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Phil Holtan combines his calling as pastor with a passion for woodturning.  Phil’s turned wooden bowls are known for their unusual wood, beautiful shapes, natural edges, and translucent thinness.  He has turned wood seriously for the past 30 years and has shown his work, demonstrated and won prizes at shows all over the Upper Midwest.  He is an active and sought-out teacher with over 1600 graduates of his weekend woodturning workshops.

PERSONAL MISSION: To assist others to develop their God-given gifts and discover their vocations


  • AA, Waldorf College, Forest City, IA 1970 Social Sciences  GPA 4.0  Received Outstanding Alumni Award from Waldorf in 2012.
  • BA, Luther College, Decorah, IA 1972 Psychology  GPA 4.0
  • Master of Divinity, Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul,MN 1976
  • Master of Theology, New Testament, GPA 4.07 Graduated first in class, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ1990
  • Doctor of Ministry, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, 2002 “Thesis Project: “Dynamic Balance in Lutheran Worship: Traditional and Contemporary”


  • Interim pastor, Bethesda Lutheran Church, Moorhead, 2016-2017
  • Pastor, Calvary Lutheran Church, Perham, MN, 2006- 2016
  • Senior Campus Pastor at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN 1995-2006
  • Associate Campus Pastor at Concordia 1984-1995
  • Associate Pastor at First Lutheran Church,Minot ND 1979-1984
  • Pastor, Makoti Lutheran Parish, Makoti, ND 1976-1979
  • Intern Pastor, Guadalajara, Mexico, 1974-1975


  • Founding chair of Feed My Starving Children in Perham 2008-2009 and again in 2011.  We packed over one million meals during those two packing sessions and about 3500 persons did the packing each time.
  • Member of Rotary International Perham since 2007, President in 2011-2012
  • Calvary won the Servant of Christ Award in 2010 from Lutheran Social Service for outstanding social ministry
  • Chairperson- Lutheran Coalition of Public Policy inMinnesota
  • Partner in Evangelical Worship trainer- Northwestern Minnesota Synod, ELCA


  • American Field Service Exchange student, Peru, 1967.  Revisited again in 1973 and 2012
  • Intern Pastor, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Guadalajara, Mexico,
  • Organizer and leader of 25 Mission and Justice trips to Mexico
  • Semi-fluent speaker of Spanish
  • Founding Chairman, CROP Walk for the Hungry, Minot ND, President of the CROP Walk for the Hungry, Fargo-Moorhead 1985-1988
  • Founding President: Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity in Fargo-Moorhead


  • Supervised raising $73,000 for the Feed My Starving Children project in Perham in 2009 and $120,000 in 2011 for a total of almost 200,000.
  • Raised money for Habitat for Humanity chapter start up and for 3 houses
  • Helped raise nearly $50,000 each year to support campus ministry activities, especially Spring Break mission trips
  • Coordinator and fund raiser for Church World Service Hunger Walks Over $30,000 each year Minot, ND 1982-84 and Fargo-Moorhead 1987-1989


  • Awarded the Chester Award as outstanding craftsman at the Norsk Hostfest 2014
  • Founding President of Two Woodturning Clubs- MinnDak in Fargo-Moorhead and  Minnesota Lakes in the Detroit Lakes-Perham-Park Rapids area
  • Best of Show award at Fargo Downtown Street Fair, July 2003
  • Featured Exhibitor in Waldorf Alumni Gallery Show  “Trees Clapping” 1998
  • Exhibitor Award for Demonstration of Craft, Norsk Hostfest, Minot, ND1993, 2009  Merit Awards 1997, 1998,
  • Developer and instructor of Phil Holtan’s Weekend Woodturning Workshops, 1986-2017, pver 1600 students at 3 per weekend
  1. Good info ! Thanks

  2. scott permalink

    I’m interested in a class on turning bowls
    My number- 2187700513

  3. Tom & Pat Blaney, cell 908-884-1035 permalink

    We have a burl Maple tree in our yard and we would like to know if it is worth anything to you or anyone else, and if you don’t actually do the cutting down, can you refer us to someone who would?
    Pat & Tom Blaney, 908-884-1035;

    • Tom and Pat, I don’t know where you live,but you need to find a local person interested in y our tree. Please read my blog on harvesting and selling your burl to find someone in your area.

      Where exactly do you live?

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