top of page

About us


Welcome to St. James!

Since 1875 St. James has been reaching out to Howard Lake and the surrounding area with the Good News of Jesus Christ. St. James has always had a strong emphasis on Christian Education throughout its history through Christ-Centered sermons, Bible Studies, and St. James Lutheran School. We are a member of the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

We welcome you to join us for worship, Bible study, fellowship, and more. Please know that you will find a body of broken and imperfect people here at St. James.  As sinners, we will never be perfect in our earthly being.  However, what you can be assured of, is that here at St. James, you will be pointed to the one who has freed us from the eternal consequences of sin by giving His life as a ransom for all – Jesus Christ. Through His continued love for us through the sacraments, we are made whole.​

Rev. Mark Loder

No matter what situation you face, or how bad of a person you think you are, St. James is where we hope you will want to be.  Among the body of Christ is where we find peace and joy knowing that we no longer have to go it alone. All of us have our hidden and not so hidden struggles. Jesus has given the cure for all of it. May our hearts be moved to soften and repent and receive the blessing that is Jesus' absolution - the forgiveness of sin. 


We pray your time here is a blessing to you, as you are to us.  We invite you to come and visit us again!


God’s peace,

Pastor Mark Loder


About the Pastor

Pastor Loder was born in Dover, Delaware. He did not grow up attending church but found a church home in his college years as he was hired to direct a church choir. As a child, Pastor lived in Hawaii before moving to Omaha, NE. After graduating high school, Pastor attended college at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD to study vocal performance. There he would meet his bride, Molly, who grew up in Waseca, MN. After graduation from college Pastor served as a police officer in Vermillion and Molly taught Junior High band. During this time Pastor and Molly were blessed with three children, Micah, Mathias, and Mara. In the fall of 2016, the Loder family welcomed Malachi into their family through adoption. 


Pastor Loder graduated with his MDiv (Master of Divinity) from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN in 2009. Upon graduation, he was placed in a call to the Office of Holy Ministry at St. John's Lutheran in Winsted, MN. Pastor Loder served there for 6 years before receiving and accepting a call to serve St. James in December of 2015. In addition to his service to St. James, Pastor serves as the 4th Vice President of the MN South District of the LCMS, and is a Synodical Reconciler. 

About the Vicar

Vicar Speckhard was born in Valparaiso, Indiana. He attended Immanuel Lutheran Church and School growing up. He has two older brothers and one younger sister. 


After graduating from high school Vicar Speckhard served in the Marine Corps for 5 years. He was stationed at Cherry Point, NC and deployed to the Middle East with the 22nd M.E.U. in 2014. He was honorably discharged in 2017 and began attending Valparaiso University. Vicar Speckhard graduated from Valparaiso University in 2021, majoring in theology with a minor in classical languages. He began attending Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne in the fall of 2021 working towards a Masters of Divinity. 

Vicar Speckhard married his wife Meagan on June 20, 2015. They have been blessed with 4 children, two girls and two boys.

Vicar Speckhard is passionate about Hispanic ministry as well as urban ministry. In his free time he enjoys playing and watching sports, reading all types of books, and fishing. 

bottom of page