by Kathye Hamm
One of the joys of this call for me is that I get to visit pastors, church leaders and congregations. Here are some experiences I’ve had this summer:
· Elim, Petaluma: Pr. Patrick Torbit serves here. They were getting revved up for their summer VBS! Lots of good energy! It was fun to preach there and to give the Children’s Message as well!
· Faith, Palo Alto: I preached and then sat out on the front porch of their parsonage talking with Pr. Bernt Hillesland. He and I attended the same divinity school – with many years between, of course – and so it was good to talk about our time there as well as “talk church”.
· Executive Skills for Church Leaders: Spent a week at Cal Lu with some SPS pastors and others (see SPS FB) going over mission strategies, leadership, marketing and financial “stuff”. What a gorgeous campus! Good to get away, talk with colleagues and learn church management.
· Our Savior’s, San Francisco: Pr. Evered Cohen is a faithful pastor who always inspires me! Every now and then, I worship here and am always welcomed! There’s strong preaching, good liturgy and spirited music!
· Luther Reading Group: I’m not able to attend every month, but when my schedule allows, I go to the seminary and engage in conversation over a Lutheran Reading. Pr. Diane Bowers shares her knowledge of Luther, and pastors and laity have great conversations together!
· Pride Parade! This was a joy – once again! So good to lift up the Good News that all of God’s children are invited to the party!
· Faith, Chico: A member of Faith gave me a tour of Paradise and how the town is slowly re-building. (See SPS Facebook page) Pr. Ben Colahan is a wonderful spiritual leader for that congregation which is still finding ways to reach out to those affected by the Camp Fire – some of whom are members of Faith. This was my church when I was in college – so it was a joy to preach there.
· Alma Via Assisted Living: At the end of this month, we will move my Aunt Mary to Alma Via. I mention this for two reasons.
1) Pr. Steve Churchill is the Chaplain there and is a well-respected member of that team.
2) On the site where Alma Via now sits, used to be Faith Lutheran Church. They made the faithful decision to sell their property and to work with Elder Care Alliance, a non-profit associated with the Roman Catholic church, to build this home for older adults who need assistance. So now it will be my Aunt’s new home. My heart is filled with gratitude for those courageous saints who made that faithful decision.
In my visits to congregations, I am always filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the faithful and dedicated pastors and church leaders who are engaged in ministry. I am also always delighted by the many ways that congregations and pastors relate and adjust their ministry to their unique context. It is a pleasure to see the gifts of creativity, flexibility and faithfulness being used for God’s work around our synod!
I believe God is smiling!
May God bless you and your congregation as you enter the Fall!
In Christ’s love,
September 17, 2019
September 10, 2019
September 03, 2019