I am very excited to introduce to you, Pastor Cindy Halvorson, who will begin serving as Trinity’s part-time visitation pastor on July 1st.
Many of you probably know Pastor Cindy. This spring, she left her position at First Baptist Church in Owatonna, where she served as pastor for over nine years. Since leaving her congregation, she has been doing teaching, leading retreats and speaking on a wide variety of different topics and areas. She had time (and a strong desire) to continue doing some ongoing ministry in a congregation. When Pastor Cindy and I realized that she had time, and Trinity has a need, working together made all sorts of sense. One might even say that it felt like the Spirit was putting this together.
Pastor Cindy’s undergraduate work was at Northwestern College in St. Paul. She received her Master of Divinity degree at Bethel Seminary, and then went on to get a Doctor of Ministry degree at Luther Seminary.
You may recall that our hope had been to call a full-time, permanent fourth member of our pastoral team. At this time, our budget just does not support that. So the decision was made last fall to call a part-time visitation pastor as a step towards a permanent pastor, possibly in 2020, but more likely in 2021.
“But wait,” you might be asking, “you said Pastor Cindy is Baptist. How does that work?” That’s a great question.
Pastor Cindy is not on the ELCA roster as a pastor. That means a couple of different things:
While Pastor Cindy can do visitation, pastoral care, funerals, weddings, teaching and even preaching, she will not be able to administer the sacraments. (She can bring communion to the hospitalized or home bound in the same way that our members who bring the sacraments that have already been blessed do, but she cannot preside at communion.)
When Trinity is ready to eventually call a full-time fourth pastor, Pastor Cindy will not be eligible for that position. We are both comfortable with that, knowing that this is not likely a long-term position.
Just like there are several different “kinds” of Lutheran, there are several different kinds of Baptist. Pastor Cindy comes from the American Baptist tradition, which, of the different types of Baptist, is one of the most similar to Lutheran.
I am very comfortable both with Pastor Cindy’s theology and her approach to ministry. She will be a good fit at Trinity. Many of you heard her speak at Trinity’s first “Leadership Series: Building Capacity, Courage and Community” this past January.
This part-time position is 10-12 hours per week. Because of its nature, this is a contracted position, not a called position, which means that it does not require a call committee or a congregational vote. The majority of Pastor Cindy’s time will be doing visitation. We may occasionally have her also help with preaching, teaching or other ministry areas. But our real need is in pastoral care and visitation ministry.
Please join me in welcoming Pastor Cindy to Trinity!