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Everyone Is an Interim

My time of providing pastoral leadership at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church is now coming to a close. What a joy this has been! This congregation is blessed with faithful, dedicated people, high quality leadership, and excellent music (and therefore spirited worship).

And also loving care.

I have felt that genuine loving care first in the form of a warm welcome and expressions of appreciation. But in these last months that loving care has been both needed and felt as Char deals with breast cancer. Thank you.

The job of a pastor is to love people. That’s what opens us up to the love of God in Jesus. Love is what allows us to confess our sins. Love is what motivates us to love. Love is the prerequisite for proclaiming the Gospel. Love always asks, “What is best (not the same as easiest) for this person right now? What do they need? Where are there hurts I could help heal?” You have been pastors to me.

So, everyone is an interim. Some are just longer term than others. When I came to St. Stephen's, we all knew I would be here for but a brief time. We all hope that Pr. Sue will be here for a long time. But this coming pastorate will some day also come to an end. We are all interims.

Another word for that might be “stewards.” We are here for a time and have the privilege and responsibility of caring for our work, our church, our relationships. But it’s all temporary. Someone else will come after us to be the next interim. As Augustine said, there is no continuing city on this earth.

I hope you take joy in this. Our job is not to fix everything. It’s to take care of things as best we are able. And to trust that God will raise up new stewards. And to trust that God will welcome us home when our interims are all done.

So, peace be with you, people of St. Stephen’s. Be well.

Also, Kanchalee isn’t too bad! (Just checking to see if she read this.)


Pastor Mark Walters


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