Deborah Gelerter is a student at Luther Seminary, St. Paul. She is a candidate for rostered ministry through the Florida-Bahamas Synod, discerning a call to be a pastor. Deborah’s home congregation is St. Timothy, Tarpon Springs. She offers this reflection on this season of formation and learning.
After serving as Assisting Minister this morning, I stood in the doorway to greet the congregation. I should note that after a year, as nearly a hundred parishoners file past and offer warm hand shakes, I am greeted by at least 5 hugs. I suppress a chuckle as I remember the exuberance and hugs of St. Timothy’s (Tarpon Springs,) which would no doubt startle most local MN Lutherans.
One member stood beaming before me. Her eyes flashed and a dimple I’d never noticed before appeared in her cheek. I surveyed the adult version of what I’ve witnessed with some children, so excited they appear to be on tip toe and bouncing in joy. Yes, she looked like that. She leaned closer and said: “Last week after church, Luke told me that it was the BEST Sunday school class they ever had!” Although I could have burst into tears at this news, what came out was: “Well thanks be to God for the work of the Holy Spirit!” This enthusiastic mother was the one who asked me to relieve her this past winter from her reign as female chaperone for youth lock-ins. I survived. I don’t know how she ever managed!
I share this to praise God and offer my deepest thanks for the way you (the candidacy committee) offer support and encouragement. You hear me, and nudge me to take steps I’ve discerned through prayer. And you continue to affirm my creative ideas, and desire to share them in Christ’s ministry. What a gift you are! Thank you.
Today was week 2 of high school Sunday school–we “shared and wondered” about failure, how we define it, experience it, see it in the world, and when what may appear to some to be failure, invites humility, service, compassion and love. I am amazed by their insights and the courage to share. What a joy and blessing this time and learning is.