Rev. Galan D. Walther began serving the Michigan District, LCMS in 1999 as Congregation Mission and Ministry Facilitator (CMMF) / Family Life Ministries under President C. William Hoesman. His first official District event was the All Pastors conference in October, 1999—and so was his last, in October, 2021.
Walther hails from Jefferson City, Mo. He received his M.Div. from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. in 1980 and an M.A. from Concordia River Forest in 1991. He served as Assistant Pastor at Trinity, St. Joseph, then at Trinity, Sheboygan, Wisc., becoming the Senior Pastor there in 1997 before joining the District staff. He is married to Barbara J. Keathley and they were blessed with two children and three grandchildren.
At the time Walther started working for the District, CMMFs were assigned churches according to their size. He became responsible for the mid-size churches (200-350 members). The division of the District into zones is more recent, and Walther says this change was good because, as time went on, the size difference seemed not to be as important as the area and what’s happening in the community. He says, “It seemed to make sense for one CMMF to connect with all churches in the community. That was a positive change for connecting congregations together.” Walther became the CMMF for the Southwest and Thumb zones.
When asked whether anything stood out to him during his 22 years of ministry in the District, he said, “There’s been ups and downs as in every cycle, the latest of which was Covid … there was the recession in the mid-2000s, when a lot of folks left Michigan for employment in the South and a lot of churches took a hit because of families leaving. There’s been some recovery, but the shift in society has probably had the biggest impact that I’ve observed, especially in recent years: the attitude towards all things spiritual, the place of importance that the church once had—at least perceived—and which is no longer there. In the churches, the declining of membership has forced some to re-evaluate how they carry out their ministries, becoming more intentional, seeking to connect with people rather than waiting for people to come to them. That’s a change that has been slowly and increasingly embraced.”
Walther and his wife Barb are moving to Wisconsin to be near family. Walther plans to take it easy for a while, unpack boxes, sort through his things, and then most likely connect with opportunities for ministry. He adds that his daughter’s pastor already has plans for Walther to help him out. Walther says he remains open to see what God’s plan is.
Michigan District, LCMS President Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier shares: “When I knew I was elected president, I anticipated working with Galan because I had known him from the Board of Directors and also from working together on a few projects. What I imagined was all the more true. He has a great heart for people, gently working through the most difficult of concerns and problems, yet always with a focus on Christ crucified and risen. I would also have to say that probably, by far, he put the most annual miles on a District vehicle than anybody else in the building. His care and concern, humility, love for the Lord, and perseverance will be greatly missed. I do wish him and Barb years of joy with their family in the Milwaukee area and as he continues to serve vibrantly, as the Lord will surely use him in Wisconsin.”
When asked if he had any parting words for the Michigan District, Walther said, “Remain People of Hope. Remain focused on Jesus, the greatest Gift proclaimed by the angels—to you is born a Savior—and pronounced by angels—He is not here; he is risen. Keep focused on Him and serving people in His name. Let your light shine.”
Congratulations and God’s blessings, Galan!
Photos by Elisa Schulz/Michigan District, LCMS