Zion Lutheran Church Celebrates Pastor Borhart’s 28 Years of Service

On December 16, Zion Lutheran Church’s congregation will gather for one final service led by their Senior Pastor of 28 years , Dr. Glen Borhart. Pastor Borhart had dedicated his life to ministry and education beginning with his own Christian education at Trinity Lutheran Church in Huntley, where he was raised. The 6th of 8 children with a faithful upbringing in a farming family, he didn’t decide on a pastoral career until his Freshman year in college. Pastor Borhart would complete a degree in Education at Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, IL. 

After graduation, he would marry his high school sweetheart, Dale Ann Nevel and move to Springfield so he could attend Concordia Theological Seminary, which would then relocate them to Fort Wayne, IN. They would welcome their first child, Jason, while there. The next move would take them to Clearwater FL for his vicarage year. An opportunity to learn sign language and working with the deaf at Rogate Lutheran Church would be skills he would use until this day. The last year of seminary training, a move back to Fort Wayne, IN would complete his ministry training and be called to serve at Rogate and be ordained on July 1, 1979. This service at Rogate would provide exceptional opportunities, as mentored by Pastor Frank Wagenknecht while supporting two churches, one traditional and one for the deaf. In September 1981 Pastor Borhart would baptize his second child, a daughter named Jessica (Jessi). Before departing Rogate an artist had been commissioned to create stained glass windows for the church depicting stories from the Bible. In one was Jesus on the cross, viewed from behind and above. Pastor would be the live model for the artist during design.

With young children and aging parents, the desire to move closer to “home” would make accepting the call at Zion Lutheran Church in Marengo that much easier. On December 9, 1990 would mark the first day of 28 years of service. Jason would begin Zion in 8th grade and Jessi in 4th grade. In reflection, Pastor Borhart has been blessed to have baptized 875 babies, children and adults. He would prepare and welcome 741 8th grade and 409 adult confirmands to the congregation, join 294 couples in Christian union (his granddaughter Ashley being the last November 17). Lay to rest 400 as they join their Lord and Savior in heaven.

Pastor Borhart is the longest serving pastor at Zion Lutheran Church. He has nurtured and supported his congregations with a kindness, patience and dedication that has touched so many and will endure for years to come.

Serving both a church and school has provided him a wide spectrum of functions to not only preach, but to teach. His experience in sign language has been a blessing for the children and congregation, as he has always found unique ways to share this method of communication. One of his favorite attributes of Zion has been the special services, including the Boar’s Head Festival.

Retirement will be a big change for Pastor Borhart, but the congregation is in great hands. Pastor Jonathon Ripke has been mentored by a great servant and will assume all pastoral duties. Looking forward to slowing down a little by working on his golf game, gardening and tending to his koi pond. Pastor will continue as a supportive member of the congregation, helping with his “Holy Scrap” project and other activities that support neighboring congregations. On behalf of the Zion congregation, past and present…thank you for lifting us up with your words, comforting us with your prayers and leading us with an unwavering commitment in faith.

Pastor Borhart’s final service will be held at 9:00 (only one service that day) December 16 with a reception following at 10:00 to celebrate a remarkable servant in ministry. For more information or to send a note, please contact Zion Lutheran Church of Marengo 815- 568-6564, 412 E. Jackson St.