March 8, 2016
Greetings brothers and sisters,
It is with joy that I begin ministry with you at Trinity Lutheran. Your Congregational Council, Bishop Allende and I have agreed upon a 6-month convent. I have been called as Interim Pastor beginning March 1 – August 31, 2016 serving under a time call. Depending on the needs of the congregation and what life looks like at the end of the next 6 months, will have the option of revisiting and possibly extending our covenant.
After a year of on-leave-from call and many Sundays pulpit supplying around the synod, it is a good and a gift to be planted with you in Lakewood for this Holy and surely Transformative time. I come to you during what I can only assume is an uncertain time with the retirement of your Pastor after a long tenure, as well as the possible sale of your property and move to a new worship location.
My prayer for you is that with the gift of a “pastor in residence”, as a congregation, you can feel some sense of stability in the midst of so much change. Together, I hope we will be able to listen well, ask important questions, and attune our eyes, hearts and minds to God’s presence and God’s desires for the next stages of ministry for Trinity.
As your Interim Pastor, one of the greatest challenges I foresee is negotiating needs and expectations of the role of pastor. In any transition and interim setting, that often serves as a challenge. Because we have agreed to a 1/2-time call, I will have to be diligent to wisely utilize those few hours every week. Having a 1/2-time pastor will mean that the pastor cannot be present in all aspects of life and ministry that you would normally want or expect your pastor to be. Under our covenant, my core duties are to lead and prepare for worship, offer pastoral care including visiting your homebound and hospitalized, and support the work of the congregational council and leaders including your other staff members.
I have been so deeply grateful for the leadership of your Staff, Congregational Council and others who faithfully take ownership and have stepped up to the blessings and challenges of ministry. As a congregation, you are particularly gifted with very capable and faithful leadership –a gift that is crucial during seasons of ministry such as this.
Together, we will watch God do amazing things. My deepest prayer for you as a congregation is that you know deep in your bones the presence of God. You are living into the promises of Grace and Truth even through uncertain and perhaps scary times. Through your acts of faith and courage, may we together find freedom and experience the gifts of New Life!
Yours on the journey,
Pastor Angela Freeman-Riley
You can find Pastor Angela's biography HERE!