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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Teaching Western ways

Iowa pastor spends sabbatical in Iraq

The year 2001 forever changed Dean C. Hess, eventually influencing him to travel to Iraq during his four-month sabbatical as pastor of Zion United Lutheran Church, Clear Lake, Iowa.

The students are Muslim, the school
The students are Muslim, the school Christian and the volunteer teacher is Dean C. Hess, an ELCA pastor from Clear Lake, Iowa, who traveled to Iraq last fall to “ make a positive impact on what was a dark part of the world.”
In that year a parent died, close colleagues left Zion and Hess was diagnosed with leukemia. Then there was Sept. 11. As a firefighter emergency medical technician for nearly 40 years — a volunteer position he’s held since recruited in the town of his first parish, Hess identified with those firefighters who died trying to rescue people in the World Trade Center towers.


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