Dear Members of the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church,
In Mark’s gospel, Jesus is on the move. A gospel written on the move itself, speaking into a community that is seeking comfort, strength, and hope when everything seems to be falling apart, the picture that Mark paints of Jesus’ movement is almost always preceded with the phrase and immediately. When you see that phrase, you know that good news is soon to arrive. It’s a way of letting people know that they aren’t alone. Whether they are prepared for it matters not; God has all things in his hands, and will give his people what they need, when they need it.
Eight months ago, you heard my name in worship, and, a week later, I was among you as your Interim Senior Pastor. It was a crazy, chaotic time in the life of the congregation. Over these past eight months, we have borne witness to the kind of healing that God does in our midst opening us to one another, trusting God’s grace and its sufficiency in our lives and in our life together, putting down our guard and resting in God’s love. Over these eight months, your Church Council has been hard at work putting together five core values, and, in a retreat this week, we have worked to integrate these values into our mission and ministry.
While it may be altogether difficult to see, or understand, you are more fully free to be yourselves in Christ, as a congregation, within this community, for the sake of the world God so loves. There is yet work to do – isn’t there always? – and so, by grace, God will make it possible for you to do that work – together! I am so incredibly proud of you as a congregation, and trust that, by grace, your good ministry will reach out beyond the walls of the congregation and into the community and world in new ways – even ways you cannot imagine. Be open to God’s leading and guiding; God is faithful.
I am so incredibly grateful for our life and work with one another. I revel in reminding you that you are not the same congregation you were when I arrived. But I don’t always tell you this: I’m not the same pastor I was when I arrived. Through you, God has worked to heal me, too, and to prepare me for what is to come. Jenny and I love you all so much; you will always be incredibly special to us!
On September 1, 2017, I will begin a new call as Senior Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Mora, MN. Although there is still paperwork that needs to be signed by me, the Bishop, and the folks at Grace Lutheran, I am planning on taking the call. I wanted to alert you to this as soon as I could – the congregation voted to call me two days ago. Between now and then, we will spend time giving thanks for our time together. I will also be taking a few days of vacation at the end of the month. My last Sunday among you will be 27 August. Apparently, there will be cake on 27 August after worship as we say goodbye! My final day as your Interim Senior Pastor will be Thursday, August 31, 2017. For now, though, I want to say this: I’m grateful for you all!
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Pastor Paul Lutter, Interim Senior Pastor