By DAWNE LEIKER
The Presbytery of Northern Kansas will install the Rev. Celeste Lasich as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon.
The installation will be at 3 p.m. at the church, 2900 Hall Street, with a reception to follow.
Area clergy are invited to wear their regale and join in the processional.
For the last nine years, Lasich served as pastor for Christ United Presbyterian Church, Marshall, Minn. There, the congregation of more than 200 served the local community through "Esther's Kitchen," the church's free weekly community meal. In 2012, more than 4,000 meals were served with support from more than 250 community volunteers.
Although she said Kansas was not where she originally envisioned herself living, Lasich said she has been continually assured with "total yeses."
"Yes, this place," she said in a Wednesday morning interview in the front pew of the FPC. "Yes, this time.
"Yes, this call ... In my tradition and in my training, I've come to believe and trust that calling of the Holy Spirit and to learn to listen and learn that it's not a good idea to argue with God."
While doing a Skype interview with FPC's pastor nominating committee during the pastor selection process, Lasich said she found the committee members to be "delightful."
"At the end of our conversation, I just had such a sense of ... I just like these people," she said. "I like their energy.
"I appreciate their passion, their commitment, their love for this church and its people. And I really had a sense that what they were looking for were the kinds of gifts and skills that are most natural for me."
Born and raised in Marquette, Mich., Lasich is a fourth-generation "Yooper," a resident of the upper peninsula. She has been married to Dennis Wilson, owner of Amish Crafted Furniture Ltd. for 24 years. They have a son, John, and have been foster parents for 10 teens through the juvenile court system.
Before entering the ministry, Lasich was a medical services case manager, vocational rehabilitation specialist and employability specialist for Marquette County.
She has initiated and served with a number of outreach ministries throughout the years.
As an associate pastor in Tracy, Calif., where she served from August 2001 to January 2004, Lasich formed the "Help Thy Neighbor" project to assist elderly and low-income residents to stay in their homes with assistance from church volunteers. She also was active with "Kids Night Out," another outreach ministry that provided a safe place and community connections for new families.
Pastor nominating committee chairman Patrick Scott said Lasich was the "perfect choice" for FPC.
"As someone who has attended this church for over 50 years, I can honestly say that I have never seen the people at FPC so excited about our pastor and our future," he said. "Celeste will be one of the finest pastors we've ever had.
"Her spirit-led enthusiasm is just what our church needed."