Our Pastors


Pastor Janine Rew-Werling

Janine grew up in Mitchell, SD attending LCMS Wednesday school, Saturday school and Sunday school on a weekly basis. She graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls with majors in English and Journalism.  Jesus called this unlikely disciple while she was working for Citibank doing New Projects in the Marketing department.  She went to seminary with the dream of becoming a Youth/Family Counselor thinking that seminary would “offset” the secular PhD in Psychology she hoped to achieve.   Jesus had other ideas.

She was at Princeton Seminary for two years and went on internship in Wykcoff, NJ.  She loved parish ministry. She headed to LSTC in Chicago for her final “Lutheran” year and fell head over heels in love with Craig Werling and they thought it was a good idea to get engaged after 6 weeks of dating.  They graduated, got married and set off to tackle a new idea in parish ministry:  serving 4 rural congregations together.  They had so much fun, they thought having 3 kids would only make it more fun!

They were called to Milbank, SD thirteen years later to serve in a larger congregation together.  In  August of 2010, she left parish ministry to serve as Director of Development and Marketing for Volunteers of America, Dakotas.  She was sure that her days in the parish were over.  Jesus had other ideas.  In February of 2011, a small mission start asked her to supply preach.  In September of 2011, Hosanna Lutheran Church called her part time and two weeks later made it full time! Hosanna is now over 400 people and just moved into a new building in March of 2016.

Pastor Janine serves on the Board for Theology and Ministry of the LCMC Augustana District, and on the board of the Institute for Lutheran Theology (ILT).  She and her husband are also on the NALC clergy roster. Her professional interests include:  Youth and Family Ministries, Bible Study, Strategic Planning for Churches,Christian Counseling, Deaf Ministries, and  Stewardship.

Janine and Craig  have three children:  the oldest is married and a school counselor and is teaching in Bangkok, Thailand with her husband.  The middle one is graduated from college and is off in the workforce.  The baby is a freshman at Hillsdale College in Michigan.  Jesus has another idea about life and ministry as she is called with her husband to an “empty nest” and looks forward to the new adventure ahead!

Email Pastor Janine

Pastor N. Craig Werling

Pastor Craig-3I am very grateful and feel very blessed to join Hosanna Lutheran Church as a pastor with Janine. I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 22, 1956. My father was a high school teacher and coach, and my mother was a registered nurse. I am the oldest of five boys. I graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1979 (as a member of the last all-male class). In 1976 I had Radical Mastoidectomy surgery on my right ear for Cholesteatoma, and have subsequently had the same surgery several more times on both ears. Because of hearing loss, I need hearing aids and presently have a BAHA (Bone Augmented Hearing Assistance) hearing aid implanted behind my right ear. After the Armor Officer course, Airborne School and Ranger School I served in the First Armored Division in Germany for four years. I loved living there and did a great deal of traveling throughout Europe and even visited Israel. During that time God renewed a call to the ministry which I had first felt in Sunday School and Confirmation. I left active duty and entered the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 1984, with the plan to re-enter the military as an active duty Chaplain. I attended Chaplain school at Fort Monmouth New Jersey in the summers of 1986 and 1988, and spent two months in India in the winter of 1986. I met Janine Rew, an attractive transfer student to LSTC, in the fall of our senior year. We graduated in 1988, got married, and were called to serve four churches in Langford as a clergy couple. Our three children were born during our thirteen years there. I was the cross-country, junior high volleyball, and assistant track coach for several of those years. I was briefly a chaplain in the SD National Guard, and was privileged to serve under the command of Randy Rakness. We also were part of rebuilding one of the four churches, Falnes, after it was hit by lightning and burned down in 1999. In 2001 we were called to American Lutheran in Milbank, where we were again part of building a new church in 2005. In 2010 we resigned from American Lutheran and the ELCA after two votes to leave the ELCA fell just short of the required 2/3 majority. I became the first pastor of Living Word Lutheran. We met in the former Dollar Store for over three years, and in 2014 moved into a new building, the third in my career. I enjoy running, reading, movies, and suffering as a fan of the Chicago Cubs.

When I met with the call committee for my interview, they were very diligent in examining my theology and concept of ministry. Janine and I share the same convictions, and I discussed with them: The pastor is a responsible servant leader, called by God and the congregation to preach and teach the Word in its purity and power through Law and Gospel, administer the sacraments, and suffer with God’s people. The pastor’s “job” is to love the people that God has sent him/her to shepherd, and as a result the pastor will not always be liked or loved back by everyone. A pastor who is faithful will not always be popular, and this is a dynamic that the pastor and congregation who love each other have to work through with patience and forgiveness, just like members of a family (which we are). I always strive to cooperate, empower and encourage, and try to leave my ego at the door. I am an introvert who is a good listener and can concentrate on a task and follow it through to completion. My personality and talents complement wonderfully the personality and talents of Pastor Janine, as we did ministry together for 22 years in Langford and Milbank. I am a called servant leader and neither an “employee” of the congregation nor its “boss”, set apart to proclaim the Word of God, preach, teach, administer the sacraments and equip the Saints. We hear God’s Word and live in His grace and truth together.

I look forward to getting to know you and serving with you as we go forward into God’s future here at Hosanna!

Email Pastor Craig