PARIS – The Trinity ministry has become a duality.
Tom Myhre and Kim Marie, who have been married since 1990, began serving as the ministry at the Trinity Lutheran Church at the beginning of the month. They replace Tom Teichman, who served as minister from 1999 to 2006.
Both went to St. Olaf University in Northfield, Minn., as well as the Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. Despite what Kim calls “parallel life experiences,” she says the two did not know each other well until later in life.
Marie’s experiences include volunteer work with the United Nations in Thailand assisting refugees from the Pol Pot regime in neighboring Cambodia, as well as a period as a speaker with the Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation. She also spent time in Germany as a graduate assistant.
Myhre served as a pastor at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Twig, Minn., as well as an interim pastor at the Swiss Reformed Church in Meiringen, Switzerland.
Among the influences leading Marie to ministry work were the death of her father when she was 16 and her college experiences. She says the story of the Good Samaritan has also held great importance for her.
“I’ve always had an interest in the deep, inner life of people,” she says.
Myhre says his own path to the ministry “was kind of a gradual process.” He says he had a bad experience with the church when he was younger, because the minister was “kind of wacko.”
“I thought, ‘It doesn’t have to be like this,’ ” he says. “Faith had to make sense to me.”
They married in Switzerland and returned to the country after spending some time in Minnesota. They have three children.
In Switzerland, Myhre served as a co-pastor at the Swiss Reformed Church, as well as a teacher for a seventh-grade ethics and religions class. Marie also served as a teacher of religious studies, and became a member of an organization to help refugees who came to the country.
In 2001, Marie formed Yellow Basement English, which plans English immersion adventure trips for Swiss women to Snowbird Lodge in Harrison. Myhre also worked at the lodge on occasion, leading renewal seminars for dream analysis.
In November, the pair visited Maine for a seminar and learned of an opening in the area from a bishop at the New England Synod for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. According to Walter Leino, head usher at the Trinity Lutheran Church, the church had been looking for a new minister for a year.
“The pieces just fell into place,” says Marie.
By June they had moved to Maine, and on the first of July they gave their first service.
“People were very open and welcoming and we felt very at home,” says Myhre.
Myhre says that while “clergy couples” are not uncommon, he doesn’t believe such couples usually serve the same parish. The couple will be the 19th and 20th ministers that the church has had since 1914.
Myhre says he and Marie will not always preach together, and that the shared responsibilities will allow them more time for family and personal interests. Marie writes, while Myhre plays guitar and writes songs.
The couple hopes to hold an evening of music and poetry in the future in order to reach out beyond the church members.
“That’s our first priority,” says Myhre, “to make the rounds and get to know the people in the community.”
Myhre and Marie also hope to expand the church’s membership, continue to do good works, and offer the church as a resource.
“We’re not just here for ourselves,” says Marie. “We’re here to give.”