Trinity Lutheran Church

  Together in Christ, We Begin

By Pastor Gayle Pope

I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19

Isaiah 43 is one of my favorite scriptures – especially verse 19, where the prophet proclaims God’s word of hope to the Israelites for a new beginning after years of exile in Babylon.

Again and again, God has done new things in my life and in the lives of the congregations and people to whom I have ministered. In this text we are encouraged to stay alert so that we can perceive where God is leading us.

Last August 1, God brought something new to my life: retirement, after 16 years in ministry preceded by five years in seminary and 22 years in journalism and marketing/communications. As I enjoyed the “new thing” of an open calendar, light responsibilities and more time with husband and family, I tried to listen for what God’s next “new thing” might be.

And now it begins. A new experience for me – new congregation, first time as an interim minister, and first time as a part-time pastor. At the same time, you are also in the midst of a new thing – not only a new pastoral leader, but also your consideration of a possible new affiliation – cutting ties with the ELCA and connecting with Lutheran Churches in Mission for Christ (LCMC).

Perhaps a switch is God’s “new thing” for you, or perhaps the “new thing” will be a renewed sense of connection with the ELCA. Either way, you have an opportunity to grow in your already strong ability to love one another and share differing views with listening ears, compassion, honesty, understanding and acceptance. I pray all of us will be especially sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and especially trusting in God’s power at work in and through us.

What to Expect

Our six-month contract allows for one Sunday off each month, to be set ahead of time. I will plan to spend one full day a week in the office and doing visits in Golden – probably Wednesdays. In addition, I will be available 24/7 for phone calls and emergencies and will visit the sick, minister at times of death and dying, etc.

I will lead Lenten services and help with Sunday School and Confirmation in some way (to be determined), and do some work from home. This we expect to be approximately a half-time endeavor, still allowing for increased time with kids and grandkids and travel.

We plan to come to Golden Saturday afternoon or evening and stay in the parsonage, so would welcome invitations to join members for Saturday supper, or for lunch on Sundays.

A Bit about Me

Born and raised in Fargo, ND, in a strong Roman Catholic family with three sisters and three brothers, me being the third in line. Married my first husband, Gary Highness, in 1978. We had two beautiful daughters. Sadly, we divorced after 22 years, due to difficulties associated with his alcoholism. He died in 2005 at age 53.

Turned Lutheran in March 1984. Heard the call to ministry in 1989. Started Luther Seminary in 1998. Graduated in 2003 and was called to Christ Lutheran in Nauvoo, where I served for eight years. Accepted a call to Christ Lutheran Quincy July 1, 2011. 

Some of my congregation members in Nauvoo thought I should meet Terry Pope. Ultimately, this led to our marriage Nov. 26, 2005. Terry’s first wife, Debbie, died of cancer in 1997 just after their 25th wedding anniversary. He has three daughters and one son. So, together, we have six children and 11 grandchildren. We are expecting the 12th in late April, a daughter to be born to my daughter Amy who lives in St. Paul, MN. Other children live in Columbus, OH; Hannibal, MO; Bloomington, IL; Champaign, IL, and just down the road on the farm.

Terry farms 8 miles north of Carthage – corn and soybeans, red equipment. He retired from his side job as Hancock County Economic Development director last summer. Before that, he served on the Illinois Farm Bureau board of directors for 10 years and has been on various other boards. Terry’s church background is Methodist, independent Christian and Evangelical Free. He’s not Lutheran, but he’s a man of strong faith who you will see with me at church every Sunday!                  

In Closing

Please feel free to call any time or stop by church when I am there. Check the church calendar. Texts are also welcome, but be sure to identify yourself until I get you in my contacts! And remember Isaiah 43:1 …

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.