THE PULSE of Prince of Peace
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church newsletter.
Dear Prince of Peace :
Thank you for your continued support during this second year of seminary. I have been busy since the last time that I wrote to you. As I write this, the end of the semester is in sight, and I will be making final preparations for my vicarage. I have just gone through the excitement of Call Day and have placed as a Vicar at St. Lorenz Lutheran church in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Call day was exciting and a humbling experience to go through. It was exciting to stand there and hear my name called and know I have been placed into a congregation as a vicar. It was also humbling to stand there and hear my name called and know that I have been placed into a congregation with the responsibility of being the vicar. It's hard to put in words the feeling I am trying to explain. I am excited to begin my vicarage and serving the people of St. Lorenz. If you have never been to Frankenmuth, I encourage you to google pictures of the town; it is a neat little town that is a huge tourist attraction. The architecture is like what you see if you were to go to Germany, I have been told the church is huge, and I have to go up two flights of stairs to get into the pulpit, the pulpit is up off the ground. I am not looking at many pictures before I get there because I want to take it all in person.
I have been enjoying all my classes this semester because they are helping prepare me for what I will see as a Pastor. The one surprise for me is that I am enjoying my second-year systematics course, Church and World, taught by Dr. Maxwell. Surprisingly, I like this class because I am not a big fan of systematic theology; I understand its importance, but it is not my favorite part of theology. I like practical theology because that is theology I will use as a vicar and as a future Pastor. Church and World is interesting because we are looking at the World the church is in and some of the ideas that have infiltrated the church. We just finished a section on nihilism, and now we are moving on to science and the church and end the semester looking at Buddhism.
I like my Pastoral care and the word class with Dr. Rockenbach; we talked about counseling and how to use scripture when we do counseling. I am learning how to bring the word of God to people who are in challenging situations and what word to bring them. As part of this class, I had to write a wedding sermon and funeral sermon. I struggled to write the wedding sermon because I have not heard many wedding sermons. The funeral sermon was easier to write because I have listened to many great funeral sermons, and I just thought about what was said during the sermon at my dad's service. In my second year preaching class with Dr. Meyer, I just finished a sermon series project to write four sermons about a series. We are entering the last part of the course, looking at how to write sermons on miracles and parables. I will be writing the miracle sermon. I have been looking at the text and trying to figure out what I want to do. I think I will do a narrative sermon which I have not done yet. They gave us several ways to write a sermon during first year, and I have used most of them except for narrative, so I want to give it a try on this sermon. I will let you know how it goes.
I continue my service at my fieldwork church of Good Shepherd in Collinsville, Illinois. I have had a great experience there, and they have done a great job preparing me for my vicarage by letting me do a little of everything I will be doing on vicarage. I have been leading the men's bible study on Saturday mornings at 6:30 am. We have been going through the book of Ezekiel; the elders asked me to lead it after hearing about me studying Ezekiel on my own. I enjoy the time we look at the text, and I get a chance to walk them through some of the Hebrew that gets lost in the translations. I have started to read a great book by Harold L. Senkbeil called Christ and Calamity Grace and Gratitude when the days are evil. It is excellent because it looks at where Christ is during some of the darkest times in our lives. It is great to read because it will be good to refer to on vicarage if I need to help someone understand where God is during their suffering. After I finish reading this book, I want to reread a book from last year that I enjoyed called the Care of Souls by Senkbeil. I want to reread this to help me remember what I am to do as a vicar to have the right heart, a heart to serve and learn to be a sponge, and absorb all that I can to help me be a better Pastor.
As I end this letter, I would like to share a bible verse that I have been referencing as I prepare for my vicarage to help to calm my worries and thoughts about where I will end up serving. It comes from Isaiah 43, one of my favorite bible verses. Isaiah writes," I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel your Savior". As I reflect on this verse, it reminds me that as I go into my vicarage into this new place and new congregation, God is with me and will walk with me as I take on this new role of being a vicar. I would like you to please keep not only me in your prays but my 29 other brothers who are receiving their vicarage assignment as well. Thank you for your continued support, and I will write to you over vicarage to let you know how it is going.