I was introduced to Faith Lutheran Church, Fairlawn, in 1986 when I was assigned to serve as intern, or vicar, at this congregation. That was during my third year as a seminary student at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus. This congregation was a good setting for learning hands-on ministry; when I returned as pastor 16 years later, I was welcomed by some familiar, and many new faces.
I came to Columbus in 1984 for seminary, having been raised in western Nebraska and having also spent time in the small towns of south east Nebraska where my grandparents had a farm. I went to college near Omaha, and after graduation worked as a newspaper editor for a few years. I also did a full year of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) – which was an unusual occurrence – at a Lutheran Hospital complex. That experience led me to respond to God’s call to ministry and head for Columbus.
After seminary graduation in 1988, I was assigned to the Northeastern Ohio Synod and have served in three calls since my ordination on Dec. 17, 1988: St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sharon Center, St. Luke Lutheran Community in North Canton and, in May 2002, I was fortunate to be called as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Fairlawn.
These years of ministry have passed quickly; my usual response when asked, “How are things going at church?” is, “There is never a dull moment.” And that’s certainly the case; ministry is never completed and there is always a new challenge to face or vision to pursue.
In the midst of it all, I have been blessed by the faithfulness, commitment and compassion of God’s people, for which I am thankful, and which I look forward to continuing as the future unfolds.