This weekend I traveled to Trinity Lutheran, Providence in the Panhandle Conference. Trinity has been served by interim pastor, Eric Petty ever since Pr. Peter Harrington retired. It is a healthy congregation with a great number of young families and children for their small size. But it’s not an easy place to fill a pastoral vacancy because it’s small and rural and fairly remote.
So thanks to new programs for seminary training and Bishop Gronberg’s creative thinking, we went to propose a new opportunity for both the congregation and a young man considering a call to ordained ministry.
Sean McConathy is a member of Trinity in Fort Worth and a graduate of Texas Lutheran University with a degree in theology. He has spent several summers and two full years working in camping ministries. Bishop Gronberg knew he was thinking about going into seminary with the encouragement of his pastor, Kendra Mohn.
He also knew we’ve been benefiting from the new Collaborative Learning program at Wartburg Seminary. It’s a traditional master of divinity program that utilizes distance learning while the students serve in congregations the whole four years. Trinity is a perfect setting for it, and Sean is an excellent candidate to participate.
So Sean traveled with me to meet the call committee on Saturday and then the congregation on Sunday morning, as I explained the opportunity to them. I led worship but Sean did the children’s message and preached.
This Texas boy was an excellent fit for the congregation and they have chosen to move forward with both Sean and the CL program. My hope is that it will not only produce a strong pastor in Sean, but that it will also lead to new energy and potential for Trinity. Who knows? They may become fertile ground not only for producing cotton but also for training up new pastors.