In a special service, held just prior to ILC’s annual Christmas concert on December 16, 1994, the Rev. John K. Pfeiffer was installed as Professor of Theology and Social Studies at Immanuel Lutheran College and Seminary, Eau Claire, Wis. The service was conducted by the Rev. Michael Sydow, Secretary of the Board of Regents. Pastor Sydow’s address was titled: “You Are on the Road Crew for God’s Highway.”
Prof. Pfeiffer was one of seven children born to Pastor David and Adele (nee Gullerud) Pfeiffer. Born near Boyd, Minn., he spent most of his childhood in the small southwestern Minnesota town of Cottonwood. He moved with his family to Arlington, Mass. (suburb of Boston) when he was 13. He graduated from Arlington High School in 1958 and attended Massachusetts State University for one year, majoring in “Wild Life Management” (preparation for his new occupation?) before the Lord let him to follow his father, grandfather, and two uncles into the ministry.
He enrolled at ILC while it was still located in Mankato, Minn. and was involved in the preparation of, and move to, the new campus in Eau Claire. It was there that he met his future wife, Barbara, daughter of Pastor and Mrs. L. W. Schierenbeck. He graduated from the Seminary Department in 1967, but did not receive an assignment at that time. He served as campus caretaker until July, when he accepted the call to serve as Assistant Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Mankato.
In June 1968 he was united in marriage with Barbara, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Austin, Minn. Little did they know that they would return some 16 years later as pastor and wife. He and Barbara made their home in Mankato for one year, during which she filled in on a part-time emergency basis at Immanuel Lutheran Grade School and he completed his second year there as Assistant Pastor.
In June 1969 they moved to Valentine, Neb. where they served Grace of Valentine and Immanuel of Thedford for the next 4 1/2 years. It was there that they were blessed with the birth of their oldest daughter, Sara, who is now completing her final year of the elementary education program at ILC.
In January 1974 they moved to Hales Corners, Wis. (suburb of Milwaukee) where they served Messiah congregation for 10 1/2 years. During this time the family grew with the blessed additions of Nathan (now a senior at ILC High School), Rachel (a sophomore), and David (a 7th grader at Messiah Lutheran Grade School in Eau Claire).
In July 1984 they found themselves returning to Austin, where they served St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and Christian Day School until November 1994, when the Lord let Pastor Pfeiffer to accept the call to joint he faculty of Immanuel Lutheran College. There he will be teaching seminary classes in Old Testament studies, college classes in Hebrew and Social Studies, and high school classes in Religion.
A part of the Pfeiffers’ hearts has been left in all of the congregations which they have been privileged to serve during the past 27 1/2 years. The special bond that forms between a pastor and his congregations is one of the unique blessings of the pastoral ministry that the entire family will miss! Thanks be to God, that elastic bond of fellowship is firmly intact and still stretches over all those miles and all those years and now has grown to include the students, faculty, and staff of ILC, as well as the members of Messiah Lutheran congregation in Eau Claire.
After eight years of sending their children AWAY for the most important benefits of a Christian education, John and Barbara now have welcomed them back into their on-campus home and enjoy the best of both worlds. In looking at the Lord’s guiding hand in the life of this new professor and his family, it is interesting to note how He has worked out their lives so that things seem to be ending up where they all began!
— ILC News Item