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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

Gems in the Coulee: Steve Archer

Jess Shut Up

 


If I said the words, “Faith Community Church,” one of your first thoughts would be the Archers. They have been here since the beginning. In an era that pastors don’t usually stay in one place longer than 10 years, the Archers have been here over 30. They raised their kids here and now their grandkids come to visit here. All the while, they pastor the little church in Electric City.

Faith Community started in a home many years ago. It grew and soon was in a garage. It grew again and the members said it was time for a building and a pastor. That pastor was a young musician and his wife. The rest, as they say, is history, but today when I look at Steve I see more than that. I see a renewal in his spirit. I see the legacy, yes, but I also see a future. Ask anyone; Steve has given himself over and over again to the citizens in the Coulee and beyond. Meet him once, spend a little time with him, and you are lifelong friends. Ed Moore, who was here when Steve came on board in 1983, says, “Steve is a man of integrity, love and faith; he has never said a single word that has gone against the word of God; we love him.”

My favorite story about Steve was told to me by Ben Logue years ago. When they were creating the original recreational softball league in the 1980s, the church decided to put together a team, and Steve (being the stud athlete he is) decided to take part. They would also have uniforms with their names on the back, so when Ben asked Steve what name he wanted printed on the back of his, without a pause, Steve said, “servant.” This has always reminded me of what we should all be calling ourselves on a daily basis. We should be willing to put ourselves aside and serve others, and Steve and Janice have done that for hundreds, if not thousands, of us.

For weddings, funerals, graduations, celebrations and many many more events, Steve has stood in front and officiated. Steve has also given himself a native name “Callwalkobey.” This pretty much sums up his life here. Steve and Janice also have a huge heart for the kids who live here. They have been the Raider tennis coaches for many years and not only taught young athletes the game of tennis, but also gave them golden nuggets for life as well. One past tennis player said, “They teach us more about being responsible members of society while they coach us; I will always love them.”

I would not be doing either of them justice if I did not mention a few more words that describe them. Words like faith, love, Jesus and humility. Not necessarily in that order either, or all at the same time. Steve stands on the church stage almost every Sunday and lets God control his words. It is not always a popular subject, but he uses this platform to teach and share with a grace and softness. At the same time, a strong and level message also comes through. Emotion mixed with an ever-steady love of all humans, supported by truth.

When I was sick, Steve cried with me. (Please don’t take away our man points.) He also prayed with me many times. We both struggled through that rough time in my life. I saw him as a father with an unconditional love for a son. And that is exactly the message he wants to get to all of us: that we all have a Father who does love us unconditionally. This Father will weep with us and pray with us and celebrate with us. Just like Steve has with many of us. He is a reflection of God. Is he perfect? No. He will be the first to tell you that, but he continues to try daily to be exactly what he is supposed to be. With Janice by his side, he knows his work is not done yet. It may be winding down, but there are still lots and lots of people out there who need to hear what God wants to say through him.

This column could not be long enough to express the impact Steve has had to on Coulee Country. Thank you, Steve and Janice, for doing what you were called to do. No matter what happens tomorrow, I will remember you for the rest of my lifetime, as will many others. And CallWalkObey should be our war cry as we maneuver in these confusing times. I, for one, will draft “Servant” on my team every time.

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