“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:9-11).
These words of God that come to us through the ancient prophet are just as relevant now as they were when proclaimed 2600 years ago. In fact God’s word has been active since the creation and will continue to be. It’s important for us to remember this especially during this uncertain time at Immanuel Lutheran Church. Will our pastor be able to return and resume her duties? If so, when? We would like to know; but we must wait to find out. In the meantime we trust in God to guide and to empower us.
I worshipped at a congregation in a Salt Lake suburb last spring that had gone without a pastor for over 4 years! We might wonder how did they survive? Well, a small group of members went through training during those years (similar to the LPA training that Ron & Nancy Marks along with CeeJay Brown are undertaking through the Montana Synod). Furthermore the congregation banded together and carried on its ministry. Not only did that community of faith survive, it has thrived! They finally called a black woman pastor from the south and now are actively involved in prison ministry and an outreach to homeless people. Those of us who were visitors were warmly welcomed; and there was a spirit of hospitality and joy. It was truly an inspiration to worship with them!
The ministry of Immanuel has continued even in the absence of our pastor – thanks to the Holy Spirit, the staff, able leaders, and faithful members. To be sure it is only natural for us to experience anxiety during this time of waiting and wondering; but God has a wonderful way of accomplishing God’s purposes in spite of the odds. Every congregation goes through challenging times of uncertainty. These times may be similar to the wilderness wanderings that the Israelites experienced after they were freed by God from slavery in Egypt and were making their way through the desert back to the Promised Land. Those years of transition gave them an opportunity to learn the importance of trusting in God to provide for them, protect them, and guide them.
Now we enter a new chapter. Rev. Kristi Bummer will be serving as our interim pastor. She is prepared to serve until Pastor Jordan is able to return or will serve until a new pastor can be called if need be. Rev. Bummer grew up in Scobey, Montana; and has served numerous congregations both as a called pastor and as an interim. Her uncle, Lee Bummer, was a member of Immanuel until his death a few years ago. Let’s give Kristi a warm welcome and offer our support as we continue the vital ministry that we share together in Christ!
It has been a joy and a privilege to fill in since the end of August as your pastor.
Once again I look forward to being a “regular” member: worshipping, enjoying the fellowship of the congregation, and serving where ever I can. Carrol and I continue to pray for Pastor Jordan’s recovery; and we look forward to welcoming Pastor Bummer for the interim.
Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Greg Karlsgodt