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From the Central Regional Pastor: Is All This Worth It?

February 25, 2019 No Comment

By: Rev. David Haberstock

Is all this worth it? A lot of energy, man-hours, passion, and sweat has been poured into this new Synod structure thing. And yet here we are a few months into not only the new structure but now the new “Regional Pastors”—and what has changed?

Really good question. I don’t know. It’s still very, very new as I write this. What has changed for me is I’ve converted my family room into an office (though boxes are still everywhere). I said good-bye to my congregation this last Sunday (January 20, Epiphany 2) with a final Divine Service, a great meal, many hugs, and a few tears (not too many though, we’re tough Saskatchewanites after all!). I work out of a home office now. I no longer have an altar to pray at, an

d so am looking for a prie-dieu (a prayer kneeler) for home. I now start my day, after putting my daughter on the bus, by walking to the closest Lutheran Church–Canada church to chant the psalms at their altar and pray for our region’s pastors and churches.

Officially my tenure as Central Regional Pastor started on January 1. But in reality, it didn’t start until the Epiphany of Our Lord (January 6) as I have traditionally taken vacation for most of the 12 days of Christmas. This year, the vacation was especially needed as between moving out of one office, setting up another, building a lot of IKEA shelves, and trying to do Advent and Christmas in the parish, as well as beginning to have a foretaste of the job to come, I ended up with pneumonia for the week before Christmas.

Now, for the last two weeks I have been overwhelmed at times by calls and emails, and generally trying to figure out all of the various tasks this position entails. And in the midst of this, I must greet you and write some words worthy of your time and attention! Which is to say, that daily time of prayer and

saturation in the Word has been a great refuge and joy for me. I’ve struggled with regular disciplined devotions over the years. But I love to sing, and I never knew how much powerful teaching there is in the psalms. So chanting the psalms works well for me. The Lord continues to teach me. His wonders are new every morning!

For this first year though, I have a few simple aims. I hope to visit all the pastors in the region. I want to get to know them and their families, their backgrounds, and how they got to be where they are. How can I be a “pastor to the pastors” if I don’t know my “flock”?

Of course, the pastors are only one part of my flock. But getting around to officially visit all the congregations is a little more difficult than visiting a pastor. In this first year I think it will take the shape more of visiting with circuits (in forums), with congregational chairmen, elders, and other lay folks who have crossed my path already as I assist congregations in the more difficult patches of life together as Christ’s Church on this side of heaven. The nuts and bolts of this job are going to cause me to rub shoulders with quite a few of you.

I’ll be in Broadview, Churchbridge, and Langenburg (Saskatchewan) in the immediate future. Down the road I’m going to be in Thunder Bay and hoping to see all the pastors there. I’ll be at an LWMLC zone convention in June, at the President’s Ministry Council and Synod Board of Directors’ meeting in April (in the Edmonton area), and a leadership workshop with President Gimbel of Concordia Lutheran Seminary in May. I hope to visit folks in Saskatoon on my way past. And in between I need to convene the Circuit Counsellors and the Regional Ministry and Mission Council for an in

itial face-to-face gathering. Though with winter travel conditions on the prairies I am planning for after Easter and hoping to do it at one of Region’s camps. Of course, all my plans may end up great flops or just not work with Synod’s schedule (Proverbs 16:9).

We are blessed in this Region to have three camps (Camp Lutherland near Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.; Jackfish Lutheran Camp, near Roblin, Man.; and Aurora Lutheran Bible Camp near Thunder Bay, Ont.). I hope to make more use of them, and would love to hear from any who might be interested in regional family camps. In particular, I’d like to get pastors and their families together, though it might be exciting to have family camps open for everyone to partake of.

Let me know your thoughts, your ideas, your struggles, or the things that your congregation needs held in prayer. You can reach me at dhaberstock@lutheranchurch.ca or on the old 1-800-ONE-LORD (663-5673) number.

May the peace of Christ dwell in you richly through His Word of power,