With the distinct Faith Lutheran altar in the background, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Bishop Bill Tesch, left, during the Jan. 10 ordination of Faith’s new pastor, Rev. Alex Ohman.
The young minister was called to Faith in mid December.
Two Pelican Rapids Lutheran ministers, during the ordination ceremony Jan. 10. Trinity Lutheran Pastor Eric Schwirian, right, and newly ordained—and new Faith Lutheran pastor, Alexander Ohman.
Assembled as a group following the ordination of Rev. Alexander Ohman, at Pelican’s Faith Lutheran Church are Lutheran clergy from the area and statewide. Among them: Deacon Daniel Stauffer, Trinity Pastoral assistant Allen Westby, Bishop Bill Tesch, Rev. Ohman, Faith interim pastor Sarah Dille, and Rev. Jean Ohman, United Lutheran, Elbow Lake.
Back row, Central Lutheran Rev. Phil Tobin, ELCA synod official Rev. John Olson, Trinity Rev. Eric Schwirian, Rev. Dave Adams, Concordia College, and Rev. Salim Kaderbhai, Zion Lutheran on Franklin Lake.

Clergy from around region on hand for Rev. Ohman ceremony at Pelican’s historic Faith Lutheran

Rev. Alexander Ohman

There was a time that Alex Ohman contemplated a future as a Catholic priest. 

Instead, he followed a similar, but Protestant, path and became a Lutheran minister. His ordination was Jan. 10, surrounded by other Lutheran clergy and parishioners at his new—and first—church, Faith Lutheran in Pelican Rapids. 

With connections and family roots in the Pelican-Lake Lida area, Ohman’s first pastoral call after graduating at Luther Seminary is at a church that also has deep historic roots. 

His first worship service was Dec. 16 at Faith; the church the magnificent, landmark clocktower on Highway 59. His formal ordination was the final detail in the process. And it was concluded as soon as Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Bishop Bill Tesch was able to schedule the service, which turned out to be an uncommon, Monday ordination. 

In addition to the Bishop, numerous local and area Lutheran ministers were on hand—and layed hands on Rev. Alexander Ohman, at the service. 

A Lutheran basically from birth, Ohman completed high school at St. Cloud Cathedral, where a priest-faculty member was a “strong influence on me…I even considered being a Catholic priest.” 

“There are two types of calls, internal and external,” said Ohman, who earned his undergraduate at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. “A number of people commented ‘you would make a good pastor’…including my mentor, who was a Catholic priest. That was the external call.” 

The “internal call” came when he was at Luther Seminary. And it was a call that ultimately led to the Pelican Rapids lakes area. 

His father, John Ohman, has been a Lida area property owner and Pelican business owner. John’s wife, and Alex’s step mother is Rev. Jean Ohman, pastor at United Lutheran Chuch Elbow Lake, and she was among the visiting clergy for the ceremony. Alex has been a seasonal visitor to Lida his entire life. 

Yet another connection: Alex married Alyssa Berube, a 2011 Pelican high school graduate, in 2020. The couple is living in the Lida area. The Berube family was also in attendance for the ordination. 

“It’s a great day,” said Rev. Dave Adams, Concordia College, in his ordination message. With “more and more leaving pastoral service than joining….it’s definitely a great day.” 

Previous work experience has been in the areas of public service for Alex, including the Boy Scouts of America, where he served as an executive and development director; and with the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, as development director. 

“Speaking honestly,” Adams said the demand facing those in the ministry are “not easy.”

“This is a service not to be taken lightly…especially given the state of the nation and world today,” said Adams. He said that ELCA ministers have a responsibility to speak publicly in solidarity with the poor and oppressed…to deliver the weak and the needy from the hands of the wicked.” 

“Tall order” is how Adams described ministry today. “But you don’t do it alone…Jesus does this work with us.”

It has been barely a month since Ohman came to Faith Lutheran, which counts about 425 baptized members.

“The reception has been great…people are super welcoming here,” said Ohman. 

My impression is that the Faith congregation is very tight knit, yet welcoming to all…they care for each other a great deal,” said Ohman. 

While Bishop Tesch conducted the ordination ceremony, the music and the messages during service were in large part selected by Ohman. 

Two readings were from texts by the Rev. Howard Therman, who has been an influence on Ohman. 

Musically, Ohman’s Catholic influences were reflected with the selection of an Irish folk melody, “Star of the County Down,” with lyrics re-written for worship. The lyrics reflect the present challenges society and those in ministry face; but with optimism and assurances that “the world is about to turn.”

“The hungry poor shall weep, shall weep no more…Let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn.”