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PAT Program celebrates first Regionally Remote pastor

October 4, 2017 No Comment

LCC President Emeritus Edwin Lehman, Rev. Terry Goerz, CLS president James Gimbel, and Rev. Reinhard Dittmer.

HIGH PRAIRIE, Alta. – On September 12, 2017, Redeemer Lutheran Church in High Prairie, Alberta celebrated the ordination and installation of Rev. Terry Goerz, the first graduate with a regionally remote ministry focus from Lutheran Church–Canada’s (LCC) Pastors with Alternate Training (PAT) program.

At seventy years old, Rev. Goerz is not your typical new pastor. “Some pastors are described as second career pastors,” he notes. “I am a fifth career pastor.” In 2011, Goerz retired from High Prairie School Division after 21 years as their Director of Facilities. He is also a Certified Engineering Technologist (Aeronautics) and in possession of trade tickets as a plumber, gasfitter, and steamfitter/pipefitter.

Rev. Goerz has been a member of Redeemer Lutheran in High Prairie since 1990, and has served as chairman and elder for most of that time. He has further served the church at large as president of the ABC District Lutheran Laymen’s League, as a member of LCC’s Board of Directors, and as president of Concordia Lutheran Mission Society.

In 2013, Redeemer Lutheran in High Prairie had dwindled to a point where they could no longer pay their share of the parish budget. Beginning January 2014, the pastor would only be visiting the community once a month to lead a communion service. So in September 2013, the congregation applied to LCC’s Council of Presidents to be approved as a PAT site, and Goerz was named a PAT candidate.

The PAT program requires candidates to successfully complete 23 courses in various areas of theological study, including Systematics, Historical Theology, Biblical Theology, and Pastoral Theology. After receiving credit for some courses based on previous church experience, and successfully challenging others through examination, Goerz spent the next several years studying in the PAT program, completing courses delivered by multiple instructors via Skype, email, phone calls, and intensive courses at Concordia Lutheran Seminary (CLS) in Edmonton. Goerz completed the program in April 2017, and was approved for ordination and placement following interviews with staff of the Edmonton seminary and ABC District President Glenn E. Schaeffer.

“Terry’s graduation from the PAT program is a source of great joy,” said Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, LCC’s Executive for Missions and Social Ministry, and overseer of the PAT program. “His story is an inspiration to all, and a reminder that our God continues to raise up shepherds for His flocks in even the most remote locations of Canada.”

LCC President Emeritus Edwin Lehman conducted the service of ordination and installation, with Rev. Dr. James Gimbel (President of CLS) and Rev. Reinhard Dittmer (Christ Lutheran, Mellowdale, Alberta) also present.

While Rev. Goerz is the first PAT graduate to focus on regionally remote ministry, the program is also open to candidates serving non-English cultural communities. Previous PAT graduates in culture-specific ministry currently serve Oromo, Sudanese, Punjabi, and Hispanic congregations.

For more information on the PAT program, or to apply for your congregation to be designated a PAT site, please contact LCC’s Executive for Missions and Social Ministry at missions@lutheranchurch.ca or call 1-800-588-4226 (ext. 215).

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