Steve Rizzo went to college expecting to become a copy editor and get into the publishing industry, and graduated with a renewed hunger for an active spiritual life. As a young adult, after college he began working as a copy editor, and found himself having more and more spiritual conversations with friends and others. After a heart-to-heart conversation with his pastor, Steve and his girlfriend Leandra decided to spend a year serving with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program, and spent a year as teachers in Slovakia. This experience strengthened in Steve a commitment to his own Lutheran tradition, as well as an appreciation for the diversity of traditions he encountered in others.
Upon returning to the U.S. after the year as a YAGM, Steve began serving in his congregation, St. Michael, Wellington, FL as the Director of Ministry. While also working as a copyeditor, Steve found more and more joy and life in teaching Sunday School, leading Bible studies and journeying with others into a deeper spiritual life. The more he explored and experienced the call to follow Jesus, the stronger his own call to public ministry became. Now married, Steve and Leandra are responding to this call as Steve applied for and was accepted to Harvard Divinity School, approached and was given a positive entrance decision for candidacy by the Florida-Bahamas Synod Candidacy Committee, and now begins saying ‘farewell for now’ to the community of St. Michael.
Steve’s journey to pursue an MDiv and to seek ordination in the ELCA as a Minister of Word and Sacrament was not what he envisioned when he went off to college to become a copy editor, or when he decided to spend a year in Slovakia, or even when he accepted the position as Director of Ministry in his congregation. But, “at the heart of all these experiences,” he explains, “has stood the monumental figure of Christ. All the pieces of my life…all these separate strands and experiences…are constitutive of my call to follow Jesus; and I am subordinate to that call.”
Steve and Leandra were given a ‘Happy Trails to You’ send-off and blessing by the people of St. Michael, Wellington after Steve preached a final sermon during worship on May 21. In the first week of June, Steve and Leandra began their transition to Harvard, where Steve will begin his studies this summer.
Please keep Steve and Leandra in your prayers!