YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Pastor Paul Johnsen has stepped down from his leadership role at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Yorktown and is retiring from ministry after 41 years.
Johnsen, who began his ministry in Racine, Wis., was pastor of St. Andrew’s for 8-1/2 years before delivering his final sermon on Sunday, Aug. 1. St. Andrew’s, located on Crompond Road, has about a 500-member congregation.
“I enjoyed the people and their willingness to work together and their willingness to learn about one another,” Johnsen said. “I just enjoyed the gospel and also life together. It was like a community-building experience.”
Johnsen, who lived in a parsonage at St. Andrew’s, recently moved to Highland Lake in Sullivan County. While he is retired from active ministry, Johnsen said he will still fill in at churches when needed. He will also continue to teach a Bible class at Molloy College on Long Island.
He came to St. Andrew’s in 2008 after spending 25 years with a church in Glen Head in Nassau County. Before that, he spent seven years in Racine. He received a degree in English from Wartburg College in Iowa and then graduated from the Saint Paul Seminary in Minnesota.
Johnsen said he will miss the men’s and women’s groups at St. Andrew’s, which were both started during his tenure. He will also miss worship, the Bible study group and working with the youth groups.
“It’s all about relationships,” Johnsen said. “Relationship with God, relationship with people and relationship with the earth.”