Moving to a new state, preaching, presiding at Holy Communion for the first time, attending council and Worship committee meetings and WELCA studies, teaching Middle School Sunday School, getting to know the city, looking for jobs, starting a new school….whew! It’s been quite a month for me and my family! First, I want to thank you all for the very warm welcome you have given Cory, Kasia, and me. From the groceries stocked in our fridge to the toys and books filling the shelves in Kasia’s room, we are very grateful to you for caring for us even before we arrived.
In the middle of all that we have adjusted to this past month, I also received some sad news. One Monday afternoon a couple weeks ago, I learned that my dear friend, Jo, had died. Jo was a Christian mentor to me in college, as she’s been a mentor to countless other young women over many years. I had been thinking a lot about her since she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer over two years ago (and I’m thankful our paths crossed several times during those years).
She and I had some disagreements over the years over theological views, since I had left my evangelical church after college and returned to the Lutheran church. But, we agreed to disagree on some things and understood that we were ultimately united by our trust in the work of Jesus Christ. And there’s absolutely no doubting the impact this woman had on me. I learned so much from Jo and her husband about what it means to really invest in a young person’s life, to open their home, hearts, and daily schedules to college students. And about what it looks like to make a person feel valuable and unconditionally loved. Jo had a real knack for that.
So I’m thinking about what Jo taught me as I also think about this coming year of ministry alongside you. One of my prayers for us this year (and I have lots of them!) is that together we can explore and grow in our understanding of what it means to invest ourselves, as a congregation, in the lives of our neighbors. Of children who need adults consistently in their lives loving them and telling them of God’s love for them. Of young mothers and fathers overwhelmed with the demands of parenting and working–or not being able to work. Of people right in this neighborhood who need community and the good news of God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
“Intern Inspirations” is the pastoral intern’s article printed in our monthly newsletter.