August 7, 2015
Dear Trinity Congregation:
On Sunday, August 9, we will greet our new interim senior pastor, the Reverend Paul N. Svingen, who will lead us through our transition to a new senior pastor. But even as we prepare our welcome to Pastor Paul, we have learned that we also must begin saying our goodbyes to Pastor Stephanie Vos. As you will see in the letter on the reverse side, Pastor Stephanie has informed the Congregational Council that after a long, prayerful and careful process of consideration and discernment, she will be leaving Trinity at the end of August. We brace for this change and will miss the vision and passion that Pastor Stephanie has brought to Trinity, challenging us and leading us to new horizons. But we also trust that God will lead both Trinity and Pastor Stephanie to more new horizons and new ministry, as we affirm our mission to be inclusive and welcoming to all people, wherever they are in their faith journey.
From rousing and thoughtful, provocative sermons, to educational opportunities and sharing the benefits of meditative techniques, and—yes, to red pants and mystic poets—Pastor Stephanie has embraced Trinity’s mission and people from the start, always with a love of God and mission and excitement for helping us be our best and most thoughtful selves. Now we embrace her and offer her our fondest and most heartfelt blessings as she takes the next step to determining where God will lead her. And we move forward with the confidence that we as a congregation have Pastor Stephanie’s blessings for continuing our work together.
We have experienced much change over the past months and understand too well that change is part of the dynamic in which we live. We do not seek change for its own sake and often, as with Pastor Stephanie’s departure, do not seek the change at all. But we have faith that we will have the resilience to grow through this change, as well. The Saint Paul Area Synod office already has extended its assistance to Pastor Paul and the Congregational Council and we expect immediately to begin the process of hiring an interim associate pastor in order to bring our pastoral staff to needed levels. This is especially critical as we prepare to start our fall education and confirmation programs. We appreciate the extra work and leadership taken on by both Pastor Stephanie and Pastor Deb Ost during the past months, and are grateful that Pastor Deb and our ministry staff will provide support to Pastor Paul and continuity for the congregation through this time of change.
We will celebrate Pastor Stephanie’s service and offer her our best wishes on Sunday, August 30th, both at 8:30 a.m. before the drive-in service, and following the 10:00 a.m. service at church. Please join us at one or both events to express your gratitude and good wishes.
Gail M. Olson,
After much prayerful thought and consideration, I have decided to leave my position at Trinity as of August 30.
This was not an easy decision, and I continue to discern what is next for me vocationally. There are many opportunities on the horizon, and now I get to listen to my gifts and callings as I find my winding path through this beautiful world and the work I am being drawn to do.
I leave with nothing but love for all of the people of this congregation, and the incredible ways that I have grown and flourished as a part of this community. I have never enjoyed being a pastor as much as I have with all of you.
I am so grateful for Trinity’s mission in the world; your commitment to love, transform, and serve; and your longing to be a beacon of welcome and inclusivity to all. I have so much respect for the ways that this message is woven into the fabric of Trinity and I know that you will continue to be a radical witness to the relentless love of God, welcoming people wherever they are in their journey.
I leave with full confidence that you are in good hands – the interim pastor, the staff, the council, and the member and participants of this place are what make Trinity the amazing place that it is. Above all, God’s love and Christ’s heart will continue to lead and guide this church.
I will miss you all, and am so thankful to have been part of this wonderful community.