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Paynesville Press - November 26, 2003

Werner - pastor, chaplain, former LKAG director - dies

By Michael Jacobson

Rev. Earl Werner - who served as a paster in two rural churches in the Paynesville area, who managed the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds, and who worked as a visitation paster and chaplain - died last week. He was 83.

Werner, who grew up in the Lamberton area, attended the Evangelical Theological College in Napierville, Ill., and came to Paynesville in 1945. "At first, I was going to go to farm school," Werner told the Press in 1987, after retiring from full-time ministry, "but God kept calling me to be a minister."

Rev. Earl Werner talking His first parish was the two-point Paynesville Zion Circuit, including Salem Church five miles north of town and Ebenezer Church five miles east of town. He told the Press in 1945 that he was glad to have a rural parish because of his rural roots.

Rev. Earl Werner - shown visiting a resident in the Koronis Manor in 1992 - served the area as parish paster, camp director, and chaplain.

Werner served Salem and Ebenezer from 1945 to 1960, also directing summer camps at the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds and being an officer on the Paynesville Ministerial Association.

From 1960 to 1963, he served as an associate paster at Grace Evangelical United Brethren Church in Minneapolis, but kept his ties to Paynesville, being the summer director at Camp Koronis, the youth camp at the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds.

Married in 1961, he also served parishes in the Pipestone area and a church in Eyota before returning to Paynesville full time in 1974, when he became the business manager at the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds, a position he held until 1987. The Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds, founded in 1921, now occupies 200 acres on the shores of Lake Koronis and is the largest Methodist Church camp in the state.

After retiring from full-time ministry, Werner worked part-time for four years as the visitation paster at Grace United Methodist Church in Paynesville and he worked for nine years as the chaplain at the Paynesville Area Health Care System.

Salem Church - located in Zion Township on 220th Street - and Ebenezer Church - located in Eden Lake Township, just outside Paynesville Township across Co. Rd. 180 - joined with Grace United Methodist Church in 1968. In that year, the Evangelical United Brethren Church - which had German origins and a Methodist-based doctrine - joined with the Methodist Church to become the United Methodist Church.

Werner is survived by his wife, Eileen, of Paynesville; two grown children; and five granddaughters. His obituary can be found in the November 2003 obituaries.

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