Update: Posted March 21, 2019
The Transition Task Force (TTF) is busy working on the many aspects of preparing for calling a new lead pastor to Easter Lutheran. The whole team of twelve is reading the book, “Inside the Large Congregation” by Susan Beaumont. This highly-regarded book will help us understand the unique challenges and strengths that come along with being a congregation of our size.
While much gathering and reviewing of information is happening within the team, two very visible and valuable activities need the input of the whole Easter community – The Story of Easter and the Congregational Survey.
The Story of Easter is a 10-foot long visual depiction of some key points in our 40+ year history, with space for people to add their personal highlights from the past and their hopes for the future. For the last three Sundays in March at each site, timelines were on display in the gathering spaces for everyone to add post-it notes with their personal stories of Easter. The information shared will be compiled, summarized and communicated in the near future. If you want to share more hopes for the future at Easter, comments are always welcome and can be emailed to PastorLamont@easter.org.
The Congregational Survey will occur at the beginning of April at all worship services and will also be available at easter.org (Events & News). The survey’s purpose is to gather input from the Easter community to determine what gifts and skills are deemed the most important when seeking our new lead pastor, and our priorities as a congregation for the next few years. Now is the best time to give input – complete the survey with your ideal image of a new lead pastor and the priorities for Easter’s ministry areas. When you are finished with the survey, please pray—for the process and the people involved—and remember that pastors, task force members and call committees are human, and we are all in this together!
Update: Posted March 21, 2019
A New Day Dawning
“After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. Suddenly there was an earthquake; for an angel of the Lord . . . came and rolled away the stone and sat on it . . . the angel said, ‘do not be afraid; I know you are looking for Jesus . . . go quickly and tell his disciples, he has been raised . . . and indeed he is going ahead of you . . . there you will meet him.’” (Matthew 28: 1-8)
People of Easter, I have good news for you! Out of the diminishing darkness a shadowy figure stepped forth just before dawn. Jesus was raised! God was powerfully present in God’s promises bringing light from darkness, hope from despair, life from death!
And you know this is true. Not only because it happened 2000 years ago, but because this year marks the 45th anniversary of the birth of this amazing faith community known as Easter Lutheran Church. For 45 years God has been powerfully present in God’s promises leading this community through opportunities and challenges, blessed to be a blessing to all within and around us. Thanks be to God!
The powerful presence of God we celebrate this Easter season and in this season of Easter’s 45th year, is only possible because God’s presence takes shape in this time for and through you as members of this faith community. God’s story, Easter’s story and your story are linked in powerful ways. These interwoven stories tell us something of who God is, of who you are and of who we are together. Our timelines are woven together in God and in community here.
But, people of Easter, I have more good news for you! There is still more ahead.
A New Day is Dawning. Through a shadowy season of uncertainty, rays of light shine forth illuminating new life. Christ is risen! The future shimmers with possibilities bright with the promise and presence of God. Jesus is going ahead of us into this new day. We will meet him there.
Easter Lutheran Church is about to emerge from interim into the dawn of a new day! The transition task force has been working diligently. Their final report will come before the congregation for adoption as our official Ministry Site Profile on May 19. After that, the call committee will begin its search to find the person God is calling to join us in our on-going mission to “grow in faith and carry on the work of Jesus Christ.”
And what should all of us do in the mean time? Pray! Pray for the call committee, for our elected leaders, for our pastors and staff and for the one whom God is even now preparing to join us.
But there is more to do than pray. We must also prepare ourselves and our church home so that we may be ready to receive our new lead pastor and to
respond to the call of A New Day Dawning. To help us prepare we have initiated a special appeal to:
Repair and Refresh our Buildings for Worship, Education and Partnership
Hill repair and replacement – $200,000
Lake repair and replacement – $150,000
Renew our Resources for Mission and Service in our Community and World
Our goal for this appeal is $750,000.
The appeal will run Easter Sunday through Father’s Day.
All commitments made will be payable by the end of this calendar year, December 31, 2019.
These are exciting times! With your prayers and financial support we will be prepared to meet this new dawn.
Together, we give thanks for God’s faithfulness these past 45 years,
we pray for God’s presence with us today,
we prepare for God’s call into a New Day Dawning.
With Gratitude, Pastor Lamont
Update: Posted February 20, 2019
The Heart of the Matter
I’ve just come from a meeting with some of my favorite people, missionaries who have worked in Tanzania for years serving people through education and public health partnerships. Why do these folks do what they do? They do it out of a deep sense of call and the extraordinary opportunity to be gathered in love into teamwork across cultures, amidst multiple languages, beyond difference, to the heart of the matter.
