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A Message from Pastor Jen Collins & the Grace Church Council

June 14, 2022

To the Grace Lutheran Church community,

It is the Voice of the Lord who asks, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Another voice then responds, “Here I am, send me!” The one who responds then indeed discerns and prepares to be sent to a community, commissioned to be a witness, and serves according to their calling. But, they might also find themselves asking, “For how long, Lord?” I recall the words of Isaiah, because when I was invited to be an Interim Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, it was a clear “yes, send me” and then a “how long?” What was to be a short interim became a longer time spent, nearly two years I’ve journeyed with you all.

A church family is constantly changing. Loved ones come to the end of their lives, and individuals come and go in a church’s life. It is important and right that we acknowledge these times of passage – of endings and beginnings. Today I write to inform you that I, Pastor Jen Collins, have accepted a new call to be the Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis in the Minneapolis Synod. My time with you at Grace as your Interim Pastor is coming to an end. My call at Grace Lutheran Church will conclude, Sunday, August 7th, 2022.

I want to THANK YOU, and those words cannot even encompass it all, but I hope it is a start. Grace Church, all of you, members and friends; THANK YOU for all the love, kindness, and support shown to me and my family over these couple of years. I give thanks for the understanding and forgiveness shared between us as together we journeyed hard, unprecedented, holy, sacred paths. I have been changed for the better in many ways because of you. I believe we offered life-giving, healing space for us both as we listened for God’s voice to lead and guide us. I am appreciative that so many here accepted my leadership, and I recall with deep joy the things we have been able to accomplish in this short time. As I leave, I carry with me so much wisdom, love, and memories.

I trust God, and it is because of that trust, I know there are great things ahead for Grace Lutheran Church. As I prepare to answer again, “Yes God, send me,” so too does Grace Lutheran! May we all offer encouragement and support to one another in the next steps of our journeys. Do know this – my taking another call does not disrupt your current call process for a Lead Pastor. Saint Paul Area Synod staff will support Grace as you all plan. Please reach out to the Grace Council, Pastor Lamont, or myself for more conversations about next steps for Grace.

Know that we are surrounded by love and led by the promises of God, the presence of Jesus, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Love, your sibling in Christ Jesus,

Pastor Jen Collins (she/her)
j.collins@graceofav.org


Dear Fellow Members of Grace,

We give thanks to God for Pastor Jen’s ministry at Grace these last two years. She came to Grace in the midst of the pandemic and shepherded us through that very difficult time with love, compassion, support, and leadership. We are sad to see her go, but we wish her the very best in her new call.

In addition to Pastor Jen’s acceptance of a new call, Pastor Lamont’s contract as our Interim Senior Pastor ends on July 24th. This is not a new development; the date was set at the time the contract was signed. The Executive Committee has already been in contact with the Saint Paul Area Synod regarding new interim pastoral leadership for Grace. The Church Council is meeting with Krista Lind, our liaison from the Bishop’s office to develop a plan for moving forward.

These changes in our pastoral leadership do not impact the work of the Call Committee. As the Committee reported in their update last week, they are in the process of scheduling 2nd interviews with candidates, checking references, and listening to sermons. Their work will continue until a candidate for Lead Pastor is identified.

Now is the time for us, the people of Grace, to trust God, love and support each other, and continue the ministry we are called to do. Our pastors may change but we remain the called, faithful, and resilient people of God. Let’s unite in prayer and move forward together.

Faithfully,

The Executive Council Committee
Cody Tresselt-Warren, President
Judy Dehnel, Vice-President
Mark Sandbo, Treasurer
Marie Christianson, Secretary

One Comment

  1. Janet and Lee Nelson

    Blessings to you Pastor Jen as you move forward with this exciting opportunity! Our congregation is better to have had you with us.
    We are grateful to know you and we will watch you on your journey.
    Many blessings!
    Janet and Lee

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