Faith Matters - When the wind blowsThe only way the past couple of months have made sense to me is in the context of what Jesus says of the working of the Holy Spirit in John 3.
By: Kent Stillson, Pastor, Alexandria Echo Press
The only way the past couple of months have made sense to me is in the context of what Jesus says of the working of the Holy Spirit in John 3.
"The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Shortly before Easter I received a phone call from the assistant to the bishop in South Dakota, asking if I would consider putting my name in as a candidate for call to two congregations in their synod. I caught my breath in surprise.
I arrived only six months before at Bethesda. We have been working on "right-sizing" the congregation to a new way of doing things. We are making progress in families "owning" more of our children and youth ministry and hiring fewer staff to do the ministry. Bethesda is proceeding in learning about the best ministry style that fits its size and demographics.
Is this the right time for a change in pastoral leadership? Ultimately, through prayer and discernment, my wife and I have answered, "yes."
I must admit to mixed feelings. While I am excited and feel the call to a new congregation, I feel badly about leaving Bethesda and the Alexandria community after such a short time. The people have been wonderful.
When I accepted the call to Bethesda, I had the intention of staying years, not months. My wife and I thought we would settle in, buy a home, have our first grandchild while living here, and maybe even grow old in this retirement mecca.
But then, we felt the wind in our face and found it was the Holy Spirit with God's plan not ours. Surprise, surprise!
I wish to thank the Echo Press for allowing this padre to write a message of faith and foolishness for the paper. For all the wonderful people who were kind to the newcomers, thank you! Chiefly, I thank the people of Bethesda who, first, called me to be their pastor, then put up with my unique style of ministry and finally, let me go with grace and prayers and best wishes.
I have accepted a call to be senior pastor at Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Watertown, South Dakota. It has far fewer lakes and trees, but I know the wind (both meteorologically and spiritually) blows there too!
Kent Stillson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.