We are all God’s deeply loved children. Not because of who we are or what we have done. But because of who God is! So what shall we, who are the community of faith here at Easter, do? That is the heart of the matter. That is the question Easter’s Transition Task Force will be working with you to answer within the
next two months.
Rooted in God’s love, how have we been shaped and blessed up to now? Nurtured in a community shaped by God’s grace, how are we being invited to open our minds, our hearts, our hands, to share our blessings in service to others? Where might God’s Spirit be leading us in the future? These are the sorts of questions and dreamings you will be invited to explore over the next two months. We look forward to hearing from each and all of you!
Listed below are the names of those who will be serving on Easter’s Transition Task Force. Pray for them as they do their work to help us prepare for the future God has in mind for us. And, when you are invited to participate in activities they are putting together, please take part. Your involvement is crucial to having an accurate picture of Easter and it’s hopes for the future.
Further information about their work is available at easter.org and will be updated as the process unfolds.
In Christ’s Love,
Transition Task Force Members:
Mission/Vision Team: Tony Becker, Kelly Fisher, Kevin Warnke, and Lynnette LoPresto
Self-Study Team: Tim Loesch, Barbara Moon, Carmen McShane, and Ana Clements
Staffing Team: Mike Sondag, Joe Bortscheller, Samantha Koosmann, and Jane Freeberg
Update: Posted January 23, 2019
Coddiwomple [English Slang]
“To travel purposefully toward an as-yet-unknown destination.”
Yes! That is what a time of transition is all about!
This is where Easter is right now.
We are in transition but moving forward with purpose and energy. We are waiting on the Spirit yet acting in faith.
Worship is vital, the music inspiring, the Word real and engaging. Education across generations continues to inspire, challenge and enrich those who gather in JAM, confirmation, YOWIES, adult studies, Life Groups and Encore. Immersive experiences of partnership and service alter perspectives, open hearts, transform lives.
We are traveling on with purpose! Transition Task Force teams are being formed. Target dates have been set.
- Call Committee nominees will be presented to the congregation for approval at the
Annual Meeting on April 28.
- The final report of the task force teams will come to the congregation at a May 15 Town Hall Meeting which the Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod will attend.
- The Call Committee will gather names work through the summer to discern who God is preparing to be Easter’s next lead pastor. When they are ready, a congregational meeting will be held and a name will be presented.
We travel on with purpose not yet knowing the destination but trusting the One who is preparing both our
way and our future. Pray for your staff, your board, your volunteers, your pastors during this time. Pray for
the one whom God is even now preparing to join you in your faith journey.
Thanks be to God!
Update: Posted December 20, 2018
As we move into a new year the work of Easter’s Transition Task Force (TTF) will begin in earnest. The purpose of the TTF is to gather information and complete tasks that need to be accomplished before we can begin the call process for a new lead pastor.
Our goal is to complete this work by mid-April. A draft report known as the ‘ministry site profile’ of Easter will then be presented to the Vision Board at its April meeting. The next step is a town hall meeting of the congregation in May to discuss and approve a final version of the report. This ministry site profile will be the ‘snapshot’ of Easter Lutheran Church that potential candidates for the lead pastor position will receive when they express interest in the position.
The three task force teams are comprised of a mission/vision team, a self-study team and a staffing team.
A mission/vision team will review Easter’s mission/vision statements and develop a means for gathering congregational input on these statements. (A good portion of this work is already underway through the Front Porch Consultants at Luther Seminary). This team will also review the interface of ministry/programs at Easter with engagement and participation of volunteers. This team will receive the reports of the other teams and coordinate meetings of the TTF and its teams, and compile all the information into the ministry site profile report.
A self-study team will create opportunities for the congregation to visualize, experience and celebrate the history and life of the faith community that is Easter. This team will gather demographic information for Easter and for the community within which Easter is located. (We will be using a free tool, Mission Insite, provided by the ELCA). This team will also assess our current facility and stewardship of space. (The Physical Development Task Force has already compiled much of this information). This team will review the congregation’s communication methods, mediums and processes. Finally, this team will review Easter’s current means of extending hospitality within the congregation and to the broader community.
A staffing team will become familiar with appropriate leadership roles and functions for a congregation
the size of Easter (readings provided). This team will review all existing job descriptions to determine their
inter-relatedness and alignment with the evolving mission and vision of Easter. As part of this review, the team will have one on one conversations with all paid and volunteer staff. This team may also interview board/council or lead staff from other congregations of similar size, to compare and contrast possible staffing models.
Pray for Easter, your leaders, pastors, the TTF and the person God is preparing to join you!
