One week ago today marked an anniversary that I had lost sight of.  I was reminded of this occasion by Bishop Patricia Lull, who happened to be included in a Zoom meeting of our Synod conference pastors and leaders.  As we were doing our introductions Bishop Lull offered a shout out of congratulations to me, catching me by surprise.

February 11, 2017

I’ll forgive you if you don’t immediately recall what occurred on February 11th and 12th back in 2017.  And those reading this that weren’t a part of the Prince of Peace community at that time are certainly off the hook.  For context, at the end of January and during its semi-annual meeting, the congregation voted to call me to be the next Lead Pastor of Prince of Peace.  Though I had been serving the church in a variety of ways for the prior 15+ years, this call enabled my eventual ordination as a “Minister of Word & Sacrament” within the ELCA.

On February 11, 2017, in front of many of you as well as many dear family and friends, Bishop Lull laid her hands on me and ushered the Holy Spirit’s blessing into me.  This was an affirmation of something I had been coming to know about myself since I was a much younger man.  Over time, I was being pushed and pulled into public Christian leadership, sometimes agreeably, often reluctantly.  But God is relentless like that.

Then on February 12, 2017, back in the sanctuary where our community gathers, Bishop Lull formally installed me into this role that I have lived into now for the past five years.  The time has both flown by and somehow also moved incredibly slowly.  I give thanks for every moment as each one has delivered further proof that God is at work among us.

It’s in my nature to focus on the laundry list of ministry opportunities that have yet to be realized.  But to take stock of all that has still managed to happen is another reminder of that relentless nature of God.  I’ve been blessed to work alongside such a gifted collection of staff and lay leaders.  I remain grateful for this community that has entrusted me with this pastoral leadership and remains committed to our shared work as we build the church and love the world together.

Here’s to the next five years and to whatever God will imagine for us next!

May God’s peace come to you this day. -Pastor Peter

Let us pray…

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, we bless you for your infinite love in Christ our Lord, in whom we have redemption and forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. We thank you that by his death your Son overcame death, and that, raised by your mighty power, he gives us new life. We praise you that, having ascended into heaven, Christ pours out his gifts abundantly on the church, making some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, to equip your people for their work of ministry for building up the body of Christ. Amen.

(Prayer of Thanksgiving from the service of ordination for Ministers)