The congregation of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Forrest, celebrated the retirement of Pastor Corinne H. Blissard on July 29, 2018, with a Farewell Worship Service, card shower and brunch.
Corinne jokingly says she “graduated college on the 30 year plan,” graduating 30 years after graduating high school in Chicago. She attended South Suburban College in South Holland and Roosevelt University’s Chicago Musical College, graduating with a Music Education degree in 1992. She taught music in the Havana Public School District 126 for ten years and served as Senior Choir Director for Trinity Lutheran Church in Canton for nine years, before finally answering the call to ministry that had been nagging her since her teen years. She credits a sermon delivered by Pastor Paul Park and the hymn “Hark, the voice of Jesus Calling” as the final nudge that set her on the path to parish ministry.
She resigned her beloved teaching position in Havana to attend the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago from 2002 to 2006, studied CPE at Gundersen Hospital in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and did her internship under Rev. Carl Kramer at Grace Lutheran Church in West Point, Nebraska. In 2005, as she was about to enter her last year of classes at LSTC, she married her long-time friend, Rowe Blissard.
Corinne is the mother of four children, Janet (Tim) Kopischke, of Hammond, IN; Carol (Bob) Bollacker, of Midlothian, IL; Don (Haley) Koehler, of Melrose, WI; and Martha (David) Hampton, of Fort Wayne, IN; stepdaughter, Beverly (Brian) Koerner of Chatsworth, IL; and fourteen grandchildren ages 8-25.
Corinne was called to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Forrest, IL in July, 2006, and was ordained n September 30, 2006, though she began her ministry at St. Paul’s on August 1, 2006. St. Paul’s was her first and only call to parish ministry. “It has been a blessing to serve with and among this congregation for these twelve years,” she said. “This is a warm and welcoming family of faith, with a strong passion for mission and outreach, and today’s departure is bittersweet.”
Following the worship service, attended by Bishop S. John Roth, Assistant to the Bishop, Rev. Jim Reents, and many friends, family members, and former members, she was presented with a beautiful quilt made by the Piecemakers
(quilting circle) of St. Paul’s, a brick from the building, and many cards and gifts from friends and well-wishers, including a poster made by the youth that read:
“Our pastor is a Sweetarts for everything she does. She is always there to pick up the Reese’s pieces and answer our Whatchamacallits. Sometimes we act like Air Heads or Nerds from the Milky Way, but you’ve made a Mounds of difference in our lives. Thank you for getting us in Doublemint condition for heaven! And thanks for making us Smarties! You deserve 100 Grand every Payday! You will Always be in our hearts Now and Later. Love, St. Paul’s LYO” Corinne returns to life in the country with her farmer husband, planning to be available for pulpit supply in the near future.