Greetings Family of Grace,
I’m writing today to provide an update regarding our pastoral transition process. We’ve been feeling this state of transition for some time now, yet as we look around, the ministry of this people and this place continues to move forward. That is a testament to your grace and resilience as a community of faith, and to the staff and leaders we have guiding the way. Thank you for pressing on together during this time of transition.
Pastor Sarah Henrich has helped us bridge the time between early January and the first day for our new Senior Pastor, Deb Stehlin. We are incredibly grateful for her time with us and want to say thank you for her service and wish her well in her future endeavors. She’s shared with us that she has been blessed by you, the people of Grace, during her time here. Pastor Sarah’s last day at Grace will be March 9.
Pastor Deb Stehlin, our new Senior Pastor, will have her first day in the office on March 10th, and her first Sunday at Grace will be March 15. We’ll hold our normal service times that Sunday. One week following, on March 22, we will hold one service at 9:30 am when we’ll be joined by leaders from the Saint Paul Area Synod to officially install Pastor Deb in her role here at Grace. This will be an important and joy-filled celebration and we hope you all can attend. That service will be followed by a celebration brunch hosted by our Welcome Team.
Our Executive Committee has also been working with our synod leaders to find an Interim Associate Pastor to serve alongside Pastor Deb while we begin an official call process for a new associate. Pastor Michelle Gawienowski will be joining us March 10 in this role, and we are excited to have her join us as we begin our next call process.
Your Grace Church Council is currently working to establish a Call Committee for our next Associate Pastor. We expect that committee to be formed and hold its first meeting in April or May with the guidance and partnership of our Saint Paul Area Synod liaison, Krista Lind. We will continue to keep you informed as we know more about the timelines involved in this process.
Should you have more questions, feel free to reach out to the Executive Committee for more information. We have been and continue to be proud of our faith community during this time of transition, and look forward with hope and expectation of a bright future for Grace as we live as a people and place where generosity and graciousness abound.
Grace and peace,