The North Bend Eagle


Howell's path leads him to North Bend's St. Peter Lutheran

by Nathan Arneal
Published 8/3/16

As far back as kindergarten, being a pastor had always been among the top four or five things Christopher Howell wanted to do when he grew up.

HowellsThe Rev. Christopher Howell begane serving the local Lutheran church in July. His wife Keisha is a preschool teacher.

But it took a medical oddity – and perhaps some divine intervention – to set him on the path that would eventually lead him to becoming the new pastor at North Bend’s St. Peter Lutheran Church.

As his high school years were drawing to a close in Fremont, California, Howell applied to a handful of colleges, each with a different major and career path in mind.

Then in February of his senior year in high school, he was hospitalized with dehydration, elevated heart rate and blood pressure and a spinning sensation that wouldn’t go away. He also suffered from frequent migraine headaches, something that was such a part of his life that he thought they were normal. The doctor asked him how many migraines he got.

“Oh, just the normal amount,” Howell replied.

“How many is that?” the doctor asked.

“You know, probably four or five a week.”

“That’s not normal,” the doctor said.

Howell was diagnosed with migraine associated vertigo.

“That’s still here to this day,” Howell said. “I still constantly feel like I’m spinning, like I just got off a carnival ride.”

He wrote to all the colleges that accepted him and heard back from only one: Concordia University Irvine. They said they would help him work through his medical issues.

He liked Concordia for its theology program, so he enrolled as a pre-seminary student and began down the trail that eventual led to North Bend as he and his doctors fought to control his migraines and vertigo.

“I joke that God had to hit me over the head with hammer and say, ‘This is the path you’re going on,’” Howell said.

He’s still spinning from the blow.


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