Pastor Rolf Svanoe was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. At the age of fourteen his family moved to Hollywood, California, where he graduated from Hollywood High School. He is a 1974 graduate of California Lutheran Bible School, and a 1978 graduate of Augustana College, Sioux Falls, with a B.A. degree in Music Performance. Pastor Rolf received his Master of Divinity degree in 1982 from Luther Seminary, St. Paul. In the fall of 1982 he spent a semester studying in Germany where he received the Zertifikat Deutsch als Fremdsprache (German as Foreign Language Certificate).
Prior to coming to Greenfield, Pastor Rolf served four churches: St. Paul’s Lutheran in Wauzeka, WI 1984-1986; Lutheran Church of Peace in Platteville, WI 1986-1991; Messiah Lutheran in Madison, WI 1991-2000; and Peace Lutheran in Sioux Falls, SD 2000-2015.
In May 2008, Pastor Rolf received a Doctor of Ministry degree in Biblical Preaching from Luther Seminary. His thesis title was, “The Beast in the Pulpit: Overcoming Objections to Preaching the Book of Revelation in Mainline Churches.” Pastor Rolf is the author of “Bread for the Journey: A High-Carb Multisensory Lenten Worship Series,” published by CSS Publishing in 2007. Over the years, Pastor Rolf has used music in creative ways to worship, including Jazz, Polka and Mariachi styles.
In January 2002 Pastor Rolf was married to Dr. Kimberly Utke, retired professor of music at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. They have three grown children and one grandchild.
In May 2016 Pastor Rolf was a volunteer Chaplain for two weeks with the Wittenberg English Ministry, having the honor of preaching and leading worship in Martin Luther’s church in Wittenberg, Germany.
Pastor Rolf has led several tours to Europe in the last ten years. In 2020 he will be leading two tours: in July to Norway and in October to Eastern Europe. The tours are open to anyone. : three tours to Norway, two to Germany, Israel, Italy, England/Scotland, Greece, Austria/Switzerland, Ireland.
Pastor Rolf’s most recent hobby is genealogy. He enjoys discovering stories of his own family and also helping others connect to their past. Though a full-blooded lutefisk and lefse Norwegian with Viking heritage, Pastor Rolf is a life-long Packer fan and proudly wears his Cheesehead on appropriate occasions.
Tour to Norway 2020: Tour to Eastern Europe 2020: