Husband and wife are new pastors at First Lutheran

Claudia Loucks
The Rev. Laura Kamprath, left, and her husband, the Rev. Matthew 
Kamprath are co-pastors at First Lutheran Church, in Geneseo.

The Rev. Matthew Kamprath and his wife, the Rev. Laura Kamprath, have been called to serve at First Lutheran Church in Geneseo.

The husband and wife team, referred to as Pastor Matt and Pastor Laura by their congregation, arrived in late November after the Geneseo church had been without a full-time pastor for more than a year. They have a 3-year-old daughter, Anna.

Both pastors find being a part of people’s journey of faith as most rewarding.

The Rev. Laura Kamprath finds it most rewarding to be able to with people throughout their life and faith journeys. “I get to baptize babies, visit the dying, teach teenagers about faithful living, celebrate with couples preparing to be married and study scripture with people of all ages,” she said.

The couple works as a pastoral team at First Lutheran to cover preaching and presiding, teaching, staff leadership and volunteer coordination, pastoral visits, baptisms, weddings and funerals and everything that comes to them in the day to day life of the congregation.

The Rev. Laura Kamprath was in high school when she felt prodded to consider ordained ministry. “The saints of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (Champaign), St. Matthew Lutheran Church (Urbana), and Grace Lutheran Church (Champaign), as well as my parents, helped shape my faith as I grew and they also helped me respond to the call to ordained ministry.

“As a student at Augustana College, my faith was nurtured and my call was affirmed by my professors, particularly in the religion department; the campus ministry staff, and the Center for Vocational Reflection,” she said.

When she entered seminary, Rev. Kamprath said she was surrounded by a vey supportive community of peers and mentors who reflected God’s love in Christ.

“My academic advisor, Dr. Kurt Hendel, and my internship supervisor, the Rev. Jane Halpern, were both influential as I developed my own pastoral identity,” she said.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in religion from Augustana College, in Rock Island; master of divinity degree from Lutheran School of Theology, in Chicago; and was ordained January 2011 at Grace Lutheran Church, in Champaign.

The Rev. Matt Kamprath graduated from Henry Ford II High School, in Sterling Heights, Mich.; earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from Quincy University, in Quincy; master of divinity degree from Lutheran School of Theology, in Chicago; and was ordained Jan. 16, 2011.

His father, the Rev. Thomas R. Kamprath, also is pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and serves four congregations in north central Kansas.

He said his call to the ministry began in his youth, but did not fully blossom until he was in his 20s.

“At college and seminary, I was mentored by some amazing people who helped to show me how God was working in my life. I am forever grateful for their passion, direction and help.”

Before coming to First Lutheran in Geneseo, the couple served as co-pastors at St. Luke Lutheran Church, in Campbell Hill, for two years. The Rev. Matt Kamprath then became solo pastor at St. Luke Church for the next four years, and his wife accepted a call to the congregations of the Wartburg Parish, where she served for four years,

“My primary pulpits were St. John Lutheran Church in Campbell Hill and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Steeleville,” she said.

They will work together at First Lutheran in Geneseo where services are at 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sundays.