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So Long! Farewell!

Those are the opening words of a song from The Sound of Music. That song was lighthearted in its presentation but serious in its intent to give the von Trapp family time to escape from the tragedy of their times.

With Pastor Jason’s and Craig’s announced plans to start a new part of their life journey in upstate New York, it is clear they are NOT escaping from a tragedy. Rather, they are leaving behind a strong ministry of caring at St. Stephen’s, a ministry Pastor Jason has nurtured successfully with his dedicated, focused work during his 5+ year tenure with us.

The differences in our congregation’s outreach efforts between 2016, when he arrived, and today are easy to identify. As Congregation Council member Matt Johnson wrote so eloquently in a recent email message:

“I think we are seeing the impact of the gift Jason has for making people feel special.

And the projects like Coffee for Peace that are now in the congregation's hands, those are the fruit of -

  • his gift for talking about St. Stephen's with community partners; and

  • his gift for hustling to get into rooms with community partners and for winning himself servant leadership positions, in the community, that he could leverage for St. Stephen's; and

  • his gift of vision to find new ideas that fit into a great plan for the church.

I celebrate those. And I am excited about the different spiritual gifts that we could find in the next pastor(s) to serve St. Stephen's. There are some amazing preachers, teachers, pastoral-care-givers, etc. in the ELCA, who also have some of these gifts that I have been able to witness in the last five years. “

Matt hit the “nail on the head.” We are all the beneficiary of Pastor Jason’s many gifts. Praise be to God for directing him to our congregation when He did!

So, to Pastor Jason and Craig – “Auf Weidersehen! Adieu!”

Blessings be upon you both. And, thank you!

Bob Linderman

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