Who are you?
Like you, I’m a rostered Eastern Synod pastor, but I’m recently retired,. Over the years I’ve been in parish ministry I’ve served small, large, and multiple site congregations. I have a family, and now grandchildren. I love the church, but at times it, and ministry, has driven me crazy.
My relationship with God and living out my call has been key to my ministry. It’s sent me in some amazing directions.
What is coaching?
Faith-based coaching is what I offer. I’m here to listen carefully, to help you work through the issue that’s bothering you, so you can find a way forward.
At times I’ll be challenging you, but all in the context of supporting you as you listen to the Spirit’s prompting.
I hold my clients in my prayers.
Why would a rostered leader engage a coach?
Being a pastor is a pretty lonely calling. We all get stuck at times, and need someone we can open up to freely to share our ideas and feelings with. What will help you is not someone to tell you what to do, or advise, or take your side, but someone who can help you see how your gifts and abilities, and the other resources you have available to you, can help you move forward.
And now, post Covid? The church is going to be different. How are you going to shape a path through this and lead your congregation in doing so?
How does coaching benefit the pastor/congregation?
I truly believe faith-based coaching makes for stronger and more aware leaders. Coaching opens you up to a different way of seeing your ministry.
What is the time commitment?
That’s up to you. Each session is around 45 minutes. You set the pace, the frequency of sessions, and that depends on your needs at any given time.
What has your experience been with coaching?
I was coached when I was stepping into the role of Area Dean.
What I learned about myself and
the confidence I gained from having someone help me understand my gifts and what and how I needed to develop was amazing. Being coached showed me what a gift coaching can be for ministry.
What training have you had?
I’ve had the privilege of training with the ELCA where clergy coaching, and coaching in general has been in place for over twenty years. Their training programme is affiliated with the International Coaching Federation. I have completed training at Basic 1 and 2 levels, Team coaching, and most recently at the Associate Certified Coach level. I’m now working to accrue the needed hours for certification as an ACC coach. I am a member of the International Coaching Federation.
I am also a member of Spiritual Directors International.
Is coaching considered an eligible group benefit or continuing education expense?
The answer is yes on both counts! ELCIC Group Services has confirmed that expenses incurred to secure certified coaching are eligible for reimbursement from both the ELCIC Continuing Education Plan and the Group Benefits Lifestyle Spending Account.
The current fee is $75 per session with a reduced rate if 4 sessions are paid for in advance.
Please take a look at this Youtube video for an insight from one pastor. The person doing the interviewing is Jill Beverlin, National Coordinator for coaching for the ELCA who has supported me greatly in this venture.
As of January 1st, 2022, the 91-year Radio Golden Hour ministry at St. Matthews, Kitchener has regretfully come to a close. This difficult decision was made in large part due to Kitchener FaithFM 93.7 (our most recent radio partner) no longer being able to offer same-day broadcasts, and thus our contract with them was not renewed. We regret this decision, esp. as it impacts upon those local listeners who are not online.
It’s been a good run, from our beginnings on February 23rd, 1930 up until the final broadcast on Dec. 25th, 2021. In our final year, we were, to our knowledge, the third-longest continuous radio broadcast in the world (after the Grand Ole Opry and the Mormon Tabernacle). A big thank-you to various congregations throughout the Synod who have promoted and sponsored our Radio ministry over the decades. We’re so glad you have been part of the extension of our worship and ministry here in the heart of downtown Kitchener.
While our radio broadcast has ended, our 9.30 Golden Hour audio livestream via our website continues.
More information on the history of the Golden Hour can be found here: https://stmattskw.com/worship/golden-hour-90th-anniversary/
St James Lutheran Church, Renfrew ON is a small congregation in the Upper Ottawa Valley. We have been watching our membership decline and our 60-year-old building age and need expensive repairs. Just the cost of heat and electricity was straining our budget.
How do we keep going?
Years ago, we realized we could not afford full-time ministry and were very fortunate to work out a Shared Ministry agreement with our sister congregation, St John’s Lutheran Church in Arnprior. We are now blessed to be able to share their minister, Pastor Norine Gullons.
This arrangement helped us survive years longer than we would have otherwise, but still we seemed to be running a deficit budget each year. This made it extremely difficult to keep our commitment to be a congregation “In Mission for Others”.
We still have a strong core group of members in our congregation and after many meetings, we realized that we all want to continue worshiping together in Renfrew, so closing and going elsewhere wasn’t a viable solution – we wanted to stay together. So now what?
We sold our building and property in June 2021 and have arranged to rent the small chapel at Trinity-St Andrew’s United Church in Renfrew. This is one of the first joint agreements with a United Church congregation in Eastern Synod.
Trinity-St Andrew’s has been very welcoming. We have been able to bring our altar, our lectern, baptismal font, holy hardware and so many other things from our old church, that the chapel looks like “home”. One of our members even used parts from our pulpit to create a beautiful wooden, wall mounted hanger for our eternal flame.
We now have “money in the bank” and can focus on being a congregation “In Mission for Others”.
We have donated our cross and bell tower to Camp Lutherlyn. Our two cornerstones are going to Rosebank Cemetery, where the majority of our departed family are at rest. And we are now working on an Outreach ministry plan.
To date we have sent donations to CLWR, ELCIC Praise Appeal, ELCIC Synod Benevolence, Renfrew Hospice, The Dementia Society and we always have supported the Renfrew Food Bank.
We have moved before………
St James Lutheran Church was originally organized in 1889 in the small community of Northcote, 10 miles outside of Renfrew. The interesting thing is that St James and St John’s Lutheran Church, Arnprior were united together as one parish back at that time. How things come around!
Occasional services were held in the town of Renfrew in the late 1940s. When St John’s Church in Arnprior became capable of becoming a stand-alone parish, the Canada Synod conducted a survey & decided in 1956 that there was a need for a Lutheran congregation in Renfrew. In December of that same year, St James, Northcote voted to disband and become the nucleus of the Lutheran congregation in Renfrew. Weekly services were first held at the Standard Church in Renfrew and later at the Christian Reformed Church.
On January 12, 1958, St James Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized. On October 16, 1960, the ground was broken for our church building. The dedication service was May 14, 1961.
And here we are, 60 years later, taking another big step, like those faithful members did in Northcote back in the 1950s.
Together with God’s help, we will continue to both worship together and help others in need.
Submitted by Marilyn Kropp