A Surreal Moment

Tonight marked a surreal night for us. We had over Pastor Firminhac and family for our “last supper” before they leave for Torrington. Sunday was his last Sunday at Trinity. Following services, a farewell potluck reception was held in his honor. It was a record turnout to say the least. Tables and chairs had to be brought up multiple times because of the lack of seating.

We spent two hours together enjoying each others company. Wesley got to play with their three kids one last time and Bryce had no shortage of people to hold him.

Over the last almost six years, the one thing I regret the most is not doing this more often. It’s not a usual thing to have two pastors in a church, so having this kind of fellowship is a true blessing.

As they prepare to leave Gillette either tomorrow or Thursday, we wish them God’s safety on their travels and blessings as he begins his ministry as the pastor of Our Savior Lutheran in Torrington.


imageChanges are happening at Trinity Lutheran Church. Earlier this month on March 6, our senior pastor, Rev. Scott Firminhac, received a call to be the pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Torrington, Wyoming. After prayerful consideration, he announced today that he has accepted that call. His last Sunday here at Trinity will be on Palm Sunday, April 17.

I would ask for your prayers for Trinity and for me as we transition from a two-pastor ministry to a single-pastor ministry and for Our Savior and Pastor Firminhac as he begins his ministry there. This will be a difficult transition and time for both congregations. Pastor Firminhac has served at Trinity for 13 years. Our Savior’s previous pastor has served there for 30 years. Having a new pastor for them will be a very big transition.

As Pastor Firminhac said in his letter to the congregations, this is not his Church and it is not the congregation’s Church – it is God’s Church. God’s Church will continue, both in Gillette and in Torrington, regardless of who is behind the pulpit. God’s Word will be preached and His Sacraments will be administered. We pray that God’s Church will grow and many will hear the saving message of Christ crucified for us sinners.

Heavenly Father, You give to Your Church faithful men to be ministers of the Gospel. We thank You for the ministry that You have given to Pastor Firminhac at Trinity over his tenure here. As he has accepted the call to be the pastor of Our Savior, give to him that wisdom that comes through Your Word as he ministers to the saints of Our Savior. Bless his ministry as continues to be a faithful servant of the Word as a servant of Your Church. Continue to be with me and my ministry at Trinity, that these saints may continue to be fed by Your blessed Word and Sacraments. Continue to remind the members and pastors of these congregations that this is Your Church and You will give to her servants those tools that are necessary for the furthering of Your kingdom here on earth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Advent is blue for a reason=Depression

I was doing some looking into the trends of churches which use blue over purple for Advent.  Several of my pastor friends have thoughts as to why it should blue over purple or purple over blue.  Then I came across this post, Advent is blue for a reason.  This pastor writes:

I would argue that Advent is blue and for a reason.  For many pastors, the season of Advent is a very depressing time. 

He later goes on saying:

Needless to say, the season of Advent, and the entire month of December, can be draining on a pastor, both physically and emotionally.  I always look forward to a vacation right after Christmas, but that may not happen for every pastor.  During December, a pastor is running at 200% and still has things on his “To-Do” list.  Through all of this, a pastor has to have a smile on his face and seem as if nothing is bothering him.

He hasn’t posted anything in a little while, but I think that this is a good post.

Wonderful quote

Dark My RoadWhen I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago, I had lots of time to do nothing while sitting on the plane.  I had ordered a book just prior to my leaving, but couldn’t wait for it to arrive.  Fortunately, there was an option of downloading the book in PDF form, so of course, I did.  I printed it the day I left for my vacation and read the first 70 or so pages of it (it’s only 95 pages) before I touched down in Indy.  I would have probably finished it on the flight, but I don’t think they would have liked it if I stuck around on the plane just to finish reading the last 20 pages.  🙂

What is the book you’re wondering?  What is the quote you’re wondering?  The book is entitled “I Trust When Dark My Road: A Lutheran View of Depression” by Rev. Todd Peperkorn.

The following is a quote from chapter eight of the book entitled “Forsaken.”

