Sincerely, my apologies for not updating with any sort of regularity. I have thought often about the need for updating, but simply have not gotten around to it.
Much has happened in the months since my last post. I graduated from seminary in May with my Master of Divinity degree. I had interviews with two different parishes and because both issued me a call, I had to discern to which one I was called. The Holy Spirit absolutely led me on the decision, and I am happy and excited about where I find myself.
I was ordained at my home church in Illinois on July 30th. My old pastor came back to be the preacher at the service. I thought it was a great sermon, and I am SO glad he was willing and able to be there for such an important day. Two ladies from my new congregation made the trip from North Dakota to Illinois to be present with me on my ordination day. I thought THAT was so awesome! That's a really long drive. I also had several family friends there, old friends from grade school and high school, and of course, many fantastic and supportive people from my home parish. I experienced a lot of love and affirmation that day, and I give thanks to God for their presence in my life and in the world.
I start my new call tomorrow morning. I'm so excited that I get to start on a communion Sunday. This is a humbling calling, and it is my hope and prayer that I be a good pastor for these people and their community. They seem so amazing, and I hope that we have a good time together.
Something really neat about my new congregation (one of many, many things that makes them flippin' sweet) is that when we were interviewing, they told me that they were the only church left in the town. This being the case, they said they wanted their pastor to be a "COMMUNITY PASTOR." They wanted to make sure the pastor would not sit holed up in the office all day every day, but instead to get to know not just the members of the church, but also of the village. I thought that was incredibly mission minded, and amazing.
Anyway, I already feel very welcomed at the congregation, even with my limited exposure to them. J and I went to the Finn Hall Annual Steak Fry tonight, and that was a good time. It's a very Finnish area, and they take pride in that. The church has deep Finnish roots, so this old German is going to have to learn about the Finns. One thing I learned is that the Finns can be very "sisu," which means, "stubborn or determined." Ha ha. Thanks to the congregation council president for telling me that one.
Seriously though, I am considering myself very blessed by all of this. I am excited, and a little scared (as I always am with anything new), and I hope that I am a good pastor. I hope I don't make any huge mistakes, and that I can be an effective and engaging preacher and teacher. I have many hopes, worries, and ideas, and I am hopeful that the Christ who walks on water will beckon me also onto the surface, and will catch me when I begin to sink.