Pastor’s Post

This section of the website will be used for the pastors to share big-picture information and ideas with the congregation.

Associate Pastor Call Process Update

October 17, 2022 – I want to update you on the call process for our associate position. After conducting interviews with the first slate of candidates, the Call Committee did not see one particular candidate that clearly stood out among the others. Because of this, the committee and I have chosen to release all the first candidates from consideration and request more names. This may be disappointing, as it slows the process of moving forward with a full pastoral staff. However, it’s important to have the right person to serve in this position. We’re fortunate that Pastor Deb Kielsmeier is committed to serving among us until a new full-time associate is called.

As we seek new candidates, we have the opportunity to consider people who are rostered in the ELCA as either pastors or deacons. For many of you, the idea of a deacon may be new. In the ELCA, we have two rosters of ordained ministers. Pastors are called to a Ministry of Word and Sacrament. Deacons are called to a Ministry of Word and Service. Deacons have the same or equivalent education as pastors (Master of Divinity degree). They have discerned that God has called them to a particular area of ministry or to a particular population of people. Deacons often serve as a bridge between church and the wider community. They frequently bring slightly different gifts and perspectives that enable congregations to better meet the needs of its neighbors. Our current search for a Pastor of Discipleship and Community Mission fits well with the gifts of either a pastor or a deacon. At this week’s Church Council meeting, a motion was approved to expand the potential pool of candidates to include deacons, as well as pastors.

What would this mean functionally for how a deacon may serve in this role? A deacon or a pastor would be responsible for developing systems of discipleship across all ages and serve as a primary contact for our community outreach efforts. A pastor or deacon would preach and teach regularly, do pastoral care in homes and at the hospital, and lead the congregation’s mission and ministry. A pastor or deacon could preside at funerals and weddings, so long as communion is not part of the service. The most significant difference would be that they are not authorized or called to preside at baptisms or communion. If we called a deacon for this role, I would preside at baptisms and communion.

I want to reiterate that this doesn’t mean that we are certain to call a deacon. Being open to a deacon in this role provides potentially more candidates that would best match our profile. Since the beginning of the search, the Council and the Call Committee have been committed to finding the best candidate for the position. We remain hopeful and patient as the search continues. Continue to keep the Call Committee and this process in your prayers as they continue this important work on our behalf.

July 2022

Congregational Meeting – Sunday, August 7 at 9:35 am

Please join us for a brief congregational meeting, Sunday, August 7 at 9:35  am in the Fellowship Hall. The congregation is being asked to approve expenses to resurface our North Parking Lot. Per our constitution, non-budgeted expenses of over $100,000 require congregational approval. Coffee and treats will be provided.

A Message from Pastor Jason

I meet with a spiritual director about once a month. In a recent conversation she began with a prayer that was familiar to me, but she amended a couple of lines. “O Divine and Loving God, you have called your servants to adventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths yet untrodden, through perils and possibilities unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go. Only that your hand is leading us, and your love is supporting us, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen”

The thought of God sending us on adventures in this season seems about right. Perhaps you are embarking on a road trip this summer or tackling a long-delayed project. Maybe you’ve had to reassess your priorities or are at a time in life where you are making major lifestyle changes. Some things that we have no choice in can be a significant adventure, too. What we come to trust through this prayer is that God can be at work in all of it. Whatever you are facing this summer, be it peril or possibility, we can trust that God, who is divine and loving, walks with us through all the unknown.

This prayer also has me wondering about what kinds of adventures God is calling us into as a church in this season. What does God have in store for us as we seek to do be faithful in our ministry. One path we know we are on is the call process for an associate pastor. The call committee is made up of a wonderful group of people: Doug Berg-Williams, Mary Yackley, Luke Reisig, Jenny Sanford, Chris Blake, Nancy Huart, April Simek, and me, Pastor Jason Bryan-Wegner. In the coming weeks, there will be opportunity for you to submit names of potential candidates you’d like the committee to consider. Updates on the call process and ways to submit those names will be available at church and on our website. Look for more details there.

What we don’t know yet is what kinds of gifts and passions this pastor will bring to Augustana. The feedback provided by the congregation in the spring listening sessions convinced me that we need to be specific about the gifts and skills we’re looking for in our next associate pastor. Repeatedly, people expressed a desire for Augustana to strengthen ministry with younger generations and to deepen our connections to our immediate neighbors. Because of this feedback, we will be searching for a Pastor of Discipleship and Community Mission, rather than a generalist associate pastor. By being specific, our hope is that we are working with the Spirit to find the right person, for the right position, in the right congregation.

Wherever your adventures take you this summer, may God grant you an abundance of faith, hope, and love to be your guide.

Peace,

Pastor Jason

June 2022

Associate Pastor Call Process 

The process to call an Associate Pastor is underway. A Call Committee has been approved by the Church Council. Members of the committee are: Doug Berg-Williams, Jenny Sanford, Chris Blake, Luke Reisig, Mary Yackley, April Simek, Nancy Huart, and Pastor Jason. This pastoral position will be called Pastor of Discipleship and Community Mission. Based on feedback received during the Listening Sessions this spring, we have identified our need to focus on ministry with younger generations and our immediate neighbors. The Call Committee will meet in the coming weeks to identify a Chair and meet with Bishop Lull for orientation. We are fortunate that much of the preparatory work was completed during the process to call Pastor Jason. Because of this, we should be able to interview candidates this summer.

Office Hours &
Building Information

Monday–Thursday
8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Fridays
8:00 – noon

The main building entrance is located on the east side of the church and is open on Sundays and during the week. For security purposes, the north entrance is only open on Sundays and for special events.