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Kellgren makes no secret that his work with his congregation and his work in the community are part of the same religious impulse. "I think it's the place of the church to be wherever there's human need," he said. "That's where we're called to be as disciples of Jesus."

Within his own congregation at Elim Lutheran, "Pastor Tim" is at least as highly regarded as he is in the community at large, if not more so.

"He's been the face of Elim, and for many people the only pastor that they have known," said congregational president Ed Sellai.

"The thing about Pastor Tim is that he not only is able to come up with a vision of where there's a need in the community, but he also has the knack of being able to organize, and see that need become a reality. Not only once, not only twice, but time and time again. He's been a real asset to the community, as well as for Elim."

A goodbye event is already being planned for when he retires as pastor. It will be held at Luchessi Park on the afternoon of April 26. In retirement, Kellgren will continue to live in Petaluma, though his wife, Mary, will still be working.

"I have lots of projects around the house, and I'm looking forward to doing some painting, reading and relaxing. Also, I'm excited to see what new thing God might be calling me to," he said. "I'm hoping to be open to whatever that is and still be of service to the larger church and the community, and whatever else God might have in mind for me. "

To find out more about the Community Awards of Excellence or to purchase tickets to the award presentation, call 762-2785.

(Contact Christian Kallen at argus@arguscourier.com)