Sunday, April 27, 2008

Picture This! at Frying Pan Park

Yesterday (Saturday) was a very, very busy day. The day was full of random bursts of packing, breakfast with our church's Men's Fellowship group at the Silver Diner, helping the Jammin' Juniors (the 7th / 8th graders at the church) get the good word out about our church open house, and a couple trips to Home Depot (which didn't have it...) and Lowe's (which did...). With all of this, there wasn't much time to breathe!

The highlight of the day was a trip out to Frying Pan park (one of the kids' favorite places) to sit for family photos with our friend Suzanne Balvanz from church. She is a professional photographer - her website is We haven't picked our favorites from the set yet, but Suzanne already posted several on her blog. (How flattering!) You can read her blog ("Just a bunch of nothin'") at

Things We'll Miss...

There are a bunch of people and things we're going to miss when we move. The picture to the left shows the kids (David (4, almost 5) and Emily (2, 3 in September)) "hanging out" in their favorite climbing tree in our yard.

This tree is an apple tree. It is one of several beautiful trees that bloom in our yard 'round about Easter. (The other two are cherry trees.)

We've always loved it when the cherry tree by the deck blooms in the spring, almost as much as when it "snows" pink cherry blossom petals all over the deck. We considered calling the new owners so they could come by and enjoy one of the best views in their new house, but we ultimately just let it be a surprise for them! (We hope that we've managed to fix most of the other "surprises"...)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Boxes! Boxes! Everywhere!

Although there are other ways to pursue ordination as a pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod ( (e.g. Specific Ministry Pastor program, DELTO, colloquy, etc.), the most common path is to relocate to one of our synodical seminaries and undergo a period of practical and theological formation.

Unfortunately (at least for those of us who live in Virginia), there are only two LCMS seminaries: Concordia Seminary - St. Louis ( in St. Louis, MO and Concordia Theological Seminary - Fort Wayne ( in Fort Wayne, IN. So Heather, David John, Emily and I are preparing to move to St. Louis next month.

As you would guess, that means our house has become a disaster area due to pre-move packing! The pictures at right should give you a feel for the state of our house!

It helps to know this is only temporary ...

The Lord's Supper at Good Shepherd

This morning (Sunday, 4/20), Good Shepherd celebrated the Lord's Supper for the first time since moving into her new building near route 7 in Herndon! Just as with so many other things when moving into a new facility, our celebration was not without its small confusions and missteps. However, at the end of the day, the Gospel was proclaimed and Jesus' body and blood was "given for us for the forgiveness of sins". A good day!

Since last summer (2007), I have had the privilege of assisting in worship in new ways at Good Shepherd. At that time, we were moving into a period of vacancy as our previous pastor, Rev. Monte Frohm, entered into a much deserved retirement. Our lay minister, Tim Christiansen (now back at Prince of Peace in the Specific Ministry Pastor program), suggested to our vacancy pastor, Rev. Ben Nass, that I be given the opportunity to serve as a lay assistant. This service has included leading portions of the liturgy, reading the Gospel lesson, and assisting with distribution of communion.

My favorite duty has been assisting with communion: being the Lord's instrument as He presents His body and blood to my brothers and sisters; proclaiming that "this true body and true blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, strengthen and preserve you in the one true faith unto life everlasting" as the communicants depart from the table; announcing a baptismal blessing to young children who come forward with their parents and siblings; bringing the body and blood to those unable to approach the chancel on their own; seeing the range of emotions and thoughts play out on the members' faces throughout.

Given all of this, you can imagine that our congregation's first communion Sunday in our new sanctuary ranks right up there for me with the first worship service in the building!

I understand that I may not have the opportunity to assist with conducting the divine service for a while once I begin seminary this summer. I am truly disappointed about this; however, it will certainly give me one more thing to look forward to!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

First time at Nationals Park!

Ever since the Nationals came to DC, my family and I have been Nationals fans. We've watched their games on TV, followed their progress during the season, and visited good ol' RFK stadium several times each year! They finally finished the new DC baseball stadium, Nationals Park, in time to begin the 2008 season there.

Moving to St. Louis, our family had to make a difficult decision about our "loyalties": do we continue as Nationals fans while at Seminary or "root, root, root for the hometeam" by following the St. Louis Cardinals for the next four years. Recognizing that our seminary experience is probably going to include a move to another location for a year during vicarage, and our call to a congregation after graduation will lead us to yet another.
As much as we've enjoyed following the Nationals while we've been here in DC, we've decided that were going to take the approach of "root, root, rooting for the home team" - whoever that home team might be. For the next four years, that's going to be the Cardinals.

Despite that decision, we have been eager to take a visit to Nationals Park, and we finally made the trip today. I've attached a handful of pictures from our visit.

First Sunday for Good Shepherd in New Building!

As promised: I have attached photos from the first Sunday of worship in our home congregation's new church building!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church - Beautiful New Building!

Even as Heather, David John, Emily and I are preparing for our move to St. Louis, transitioning to life in an apartment, and a big change in the pace of our lives together, our home congregation is doing the same thing! Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Herndon (previously Reston), VA is in the final stages of building a new church building; we will worship together in this building for the first time this Sunday, 13 April.

I was over at the new building on Saturday for acolyte/usher/communion assistant training in the morning and to help move into the rooms in the Sunday School wing in the afternoon. What a beautiful sanctuary and building we will enjoy as we gather to receive God's gifts of Word and Sacrament!

One of our members, Bill Gehrke, has done an outstanding job of chronicling the entire building project. His video presentations can be found at: Check them out!

While you are following links, drop by the recently updated Good Shepherd website:

I plan to take my camera to church on Sunday. Check back for pictures of our first day in the new building!