We have just passed the halfway point in Don's vicarage. Because it's been so long since I've blogged, here's the update: Last summer we moved to Turlock, CA for Don to begin his one-year internship at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. This internship (vicarage) is the last hurdle in the four-year seminary process. When he was assigned here we knew that Good Shepherd was considering calling him as the full-time associate pastor once his vicarage ended. Over the last couple months, the church's board of directors has been meeting privately and with the congregation to asses the viability of adding a full-time staff member. The final conclusion: they will not be calling Don to stay.
There are two main reasons for this. One is financial. The church has determined that at this time they do not have the financial resources to add an associate pastor. Second, it seems that Don would be best suited to being a sole pastor and at Good Shepherd, the position of associate pastor that would focus on outreach just doesn't seem to mesh well with his gifts.
So what does this mean for us? We'll find out for sure on Call Day, on May 4, 2011. Our Lutheran church body is divided up into 35 geographical districts. St. John's Bakersfield is part of the California-Nevada-Hawaii district, which we consider to be our "home district." CNH covers all of those three states except southern California and Las Vegas (those are part of the Pacific-Southwest district). We have a relationship with the CNH district president and the executive director. They are actively working to assign Don to another church in our district, so we feel quite blessed by the strong possibility of being placed nearby. And for now, that's all we know.
In family news, all is well. Hannah is loving first grade and her mornings spent on reading and language in a second grade class. A spot finally opened up for Bethie to attend preschool, which she is ecstatic about starting on February 2. Noah literally runs everywhere he goes and is, as we like to say, "ALL boy." I have been asked to become a table leader for my MOPS group and I recently finished reading the entire Bible - a 2-year project that stretched into 3 1/2. Don, of course, is spending his days writing sermons, visiting shut-ins and hospitalized folks, teaching junior high confirmation, and other pastoral duties. Our small-group Bible study will be serving dinner at church on Saturday night for 60+ homeless people through the Turlock Gospel Mission.
Remember to check out our pictures in the post below to see more of what we've been up to. Blessings and love, from our family to yours.