Three weeks ago, I received a divine call from Crown of Life Lutheran Church in Hubertus, Wisconsin, to serve as their first permanent associate pastor. I announced my acceptance of that call this morning (July 3, 2016) verbally in the post-service announcements at my current congregation, St. Mark’s, and by a letter that was read to the members of Crown of Life after their services this morning. Here is the text of that acceptance letter:
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Dear members of Crown of Life Lutheran Church:
Over the past three weeks, the Lord of the Church has given me the privilege to consider two calls to serve in his kingdom—the call I presently hold to serve his people at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Citrus Heights, California, and the call you have extended to me to serve you at Crown of Life. As challenging as the call deliberation process can be at times, it is a blessing to all involved as pastor and congregations carefully evaluate the abilities and resources they have been given by God.
After prayerfully considering your call, my current call, and the abilities God has given me, I am happy to report to you that I am accepting your call to be your new associate pastor at Crown of Life. I am truly humbled and honored that you have called me to serve you. I am encouraged by the ministry with which God has blessed you and the privilege to be able to serve with Pastor Helwig. I look forward to beginning my ministry among you later this year. Please pray for me, my wife Emily, and our four children as we make our transition to Wisconsin after spending the last 15 years in California.
I am sincerely looking forward to serving your congregation, but the acceptance of this call is also a bit melancholy for my family as we say good-bye to a congregation we have come to know and love for the past five years, and as we bid farewell to northern California which has been our home for the last decade and a half. The people of St. Mark’s and the people of my previous congregation, Gloria Dei in Belmont (near San Francisco), are near and dear to us. They have supported me and my family in good times and bad and have exhibited the love of Christ in so many ways. They are also your brothers and sisters in Christ; they share a common confession with you even though we are separated by nearly 2,000 miles. I ask you to especially remember St. Mark’s congregation in your prayers during the period of transition that they will face in the months to come.
God has richly blessed Crown of Life congregation with a beautiful facility, dedicated ministers of the gospel, supportive members, and a ripe mission field. I pray that I may be a blessing to your ministry even as your call has already been a blessing to mine!
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Johnold J. Strey
I began this blog just before I received my first call to consider while serving at my first congregation, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Belmont, California. Those past blog posts not only record the call letters I sent to the calling congregations, but some of the additional commentary on those posts explained my thoughts and processes going through the deliberation process. As I’ve glanced over those old posts again, it struck me that so much of what I said then applies to this current decision. Rather than rephrasing those thoughts in a new post, I invite you to reread these past posts dealing with the call deliberation process:
- Decision Letter to St. Mark’s; Citrus Heights, CA (2011)
- Acknowledgement Letter to St. Mark’s (2011)
- Decision Letter to Calvary; Thiensville, WI (2010)
- Acknowledgement Letter to Calvary (2010)
- Blog Post about Call from Grace; St. Joseph, MI (2008)
I appreciate your prayers for my family, for my current congregation, and for my future congregation during this time of transition for all of us. In the midst of change, we can be thankful and confident that our never-changing Lord and his never-changing gospel will bless and guide us through the inevitable changes and challenges of life and ministry.