On April 7, Rev. Neal Solomonson, center, was installed as pastor of Wilmington Lutheran Church. Shown, left to right, are Bishop James Arends of the La Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA, Pastor Solomonson and Pastor Steven Meyer of Immanuel Lutheran Church.
On April 7, Rev. Neal Solomonson, center, was installed as pastor of Wilmington Lutheran Church. Shown, left to right, are Bishop James Arends of the La Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA, Pastor Solomonson and Pastor Steven Meyer of Immanuel Lutheran Church.
On April 7, the Rev. Neal R. Solomonson was installed as pastor of Wilmington Lutheran Church, rural Spring Grove/Caledonia area.

The Rev. James Arends, bishop of the La Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA, conducted the installation and preached the sermon.

Pastor Steven Meyer of Immanuel Lutheran Church participated in the service as well.

Along with the Wilmington congregation, members of parish partner, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Caledonia, were also invited to attend the joint worship service, followed by a potluck noon meal and the opportunity for fellowship.

"Pastor Neal" as he likes to be addressed, has been an ordained minister for 27 years. He comes to Wilmington Lutheran Church after previously serving three small town and rural ELCA congregations in Iowa, and for the past nine years serving First Presbyterian Church in LeRoy, Minn.

His wife, Nancy, is also an ELCA pastor presently serving St. John's and Hauge Lutheran Churches north of Decorah, Iowa. The couple moved to the Decorah area in 2008 after purchasing their retirement home south of town.

Pastor Neal grew up on a farm near Lake Mills, Iowa. After graduating from Lake Mills High School, he went to Waldorf College in Forest City and Iowa State University, graduating with a BS in Agricultural Business.

He farmed near Lake Mills for a number of years before answering God's call to ministry by attending and graduating from Luther Seminary in St Paul.

A few years later, his wife, Nancy, also answered the same call and graduated from Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa.

Pastors Neal and Nancy have a son, Jeff, who lives in Houston, Texas.

Pastor Neal's first Sunday at Wilmington Lutheran Church was Feb. 17.

"I enjoy serving a Lutheran church again and am truly thankful for all the help and support from all the people of Wilmington, Immanuel in Caledonia, and the pastoral colleagues from the La Crosse Area Synod in welcoming me into this new call," Pastor Neal stated.