Sunday, August 23, 2015

Just Call Me ... Vicar ?

This morning, I made the official announcement that I have resigned from St. Stephen Lutheran Church (Marshall, Minnesota). For the last three years, I have been in a ministry position with St. Stephen and Lutheran Campus Ministry of SMSU. They created  a full time ministry position three years ago and I am forever grateful that I was given the opportunity to serve in Marshall, a town that I had never heard of before coming up for the interview. Even though I am resigning from St. Stephen, I am remaining in Marshall.

Lutheran Campus Ministry has also dissolved the partnership agreement with St. Stephen and I am remaining with LCM as their chaplain and forever grateful for this ministry opportunity. I absolutely love life on SMSU and the students that I have the honor to walk alongside with.

So, what am I am doing and what is with the title of this post ?

Here is some of the background ....

In March, Lutheran Campus Ministry of Southwest Minnesota State University had our review. Every three years, the ministry gets reviewed by the Lutheran Campus Ministry State Board President, representatives from the synod (ELCA), and a peer. In the review, we take a look at our ministry and invite students, student leaders, faculty, staff and ELCA pastors to the table. the review went really well. The review got the ball rolling for me to enter into the candidacy process.

With me already having a masters degree in ministry and with me being ordained in the background that I grew up, my journey will be  little different than those who are "just" coming out of college and walking their path of ordination.

Thus, I am blessed that I am going to be able to remain as the Chaplain as SMSU and I am going to be placed and called the "Vicar" at Grace First in Russell, Minnesota. Grace First is a church that has been formed with two churches merging: Grace Lutheran (ELCA) and First Presbyterian (PCUSA).

The term ....

The vicar is the vicarious symbol of the church, or better defined as a representative of a church. The term has since come to have many fine distinctions about a church leader or minister. It can also designate the status or training of a person working in a ministerial capacity in a church.

As I serve these two ministries, I will be pursuing my ordination in the ELCA.

Below are a few pictures of the town and the church:

The town of Russel is 15 miles from our house in Marshall

A welcome sign coming into the town

The Russell sign if traveling by the railroad system

The Church that I will be serving

The "old" church sign in front of the building

The church building - Grace First

The view of the town from the church parking lot
SMSU students at Grace First in April
Thus, let the journey begin. My last day at St. Stephen will be on Monday, August 31st. I will start my CPE (Clinical Pastoral  Experience) on September 8th. Then I will supply preach at Grace First on Sunday, September 13th and then officially start on Wednesday, September 16th.

We (our family) are still going to be connected to St. Stephen in many ways and LCM will still be involved in numerous ways as well. St. Stephen is one of our biggest supporters and we are so thankful for their generosity.

To close, here is my official resignation letter:

St. Stephen Lutheran Church Council:
I am writing this letter to you today to inform you that I am resigning from St. Stephen Lutheran church as the Youth Director, with the effective date of August 31st.  I have enjoyed the last three years at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Marshall. St. Stephen has truly been a great place to serve.
In March, Lutheran Campus Ministry of Marshall conducted their tri-annual review. The review went extremely well. Since the review, I have been in conversation with the campus ministry board, the synod office, seminaries and multiple organizations. I have decided that I am going to enter into candidacy in the ELCA.

On September 8th, I am going to begin my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in Sioux Falls. In addition to the CPE this fall, I will remain as chaplain at Lutheran Campus Ministry. I will also be placed at Grace First in Russel as their “called Vicar” (solo minister) on September 15th.  In January, after my reviews, I will continue to serve these two positions while fulfilling my educational obligations from Wartburg Seminary in Iowa.
I am very excited and very nervous as I enter into this new adventure. I would appreciate your prayers. St. Stephen will remain steadfast in my prayers. We will remain in the community and hopefully remain connected to St Stephen, if permissible. Bethany would continue through confirmation, Isaiah would continue to teach Sunday School and Jacob would continue to play in the band on their weeks of responsibility. As a parent, I would love to be a chaperon on trips, if schedule permits.

In Christ,