“Join with me in . . . relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works, but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” (Second Timothy 1:8b-9)
“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was celebrating the 100th birthday of Jeanne Kuentzel. She is a former member of St. Paul who remains a dear friend of many. Jeanne was on the building committee when our current home of worship was designed and constructed, and she was very proud of the contemporary design, which later won an architectural award. On her Facebook page – our current mode of celebrations! – was a recording of the Luther College Cathedral Choir, singing We are Called. I love this hymn and was struck by how appropriate it is for us today:
We are called to be light of the kingdom
We are called to love tenderly
We are called to serve one another
We are called to be hope for the hopeless
. . . to walk humbly with God
In addition to all that you are contributing, serving, and loving during this pandemic, our Call Committee also has been working toward recommending our next pastor. The team of seven – Ann Bartelt, Clarice Blanchard, Don Darling, Alan Feirer, Lonna Nielsen, Jerry Swanson, and Lisa Vossekuil – have answered the call from you to serve St. Paul in this process. Together we have prayed for God’s wisdom and help in discernment. We have opened our hearts and souls to listen for God’s guidance, knowing we have been entrusted with an incredibly important responsibility.
The committee has been meeting regularly via zoom to prepare for on-site conversations with our candidates. Now, after a delay of nearly three months due to the pandemic, and with God’s help, we are ready. We anticipate having a recommendation to the Church Council by early July.
The first steps of the Call Process were led by Interim Pastor Brian. From this initial work came the Charge to the Call Committee from the Congregation Council. Specifically, the Council charged the committee with discerning and recommending:
- a leader and shepherd of program ministries and lay leaders, one who “equips the saints” to do God’s work
- a strong preacher who inspires and provides practical application of the biblical Word
- a person of high energy who brings enthusiasm, vitality, and genuineness to worship leadership and interactions with others
Pastors in the church are not “hired;” they are called after prayerful deliberation. Pastoral leaders are called to comfort and console, support and care for God’s people. They are also called to proclaim and live a corrective and challenging word from God that prompts our Christian growth. Furthermore, the charge to the committee states, “This congregation will welcome a pastor who loves the Lord, loves people, has an engaging communication style, and who will enthusiastically embrace this pivotal phase and opportunity for pastoral leadership in the life of our congregation.”
In our humble walk, the Call Committee asks for God’s help and your prayers as we enter the final stages of our work together. Would you please pray with us:
Almighty God, you alone are the great Shepherd of the sheep, and we turn to you to lead and guide us in all things. Our trust and our hope is in you. Inspire us to be a people of insight as we seek a leader who will complement who we already are with a vision of what we are to become. Fill us all with your Holy Spirit and magnify our gifts of discernment, that we might follow your will as you lead us into a future yet unknown. Give us the gifts we need to seek and find the leader of your own nurturing, that we might grow in faith and love and ministry. All these things we ask, O God, with whatever else we need, in the name of Him who is the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In service to God,
Ann Bartelt, Call Committee Chair
Church office email: StPaulLutheranChurch@hotmail.com
Pastor Brian Mortenson email: StPaulPastor1941@gmail.com
Pastoral Emergencies: 605-351-0867
Church office phone: 515-462-4270