God’s Word does what it says.  When you can’t “inwardly digest” the Word as you wish, it still does what our Lord promises.  When confession is lost upon your lips, our Lord forgives your sins out of His mercy, for He will not let a sickness or weakness on your part deny you what you truly need, namely His healing Word of forgiveness.  And when prayers is something that you used to do, the Spirit prays with you and for you, in ways that we cannot even fathom.

I think this is just a wonderful quote all around!  It not only speaks about the sickness and disease of depression, but it speaks about the sickness and disease that we all face, that being of sin.  Because of our sin, we can’t “inwardly digest” God’s Word.  Because of sin, confession is the last thing that we want on our lips because if we confess, that means we did something wrong.  Through all of our sin, God continues to be there.  His Word continues to be there and His promise of grace through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ continues to be there.

Note: Soon I hope to have a review of this book posted.  Watch for it in the future.

Ordination anniversary

Four years ago today, I was ordained into the office of holy ministry.  On April 26, 2005 when I received my first call to be a pastor, President Wenthe read these words to the men who had just received calls:

Go, then, take heed unto thyself and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghose hath made thee an overseer, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.  Feed the flock of Christ, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lord over God’s heritage, but being an example to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, thou shalt receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.  The Lord bless thee from on high and make thee a blessing unto many, that thou mayest bring forth fruit, and that thy fruit may remain unto eternal life.  Amen.  (The Lutheran Agenda, p. 109)

These words are a very tall order.  They should put the fear of God into a man who has received a call into the office, for it is indeed a very important office which we undertake.  These last four years have been challenging, both on a personal and spiritual level.  However, if asked if I would trade my vocation for that of another, my answer would wholeheartedly be no.

Congregations and New Pastors: A How To Guide

My installation (7-17-05)Rev. Paul McCain from Cyberbrethen posted a wonderful article entitled “Congregations and New Pastors: A How To Guide.” This is a wonderful article and I encourage all pastors to read this! It is sound advice for congregations which will receive a newly ordained candidate, churches who will call a pastor from the field, and finally, for ALL churches with a pastor.

Vatican Declares Automatic Excommunication

Women clergy I did a post a year ago about women being ordained in the Roman Catholic Church.  Well, the Roman Catholic Church is now coming down on that.

On May 29, the Vatican declared that any women who attempt “ordination” or any bishops who attempt to “ordain” women are automatically excommunicated from the Church by their actions. The decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is said to be absolute, universal and immediately effective.

From the decree:

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
General Decree

Regarding the crime of attempting sacred ordination of a woman

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of holy orders, in virtue of the special faculty conferred to it by the supreme authority of the Church (see canon 30, Canon Law), in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007, has decreed:

Remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1378 of the Canon Law, both he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, and the woman who has attempted to receive the said sacrament, incurs in latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.

If he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman or if the woman who has attempted to receive holy orders, is a member of the faithful subject to the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches, remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1443 of the same Code, they will be punished with major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See (see canon 1423, Canon Law of the Eastern Churches).

The current decree will come into immediate force from the moment of publication in the ‘Osservatore Romano’ and is absolute and universal.

William Cardinal Levada
Angelo Amato, S.D.B.
Titular Archbishop of Sila

What makes a pastor?

A good friend and brother in the ministry wrote a recent post about “undressing” in a 7-11 convenience store.  When I say “undress,” I meant he removed his plastic tab collar of his clerical shirt.  A man there was practically offended at what he had done because my friend was a “holy man of God.”  In short, “his priest would never lower himself by taking off his Godly clothes while in public.”  Here are some questions for your pondering.

  • What makes a pastor?  Is it the “Godly clothes” which anyone can buy online or is it the call by the Holy Spirit?
  • What makes me a “holy man of God?”  Is it because I’m a pastor that I can call myself a “holy man of God?”
  • Is a pastor the only “holy man of God?”  Does that mean that laity are not “holy people of God?

I don’t expect to get any answers, but that’s just my pondering right now.