitchell and his family, which was clear as he led his last service this morning.

After the end of the service, church groups presented Mitchell and his wife, Ricki, with several gifts, including two scrapbooks of his years here which was put together by Sue Grulich, a hardcover book capturing the 15-year history of  The Twelve project and a signed oar commemorating boundary waters trips.

The climax was the presentation of a quilt that church families contributed squares to. Mitchell said he was ┬ámoved by the gift that would provide many memories of Salem people and which also might come in handy in the familiy’s new — more northern — location.

“It’s nice in Door County between March and November,” Mitchell said. “After that it’s just plain cold.”

Ricki and Joe Mitchell, right, look over a quilt that church families at Salem United Methodist Church made for the couple. Joe Mitchell, who had been pastor of the church for 15 years before being reassigned, led his last service at the local church Sunday. Presenting the quilt are Kim Ouwkerk and Marcie Schultz.

Ricki and Joe Mitchell, right, look over a quilt that church families at Salem United Methodist Church made for the couple. Joe Mitchell, who had been pastor of the church for 15 years before being reassigned, led his last service at the local church Sunday. Presenting the quilt are Kim Ouwkerk and Marcie Schultz.

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