Saturday, October 10, 2015

Grace First

I cannot believe that I have been at Grace First for four weeks. It has been a very busy YET fantastic four weeks. Worship attendance has been up, worship committee has been formed, confirmation has started and there seems to be excitement in the air.

I am still working on my schedule. Scheduling with the university chaplain position and the solo position at Grace first plus schooling (CPE) is definitely making the hours push up there but for the time being, I am managing.

Last Sunday was the first time that I presided over Holy Communion as the Vicar and on staff with them. We (I) decided that we would do communion in a manner that they had never done before. I think that overall it went well. I tried to create a hybrid of what both congregations were use to. Thus, we had individuals come up to receive the elements after the initial liturgy and then they returned to their seats and we finished the liturgy (words of institution) and took the bread and the wine (grape juice) together.

This Sunday, we have a baptism. The baptism will be the first for me at Grace First and it will also be officially the first baptism as the united Grace First Parish.

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,

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Block

Earlier today, I wrote an article for the website that I work for AOSN and it dealt with JayVaughn's block. Did you see it / Here is the story: The Block

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kentucky Wildcats Shine

The University of Kentucky basketball team dominated their competition on Tuesday night. They played the # 5 team in the nation (Kansas) and took them to the woodshed.

They have done it by implementing a platoon system. I am writing for AOSN and you can find my insights on the system and game there.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Saira Blair

Saira Blair becomes the Youngest Lawmaker in the US and also probably will be the most misspelled one. I hope that individuals will pick up on her spelling quickly and not spell it wrong.

Congrats on being the youngest. I grew up in West Virginia, so it was nice to see a positive article coming out of the state. I have been out of the state more years than Saira has been alive :)

Great job on running the campaign out of your dorm room. Good Luck and may you make a change.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Breastfeeding & The Eucharist

This morning, an article came across my Facebook news feed that I wanted to share on my blog. Here it is: Breastfeeding and the Eucharist.

One of the many lines that stood out to me was the following:

Through the breaking of the bread, God invites us into the nursing relationship: the meeting of all our needs.

May God meet your needs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MBA: Here I Come

In an hour, I begin my journey.

I will update tomorrow as we have two events occurring in 10 minutes before I head to class:

- serving at a local church
- grill out for the college students

Friday, January 10, 2014

Aimate: Faith Series

Today, the Animate DVD came in. Thus, I have popped it into the computer and am listening to it as I write this article and do an ad for the study. We are going to use the study for our Thursday morning study at the Campus Religious Center on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University. Our ministry: Element 26 (Lutheran Campus Ministry) will be meeting for breakfast and then watching and discussing the series.

Here is the study:

January 23 - God | Faith is a Quest | Brian McLaren                                         

How can we chart a course through the often-murky waters of Christian tradition and find our way to God?

January 30 - Religion | Spirituality Is Not Enough | Lillian Daniel            

In this age of religious pluralism, is it possible or even desirable to stick with our age-old traditions?

February 6 - Jesus | The Revolution Of Love | Mark Scandrette                     

What does it mean to walk in the way of Jesus?

February 13 - Salvation | Abundant Life Now | Shane Hipps                          

The cross of Christ stands as a symbol of God’s saving work. But what, exactly, does it mean to be saved?

February 20 - Cross | Where God Is | Nadia Bolz-Weber                                                     

Our theories about the cross tell us as much about ourselves and our view of God as they do about Jesus and salvation.

February 27 - Bible | A Book Like No Other| Lauren Winner                         

Why read the Bible?

March 6 - Church| An Imperfect Family | Bruce Reyes-Chow                          

What does it mean to commit ourselves to the church family, for better or for worse?

Friday, January 03, 2014

My Three Words

Three Words.

In a few different circles, I have seen individuals promoting 3 words. Each one of them is doing it in a very different format. I decided that I am going to choose three words and then develop 2014 around those three words. I am not being creative as many of them: using abstract words. However, I am using three w's even though I did not intentionally seek to use the same letter. The three words: wellness, writing and wisdom.

Word One: Wellness

The ELCA has been using the "spiritual wheel" for awhile. With wellness being one of my words; it was only an obvious choice (a wise choice - more on that in word three) to use the wheel. There are six components of the spiritual wheel:

- Social
- Emotional
- Physical
- Financial
- Vocational
- Intellectual

It is hope that I can improve my wellness in all these areas.

Word Two: Writing

I have never really been a good writer. I have never really invested much time and energy into it. Writing for me has always been limited to school reports, newsletter articles, a little blogging and not much more. However, in 2014, I want to focus on writing. I am not making any major goals: writing a blog every day or attempting to get a book published. However, I want to be more intentional in writing and sharing views and sparking conversation. I also want to try to use my writing to be more of an advocate. There are multiple places where a voice needs to be lifted up.

Word Three: Wisdom

Luke 2:52 - And Jesus kept on growing—in wisdom

In the past, when I led children/family ministry; we used 252 Basics and Wisdom is one of the key phrases that they use. 252 Basics is based off of Luke 2:52. So, maybe, I am going back to my childhood. In all seriousness, here is the definition of wisdom:

the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.

So, in 2014, I want to make good judgment in all areas of my life. I will need to have wisdom in making wellness and writing to occur. I will need wisdom in my daily life as I navigate my vocational waters of youth ministry and campus ministry. Thus, I want to have wisdom in my mind so as I go through my daily life, I can make wise choices.

There we go, my three words. Now it is time to place these four pictures up on my wall, so I can be reminded of them everyday that I am in the office.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2014: Back to Blogging

2014 will enter the 9th year that I have been on blogger blogging. I have not blogged in a long time. The last post has been about 8 months ago. It actually took me awhile to get into it because of changes of emails and passwords.

It was interesting to see the 'data' on the dashboard. How many people were coming to the blog still and what they were reading. I then scrolled down to look at the years and how much I posted in those years. Here is the list:

2006 - 45 posts
2007 - 345 posts
2008 - 465 posts
2009 - 145 posts
2010 - 97 posts
2011 - 26 posts 
2012 - 46 posts
2013 - 6 posts

Thus, it has been awhile since I have been active. I am hoping that 2014 will be a year where I will be active again. i I am also going to go back to blogging across the spectrum: life, church, campus ministry, family activities and more.

There has been a challenge of 3 words. 3 words are choosing 3 words that will define your year. I am planning on doing this tomorrow at my quiet time. Maybe, writing will be one of the three.