Transition Process

This weekend, ECLC pastors and staff, council, and the three teams leading the pastoral transition (transition team, call committee, and welcoming team) will meet with our transition consultant, Jim Pence of Walkalong Consulting. Jim will be training our teams as they prepare to lead the pastoral transition over the course of the next several months. The goal of this gathering is to train teams in the process; customize the congregational assessments; and develop a communications plan for keeping the congregation informed. Please join Jim Pence this Sunday during the Forum in the Sanctuary at 9:45 a.m., as he reports to the congregation and helps lead us through a time of growth and change. Please keep the following people in your prayers as they commit their hearts and minds, time and energy to this process:

  • Transition Team: Kathy M. Chair; David E.; Linnea H.; Liz P.; Steve S.; Mark S.; Amy S.
  • Call Committee: Jim S., Chair; Allison B., Youth; Mary Dee H.; Peter H.; Dave I.; Kathy K.; Camilla M.; Stephanie R.Y.
  • Welcoming Team: Judy A., Chair; Matt A.; Katherine B.; Tom D.; Mary L-H.; Gretchen L.; Joe L.; Doris P.

What I didn't expect upon entering the courtroom...

Sitting just outside the jury box with 79 other randomly selected and inconvenienced souls was not my first, second, or third choice for how to spend a Monday morning, the day after the 5th Sunday after Epiphany (otherwise known as the day after the Superbowl). We were stunned into silence. The jury clerk said we were the quietest bunch she’d ever had. I was given a number—lucky 13.

We waited a couple of hours before entering the courtroom and engaging in the “Voir Dire” process. It felt like confession. If voir dire is not a part of your everyday vocabulary, it refers to the process by which the judge and lawyers narrow the pool of jurors. They interviewed each of the jurors about our backgrounds and beliefs. Unlike private confession, however, we did this individually in front of everyone. As often as I have listened to people confess their sins, I wanted to close my eyes in this instance as people revealed their secrets in front of an audience, without a chance for absolution. After each person took to the microphone and shared his or her name, age, occupation, family composition, hobbies, news sources, and several other personal details, the judge and lawyers proceeded to ask questions to determine anything that would prejudice a particular juror for the case. We were instructed to raise our hands if any of us could say yes to any of their questions and then they would probe further. For example: Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Would your religious beliefs prevent you from being fair or impartial? Is there anything we haven’t asked you that you think we should know? Would being selected as a juror for this case be a devastating hardship for you?

Despite my objections, they didn’t seem to think being a pastor and parent of three children under three years old disqualified me from service. The Monday morning voir dire stretched into Tuesday afternoon selections, and Tuesday afternoon stretched into five weeks of service for a federal criminal case. The circumstances that brought the defendants to court were complicated and I won’t bore you with all the details here, but I will say that I was stretched in positive and constructive ways. From learning about the criminal justice system, to deliberating with complete strangers, to realizing the import of our collective decision as a jury of peers, I am better for the experience. If summoned again, would I willingly serve? Absolutely…but hopefully I don’t get called again for a very, very long time! If you’re curious and want to learn more about my experience, let’s sit down for a cup of coffee and I’ll tell you. Thank you for your support and encouragement as I fulfilled my civic duty. I’m also so thankful for my husband and family who endured a challenging schedule.

God’s Peace, Pastor Stephanie

A Note from Kristian: Preparing for Sabbatical

After a 3-year delay due to the building project, I’m excited to finally be going on sabbatical next week! I plan to start with some much-needed rest before Donell and I move from Minneapolis to Burnsville in April. In May, I’ll take the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising course at Luther Seminary, followed by a trip to Missouri to help my elderly parents downsize. I also intend to have fun devoting time to my sorely neglected reading list, Netflix queue, and stack of Lego kits before returning to work on June 21, 2017.

I’m confident that things at ECLC will continue to run smoothly while I’m gone, thanks to the great team who’ll be pitching in to cover my responsibilities: Eileen, Erik, Harlan, Lisa, Rynda, and Stephanie. Don’t worry about keeping track of who’ll be doing what. Just contact Lisa at 952-926-3808 or and she’ll direct you to the right person to assist you.