The Rev. David Lieder stands outside his new parish Faith United Methodist Church.  Lieder began his appointment on June 30.  PAULA VAGTS/ SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
The Rev. David Lieder stands outside his new parish Faith United Methodist Church. Lieder began his appointment on June 30. PAULA VAGTS/ SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
It was his calling that brought him to southeastern Minnesota, but for the Rev. David Lieder, it is the sense of home that keeps him here.

His journey began in Iowa as the fourth of five children born to Lyle and Betty Lieder. His father is a retired United Methodist minister while his mother was, according to Lieder, "a homemaker, musician, a poet and a philosopher." As a child of a minister, he moved several times to the towns of Sioux City, Odebolt, Eagle Grove, Spencer and Mason City.

After graduating from high school in Mason City, he attended Morningside College where he eventually earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy, minoring in religion. Though Lieder says he did not feel particularly inclined to follow his father's footsteps after college he began to search for what it was he wanted out of life and what he valued in life.

"That was when I realized simply making money wasn't the thing that motivated me much," Lieder explained. "So when I started to look around at the bottom line, the most important things, suddenly I realized this thing I grew up in, the concept of loving, serving and supporting one another appealed to my philosophical understanding of how we are all in this thing together. And it kind of grew into, maybe ministry is the best thing for my life."

Since finding his calling, Lieder and his wife, Jan, whom he married in 1976 after meeting in college, moved to Clear Lake, Iowa, where he became a youth worker in the Clear Lake United Methodist Church.

After two years, they moved to Atlanta. This is where he began his seminary training though the Candler School of Theology. Just over a year later, they moved to Claremont, Calif., where he attended the Claremont School of Theology. He earned his master of divinity degree and then went on to complete his doctor of ministry degree.

Instead of returning to his home state, he chose to come to southeastern Minnesota, where he joined the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and in 1984 was appointed to the Racine and Sumner Center United Methodist Churches.

Shortly after their son, Philip, was born Lieder was appointed to the Fellowship United Methodist Church in Austin. He served there nine years before deciding to take a leave from the active ministry and was appointed to be on Honorable Location.

The decision was made with his family in mind. "We decided we really wanted to stay in this area. I remember moving around a lot when I was growing up because I was a preacher's kid and I didn't want that for my son." Lieder and his wife made point to make sure their son would be able to let his roots grow in one area, so they soon built the home north of Spring Valley that they reside in still today.

It was that sense of home that helped draw Lieder into his present appointment. After he came back into the ministry serving Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester, where he once again was able to work with the youth of the congregation, he was appointed June 30 to Faith United Methodist Church in Spring Valley and the Maple Leaf Parish, which includes the Cherry Grove and Fountain churches.

After Lieder and his wife met with the Staff Parish Relations Committees of Faith United and Cherry Grove the couple returned home both feeling a strong sense of coming home.

As for his goals during his appointment Lieder explained, "I don't see my role here as coming in and changing everything or making the church become anything as much as helping the church be who they want to be. I think our purpose is to be a place of acceptance for everyone, it doesn't matter who they are. Everyone should feel safe and cared for here."