Additionally, while five years seems a rather minor milestone, in the life of this congregation, it is pretty major, considering that of the other seven full-time parish pastors who preceded me, only two served for more than five years - Rev. Ronald Mueller, who served for five years and five months, and Rev. Duane Florschuetz, who served for five years and eight months. Thus, if the Lord grants me another nine months of service here at Peace, I will have served here longer than any other pastor. This history of short pastorates, a few of which were cut short due to severe conflict in the congregation, along with the congregation being vacant for over fifteen years, have presented many unique challenges during my first five years of service here. There have been some rocky times along the way, but the Lord has been with us and has seen us through those times, and He has blessed us with remarkable peace and unity. It has been a pure pleasure to serve this beloved congregation these past five years and I pray that the Lord will grant us many more years together.
And it all began on July 24, 2005, which was the hottest day ever recorded in the history of this planet. Okay, so maybe it wasn't THAT hot, but it was HOT! The brother pastors in our circuit who were there still talk about how hot it was that day, as do the many members of the congregation and the many family and friends who were there. In fact, it was largely due to the extreme hotness of that day that the plan to install air conditioning was expedited and accomplished in short fashion (see, the Lord does work all things together for our good! :).
Not only was it HOT, but the place was packed to the gills (our overflow area was overflowing that day). Having just completed my vicarage at Immanuel, Frankentrost, several members there came for the event, including Pr. Mark Loest, who ordained me. Several family and friends turned out as well, along with several pastors from our circuit and a few from outside our circuit, not to mention the many members of Peace itself. It was packed, more packed than our little congregation has ever been. And, of course, that only added to the hotness! :) But, what a blessing to share this day with so many!
I'll never forget that day. It was without a doubt the most surreal moment of my life. Me, a pastor? That still boggles my mind. That the Lord has called me into His Office and kept me in that Office these past five years truly proves the validity of the saying, "The Lord works in mysterious ways."
Anyway, here are a few pics in remembrance of that day:
I told you the place was packed! At this point, there are still people coming in, too!
Rev. Mark Loest ordaining me into the Office of the Holy Ministry
The laying on of hands
Rev. David Reed installing me as Pastor of Peace
The family - my, how these rascals have grown!
My wife, Lisa, and me (featuring my cheesy, fake smile! :)
Mom and Dad