Much of my work these days seems centered on the many staffing transitions we are facing. This is an exciting time and I’m grateful for all the support we are receiving from the synod. Our appointed committees have been great to work with and I have a lot of confidence in the process. Saying farewell to Pastor Lynn means letting go an important part of my support structure so I’m especially anxious to find colleagues that I will enjoy working alongside and appreciate as much as I have Lynn. Here are a few updates on all that has been keeping me busy these days:
- Associate Pastor for Faith Formation: I have been forwarded candidate information from SPAS and have begun meeting with them individually. I consider all the candidates to be strong and our call committee can expect to be asked to interview all of them.
- Visitation and Congregational Care Pastor : The interview committee has prepared their questions and is determining possible interview times the week of June 4-8. I have met individually with three candidates and there are 1-2 more in process.
- Youth Director: Erika Coe will be leaving us for graduate school (her last Sunday is July 22). We have advertised for her replacement with both metro synods and a number of area colleges/universities. We have already received two interested responses and I will be meeting with them in the coming week. An interview committee is being formed by the Youth & Personnel Committees.
- Funeral Coordinator: One important take-away from the community conversation on funeral ministry was the strong desire to move forward with identifying a funeral coordinator to begin serving in this role as opposed to waiting to connect it to the future position of hospitality coordinator as defined in the staffing configuration. I will support the council and Personnel Committee on next steps. In the meantime, Tara and I will continue to coordinate and identify volunteer leaders on an as-needed basis.
Fall Planning (even though summer just started!)
- Our worship and education committees are looking closely at using the “Narrative Lectionary” as the foundation for our worship and education framework for the coming year, beginning in September. Currently we use the framework of the “Revised Common Lectionary” so this would change some of the historical patterns our congregation has experienced around scriptures read in worship. You can find more information about the Narrative Lectionary here but the weekly readings follow the trajectory of the story of the whole Bible. In the fall we read from the Old Testament, starting with Genesis and the books chronicling the history of God’s people, including the big stories we all learned in Sunday School and other stories that just never get read. Then staring in Advent we turn to the new testament and follow Jesus’ life from birth to death and resurrection. Nativity texts are read at Christmas and the passion texts are read at Easter. Post-easter until the end of the spring we read through the stories of the early church, the letters and then finally John’s book of Revelation.
- The Community Conversation on Funeral Ministry on May 15 was attended by 28 participants. It was a very healthy conversation that has already led to some positive outcomes (see the note about the Funeral Coordinator above). We’re compiling the notes from the conversation and hope to share those with the whole community soon.
- We welcomed four new families as new members on May 20 – how wonderful that they’re feeling at home with Prince of Peace! Thanks to Linda Olson and Carol Swanson who helped to host two weeks of member classes. We also have a couple of folks that can be considered like associate members as they want this to be their church home while they’re here seasonally.
- I am leading group study sessions on the ELCA’s Draft Statement on Women & Justice for 4 weeks on Wednesday evenings beginning 5/30 (6:30-8pm).
- We met (and exceeded) our goal of raising at least $500 for Millions of Trees, our affiliate ministry partner with Bega Kwa Bega. That means we’ve funded at least 10,000 tree seedlings to be planted this year.
- I’m looking forward to traveling with our high school youth to the ELCA National Youth Gathering in Houston, Texas at the end of June. They have been working so hard this past year to fundraise and prepare for this adventure and it will be amazing to finally arrive together with the 35,000 other attendees from all over the country for these five days of growing in faith together.
- The Saint Paul Area Synod Assembly was May 19 & 20 at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. Both Pastor Lynn and I were able to attend. There was little formal business to attend to this year but the highlight was on young adult leadership in the synod and it was quite inspirational.
Though there are so many transitions happening, seemingly all at once, I also believe the Holy Spirit is a present and active force driving this community of faith ever forward. We can trust that God’s plan will be revealed in the midst of all this change. This is indeed an exciting time for all of us and I am so grateful that we get to do this (be the church) together. Thanks be to God.
Cover Photo Note: I’m lucky to be able to spend some of theses summer days at our family cabin and this is the view we enjoy.