The Rev. Bill Cate will offer his last service at First Lutheran Church in Salida on June 16.
He and his wife, Paula, will leave at the end of the month to relocate in the Spring Lake/Grand Haven, Michigan, area to be nearer to their daughter and son, their spouses and three grandchildren.
“I call it repurposing – not retiring,” Cate said. “I’m making a transition from parish ministry to part-time assignments in two congregations in the Spring Lake/Grand Haven area.”
He’s also training to become a financial coach master trainer with Financial Peace University, the Dave Ramsey organization, as a side venture. Through this work he’ll be helping people get out of debt.
The Cates came to Salida from Temecula, California, in December 2013, when he replaced Rev. Clare Skov as pastor of First Lutheran. He was administrative pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Temecula.
Prior to that he worked in commercial industrial sales after serving 20 years active duty in U.S. Air Force Security Police, retiring as a master sergeant. In 2015 he celebrated his 10th anniversary of ordination.
While serving as pastor in Salida, he changed the communion schedule to weekly rather than every other week and established New Possibilities, a program for parents of addicts, which ended when most of the participants had resolved their situations.
“That concept was something we learned in California,” Cate said.
Another project he said he was pleased about starting during his tenure is the Kids First Literacy Program, which was Paula’s idea and involved volunteer tutors working with kids to improve reading skills.
With Cate leaving, the church has two possibilities for the future. The congregation is deliberating on having Faith Lutheran Church’s pastor from Buena Vista become pastor of both churches, or if that doesn’t happen, a search will begin through Rocky Mountain District of Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
“I entered the ministry not knowing where God would lead me, but I was willing to follow,” Cate said. “After focusing on the needs of the three congregations I have served, I believe he is now telling me to turn my attention to the needs of my family.
“As I do so, my ordination vows still stand; I will continue to serve God and his church but in a different capacity. My prayer for the people of First Lutheran Church is that they continue to grow in their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ no matter who he sends to be their pastor.”