Bob and Marilyn Waehler
“The things Jesus taught are so important to how we live our lives; where else do we get that?” For Bob and Marilyn Waehler, church has played such an integral role in their lives that their hope for future generations is that the church survives (whatever form that may look like) for others as a guide and a place to find community and explore questions. They began their life together forty-two years ago at St. Paul on December 20, 1973. They describe their marriage as an adventure (a good one!) that is still happening, even as they enter into what they describe as the “winter season” of their lives. They see church as something that goes beyond the congregation. Their active involvement and generosity in synod activities, Ascentria, the ESL literacy program at English at Large and Calumet has helped them see that “the church is something that is always at work, even after 12:30 on Sundays,” and it all has helped to shape who they are, given them friendships and support along the way.
Bob is a challenger, mentor, basket-maker, “chair-caner,” golfer, retired professor of accounting, survivor of several heart surgeries, former financial guru for St. Paul, Calumet, and the Synod, father and grandpa. Marilyn is a caring and beautiful independent soul, a former teacher and integral team member for three continuing care communities, quilter, tv star (see her on Brooksby tv here) mother, and grandma. She found her time on St. Paul’s social ministry committee and as a Stephen minister to be incredibly meaningful, but describes her time as a Godly Play teacher to be transformative in the way it opened doors for wondering in her own life. While she didn’t grow up Lutheran, she has found that identity to be liberating as “grace is just wonderful.” Together, Bob and Marilyn have found their time at Calumet sacred and spirit-filled; from Marilyn’s six summers spent as the arts and crafts director as a single mom, to their joint seven year reign of helping coordinate programs for Elderhostel. Separately, what they find sacred comes with complicated answers. For Marilyn, it is music that she hears on Sunday mornings that she finds sacred, meditative, and inspirational. For Bob, “the sacred is my battleground right now,” as he tries to reconcile science with religion, and the stories of the bible with the creeds. You’ll often find the Waehlers at the second service, where they would be pleased to tell you about their life in their new digs at Brooksby Village in Peabody where they continue to delight in learning and growing.