The celebration of commissioning of Barry Thongvanh, Storm Lake, as the commissioned lay pastor for the Southeast Asian Christian Church was held Sunday, September 16, 3 p.m. at the Southeast Asian Christian Church, 815 East 5th Street, Storm Lake.
The celebration of commissioning service was conducted by Prospect Hill Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Participating in the service will be Dr. Frances Heusinkveld, Joe Galey, Steve Sauvandy, Dr. John C. Khounthapanya, The Rev. Jim Sanders, The Rev. Ken Bell, The Rev. Mark Youngquist, The Rev. Duane Queen, Clark Forte, Mel Samuelson, Qui-Jie Zhang.
Barry came to the United States as a refugee in 1976. He taught school at a refugee camp in Nongkhai, Thailand from 1975-1976. He taught in a primary school in Vientiane, Loas from 1972-1975.
He was commissioned as a lay pastor by Prospect Hill Presbytery to be the lay pastor for the Southeast Asian Christian Church as a new church development for the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.). Barry has served as the pastor since 1997. His responsibilities include providing pastoral care for the Southeast Asian members and non-members in the Storm Lake community, preaching, assisting Southeast Asians at clinics and hospitals, legal matters, and at the local schools.
Prior to accepting the call to be a lay pastor, Barry Thongvanh was a language trainer for IBP from 1989 to 1997. He worked for IBP from 1983 to 1988 by assisting in the personnel department and worked on the line trimming meat. From 1977 to 1983 Barry worked as a custodian with the Storm Lake Community Schools.
He is an ordained elder at Lakeside Presbyterian Church, Storm Lake and is a graduate of the North Central and Prospect Hill Presbytery Lay Academy. He has attended annually for the last five years the Lao Presbyterian Lay Academy at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, Texas for one week each summer.