Pastor’s Reflection

Dear Friends at CLC,
As the months roll on since I began this interim pastoral position with you, I experience more and more the breadth and the depth of this congregation. In case you had not noticed this about yourselves, these truly are dimensions of strength on which you can enjoy the present and utilize as you anticipate your future. The breadth of love and compassion that I see in operation and the depth of thoughtfulness and intentionality in living out your faith are assets that cannot be quantified, but certainly are inspiring. You are to be commended since this is not experienced widely among congregations in general, in my experience. You have been most gracious to me as I adapt to your style and as we learn to operate together during this interim phase. These qualities will continue to serve you well when you welcome new pastoral staff and as new members join you.
What it means for this congregation to be in transition is coming more and more into focus as time goes on. Your Transition Team is fully devoted to doing its best work under the capable leadership of Megan Meadows and Pr. John Mann. I encourage you to be present for the Life and History event planned for Monday, Nov. 12 at 7 pm. This evening will include a very significant piece of work that needs to be accomplished for the Transition Team to have a clearer picture of how CLC sees itself currently. Your voice and presence are important to creating this holistic view that will shape the work going forward.
As I reflect more on what needs to be communicated during this transition, I realize a need to communicate a bit on my schedule and how my time is spent. My office hours are being published as 8 am – 4 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I chose those days for two reasons. The first is that I am on a 3/4 time contract, so three office days seemed reasonable. The second reason is that most meetings which I attend occur on Tuesday- Thursday.
However, I take the pastoral role seriously, so I fully recognize that being available for times outside of stated hours is necessary for pastoral emergencies and for special occasions and events. For example, I enjoy going to the birthday parties at Laclede Groves on Mondays, and I make hospital visits on whichever days are needed. I usually write sermons in my home office on Friday or Saturday, after thinking through the study and reflection I’ve worked on throughout the week on the theme of the day.
Additional responsibilities include attending two monthly meetings with Pr. John Mann. One of these meetings is designed especially for the ELCA team in St. Louis, for mutual resourcing and support for all people serving in interim capacities as well as those who are being trained to do so in the future. I was part of this group which meets on the fourth Thursday afternoon of the month for a year before I came on board at CLC, having served primarily as pulpit supply previously. The second meeting is available to anyone who wants to grow in understanding healthy family systems work (think Friedman, Bowen, Steinke, etc) and it is held on the first Thursday of each month from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Creve Coeur. All of us on the interim team are expected to be present for it as it is a very helpful resource in understanding congregational dynamics. If you are interested in joining, please let me know or just show up.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to be in service to God with you during this transition for you. Please contact me at 636.357.1987 if you need to reach me beyond office hours.
Pastor Stephanie