The author of Ecclesiastes wrote “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Seventeen years and seven months is the time of my tenure as pastor at Rushford Lutheran Church. I have been able to reap the benefits of those who planted seeds before me and I have planted seeds, too, which others will be able to reap the benefits from. What are some of those seeds? First and foremost, I have preached the gospel in its truth and purity, as I was taught, as I understand the scriptures. I have not deviated from the doctrinal teachings of the Lutheran Church to “go with the flow” of some. I have administered the sacraments in accordance with the teachings of our church. These things are most important to me. Woe to me if I have not served my Master in the manner of my calling. I am a sinful human being, for I sin each day in thought, word, and deed; but I know that my Lord Jesus forgives me all my sins and gives me his Spirit that I may be holy and righteous in the sight of God. I strive each day to be a better person than I was the day before. Forgiveness is the key—forgiveness given and received, bundled in the love of Christ and our love for one another too. Forgive one another. Love one another. I have tried to be a model of this lifestyle.
On some days I think about members of our church who have died, people I miss and whose witness to their faith in Jesus Christ has guided me. I have learned how to be a better person, to be more patient, more generous, from some of you. Indeed, we all have an impact on one another, for good or for bad. I thank you for your mentoring presence in my life.
It has been a joy to see the children grow up. Those who were babies when I came have now graduated from high school. Baptisms are a time of great joy for me!
We certainly aren’t the same church we were in 2000 when Judy and I came. Back then you had two full time pastors. After Pastor David Watson left in 2005, I became a solo pastor. In 2006, we built the new addition. In 2007, we experienced the flood. In 2008, I went to Tanzania for almost three months to recover. In 2010, we left the ELCA and became a member of LCMC. We have become a church of ministers. I firmly believe in the priesthood of all believers, as Martin Luther taught. People, moved by the Spirit of God, have stepped forward to teach, to preach, and to lead worship services. We have children and adults who sing to the glory of God. We have weekly volunteers who do ministry in various ways. Our ministry reaches out into the community and around the world through various programs and institutions we support and pray for. We have been blessed to be a blessing to others!
Over the past several years following the flood we have continued to repair and improve the infrastructure of the church, inside and out. Thank you to all who have contributed so generously to get these projects done; you are a blessing to this church. God knows your heart.
The work of ministry never ends, but I leave you knowing you are in a good and safe position to be a strong Lutheran witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in Rushford and the surrounding area.
It has been my privilege and honor to serve as your pastor. God bless all of you and grant you peace and joy in your daily lives.
In Christ’s love,