Tuesday, October 30, 2007


On October 27, I was installed as the Pastor of St. Luke’s ELCA in Sidney, NY! I am still reeling from the day. It was a blessedly cool, October Saturday in upstate that finally broke into sunny spots after a wet morning. I am always a bit anxious about such liturgies hoping that everything goes off well. It went without a hitch!

There was a good showing despite the rain, and the Choir was awesome. Somehow, I have landed on my feet at St. Luke’s. As much of a musician I am at heart, I have had the good grace to find myself in a parish that counts good music as much of their ministry as good food! Deo Gratias! God is Good!

St. Luke’s is the youngest parish I have ever served, founded only in the 1950’s. I am older than it is. It is modern in design and small which means that it fits the congregation. I preach to a pretty full house on Sundays which is satisfying. There is room to grow too which also keeps me hopeful.

I am called “Pastor” here, so much better than “Muthah” or “Reverend”. It says what I do, not what I am. Like so much of Lutheran theology, it says was macht? rather than was ist?

This congregation is what you would call a Family Sized parish. Sunday attendance is a mere 60. But it is a very healthy parish. There isn’t much push and pull, just the normal stuff that comes when people have strong feelings. They are German and Scandinavian for the most part, but I find just as many Anglophone names as northern European. They have accepted me as I am, warts, Episcopalianism and all. And I am able to accept them as they are and only expect from them what any pastor wants, for them to love Christ with their whole hearts because I know that they will be happy. I am learning to laugh just as easily at Sven and Ole jokes as I have at Paddy and Mike.

We have our first new couple who have come and decided to stay. They are twenty-somethings, newly weds and come from a Catholic/Protestant mix. I am glad that they have found in the parish what I have found—a home.

Most of all it is a wonderful shelter from the sturm und drang of the Episcopal Church these days. I can go on about the ministry of Jesus Christ and still comment on the Episcopal Church on my other blog---www.stoneofwitness.blogspot.com I will never be a Lutheran, St. Luke’s will never be Episcopalian, but it is wonderful to be together to love God and celebrate Christ with us in this town of generous people. May we continue to be good for one another. May we continue to find Christ in each other so we can teach the people of our area what real Christian community is all about! All are welcome!


Anonymous said...

Hi! Congratulations! I don't know if you remember John and I from St. John's at Broad Creek! I was so happy to find your blog! We are members of Holy Trinity in Bowie and have been since 1995. We have two boys, 12 and 8 and both go to the Day School that is part of the church (and I teach there and John is the CFO). I love to read your blog and hear what you've been doing! I'll look forward to reading how your new home is! Take care! Narmeen Jwaideh Reger

Dr. Laura Marie Grimes said...

Congratulations and many blessings on your ministry to and with the people of St. Luke's.

Muthah+ said...

Narmeen, good to hear from you!! Yes, I remember you well. I remember especially the night your father died.

I hope all goes well for you.

Ruth said...

I love the modern little Lutheran churches!

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

Yes, we were so blessed to have you there with us when he passed. Can you believe that was Nov. 7, 1991? Where has the time gone??? We take the boys at least once a year to visit his grave (St. Mary's Church in Piscataway), usually on Christmas Eve. That became a tradition before they were born. I so wish he was here to see them; he would be so proud.

Once again, congratulations on your new home! I look forward to reading your blog!

Take care, Narmeen