Husband, wife team mainstay at local church


For the congregation at Bay Shore Lutheran, the pastoral team has been a constant as it gets for most churches.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the husband and wife team of Pastors Paul Overvold, 66, and Norene Smith, 63, are the longest-serving team in the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

They began their service in 1997.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports

“To see a husband and wife work together so seamlessly is inspiring,” said Tim Nelson, a longtime church member. “You feel like you’re in the presence of Jesus when around both of them. It’s an amazing experience of being loved and accepted.”

The pair got married in 1977 in Seattle and have two daughters, Elena and Erica. The couple have seen not only their own family grow in Whitefish Bay but have watched many other families do the same.

“We were young when we came here,” Smith said as she laughed. “But we quickly learned if you give (the community and congregation) a lot of time, you can develop real, deep relationships. That’s the most satisfying thing about being in a place long term.”

One reason the pair was drawn to the church was the strong connection with the inner city of Milwaukee through a partnership with Hephatha Lutheran Church, at N. 17th and W. Locust streets. “It has been a real grounding experience for us and the congregation,” Overvold said.

Pastor Mary Martha Kannass has been at Hephatha for 25 years and said serving near the couple for two decades has taught her “not to put borders on the Gospel.”

For more this inspiring couple, visit Milwaukee Journal Sentinel