Your partner in God’s mission through Easter, Pastor Lamont
Update: Posted November 20, 2018
“The first duty of love is to listen,” so the great 20th century theologian Paul Tillich reminded us. In my last newsletter article about the transition process here at Easter I drew your attention to the fact that Jesus always stops, looks, and listens to the people who are trying to get his attention. Before responding, even Jesus first takes great care both to truly see and listen to the people.
A question I left you with last month was, “What if we took our cue from Jesus? What if we did some intentional work together to listen to God, to each other, to our neighbors?
A portion of the work a transition team does involves developing ways for congregation members to give input as we seek to reflect upon where Easter Lutheran Church has been, where we are now, and where God may be leading us. With the help of an organizational study group called Front Porch, a group of Easter members will be trained to do interviews. In the coming two months those trained will interview fellow members as well as a number of people from the community surrounding Easter and will seek to listen carefully to what you have to say and to what God may be saying through you.
If you are contacted and invited to do an interview with one of these listeners, please say YES! Your voice is incredibly important as we seek to lean into the future God has prepared for us, Ears First! – Pastor Lamont
Update: Posted October 26, 2018
Ever noticed how much time you spend “on the way” somewhere? Could be you are just on the way downstairs to get coffee. Maybe you are on your way to work, school, practice, an appointment, an interview, or another meeting. Whatever the destination, much of your life is spent “on the way.”
The thing is once we get those destinations in mind, we don’t like to be interrupted. Our main goal becomes getting to our destination. Any interruptions along the way are seen as, well, interruptions, and are, to say the least, annoying! Well, what if there is another way of thinking about those interruptions?
Being “on the way” is not just something that defines your life or mine. Take a close look at any of the Gospels and pay attention to the stories of Jesus’ miracles. When do those miracles take place?
Usually we are told Jesus is “on the way” or “on the road” and then someone interrupts him! What Jesus does along the way is what we all need to learn to do more often. Jesus stops, looks, listens and then responds to the people who have been trying to get his attention. The result is miraculous!
What if instead of being annoyed by interruptions and getting frustrated, we stopped, took a deep breath, and paid attention to where we are along the way and what we are spending so much of our time doing? Chances are there may be some miracles waiting for us along the way.
The faith community at Easter Lutheran Church has been busily moving “along the way.” Pastors, programs, members all seeking to move along, to keep growing in faith and carry on the work of Jesus. Now, suddenly, or slowly over the past year, interruptions have entered into your journey.
What do you do about that? Work harder, keep smiling, just keep repeating, everything is fine, we are on the way and we will get to our destination?
What if we took our cue from Jesus? What if we stopped simply pushing along the way and took time to take a deep breath? What if we did some intentional work together to listen to God, to each other, to our neighbors in the community? What if we took an in-depth look around to see where we are and consider more deeply what we are doing and why? What miracles may lie ahead for us!?
This is the work of the Transition Task Force. The Vision Board officially approved its formation on
October 23 and recruitment of members began immediately after that.
Why not consider being part of this exciting and rewarding work? Contact Pastor Lamont at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Update: Posted September 26, 2018
I am sure that questions are bubbling up in conversations among members throughout the congregation. The interim pastor arrived six weeks ago. What’s happening? Do we have a call committee working? How soon will we have a new lead pastor?
Fair questions. Easter is in a time of “intentional interim.”
What that means is that change is not simply happening to and around us. In fact, we choose to enter this time to do some self-study, re-assessment of vision, and planning before we enter into the search for a new lead pastor. The goal of all this is to prepare us to make the best decision possible in selecting the pastor who will join our community of faith and help lead us into the future God has in store for us.
You will be receiving monthly updates on our work and progress for the next two months. After that, you can expect to receive updates every two weeks. The broad outline of the intentional interim process is as follows. The dates indicated are general but will be the guideline.
- Intentional Interim joins the system, listening, observing, participating – (August/September)
- Recruitment begins for Transition Task Force (10-12 people), three teams; Mission/Vision, Self-Study, and Staffing. More on this in the next two weeks. (October)
- Orientation/Planning – (November)
- Information Gathering: Easter’s Identity, Context, Mission, Resources, Planning Processes, Implications for Staffing, Facility & Space needs. – (November – March)
- Compiling information from interviews, small groups, etc. and completion of Easter’s Ministry Site Profile, a snapshot of who you have been, who you are now and where you believe God is calling you. – (April – May)
- Call Committee likely selected, two of whom will be members of the Transition Task Force. – (April -May)
- Final Report to the Vision Board – (May)
- Congregational Town Hall meeting to share and review the Ministry Site Profile with the congregation – (May)
- Call Committee starts working – (May/June)
- More information about the intentional interim process will be available in multiple formats starting October 2018
Your partner in God’s mission through Easter,
Pastor Lamont Koerner