Archive for July, 2013

The following article was written for the July/August 2013 issue of the Digest for Divinity Lutheran Church of Parma Heights, OH. 

flowergrassIn a few weeks I will be moving to St. Louis, Missouri where I will begin my internship year at Bethel Lutheran Church in August.  It has been an interesting few weeks living in Chicago in this season of changes.  Many of my friends have gone to their respective home cities throughout the country, picking up odd jobs to pass the time before internship begins.  Others began their internship as early as June 1.  They are already a month or two into a new community while I am still in the midst of saying goodbye to the St. Luke’s Lutheran of Logan Square, the church where I have worked for the past 18 months as an their administrator.  First year students have begun their Clinical Pastoral Education units, and those where were seniors are now getting ordained or awaiting first call.  All of this is happening while students are moving into Chicago to take their first steps on this wild ride that is a seminary education.

Seminary is an adventure of transitions.  In addition to ebbing and flowing with the transitions of a typical master’s academic school year, our education is coupled with responsibilities that come with being a candidate for ordination in the ELCA.  It seems that every few months we are either moving in or out of a program, city, or semester.  Every few months we are saying hello to new faces and goodbye to loved ones.  I am reminded of the hymn that says our “faith flows like a river.”  These transitions serve as a reminder that the current of our church and its future is strong and powerful, always moving us in and out of life changing places and relationships.

I am fortunate to have a bit of down time this summer before internship and have been able to come back home on an occasional weekend to visit my church and nuclear family.  There was one Sunday when my nephew Alex came sprinting into Divinity’s narthex, grabbing my hand.  With a big smile on his face and a joy in his heart, he pulled me into the sanctuary saying, “Come on, Aunt Tina!  It’s church time!”

I am looking forward to internship with the same sort of joy as my nephew, eager to get to St. Louis and begin this next moment of my faith journey and pastoral development.  My relationship with God and our church is flowing down a river of faith that is filled with exciting hellos and nostalgic goodbyes.  It is odd to think that I may not be home to Cleveland for an entire year, finding the balance between vacation time and affordable travel plans.  It is hard to say goodbye to my apartment that I love in Chicago and the community of St. Luke’s that has been the perfect work environment during these two years of classes and local field education.  It is exciting to talk with my new supervisor and envision what our ministry will look like for the next year.

As Alex so rightly said, “It’s church time!”  This is a time worthy of excitement, enthusiasm, and unbridled joy.  It is time to continue down along this river of faith and immerse myself full time in a community as its vicar, making the final transition from church administrator to pastoral intern.

I remain humbled and awestruck that my relationship with God and the church has brought me to this moment in my faith journey.  I am so grateful for the love and support of my family, our Divinity family, and our synod.  My prayers remain with you over this next year as we continue to grow in our faith and with each other.


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