A change for Pr. Amy and Good Shepherd

November 6, 2023

Beloved People of God,

Being your pastor is one of the greatest joys of my life. So, it  surprises me to be writing to you to say that I have been called to serve another congregation. I feel deep grief about leaving you soon, even as I feel peace that this call is the next right thing for me and my family. 

My husband Matt and I are both called to serve Christ’s church as pastors. For the past four years, as Assistant to the Bishop in the Southeastern MN Synod of the ELCA, Matt has been commuting to the synod office in Rochester and driving for hours to get to congregations in the synod. The synod office is now moving further into Minnesota. This is necessitating a move for our family. 

Matt and I also take our calls to be parents seriously. For a number of reasons, it is a good time for Abby to make a move. This surprised us, as she is a sophomore in high school. However, discernment and conversation with and for Abby have been a key part of this decision as well. She loves to ride horses and a move to horse country is most welcome for her. We’ll be further from Nate but still under three hours away.

The people of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Red Wing, MN voted to call me as their pastor on Sunday, Nov. 5. I have accepted the call and will begin serving them on January 22, 2024. I have informed the Congregation Council of this in a special meeting. My last Sunday with Good Shepherd will be Sunday, January 7, 2024. I will then take my remaining 2023 vacation days so my official last date of call to Good Shepherd will be January 15, 2024. 

Our NE IA Synod has asked me to help the council set up a transition team for you. The Synod will help you in the interim time between called pastors and in the call process. Pr. Liz Bell from the NE IA Synod will begin this process with the council on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Erica and Kelli will work with the leaders of the Decorah Area Youth Gathering Trip to make sure Good Shepherd youth will be ready for the ELCA Youth Gathering.

It has been troubling to have to keep this process confidential in order to honor the discernment of the call committee and congregation at St. Paul’s Red Wing. That’s been especially hard as we’ve been looking to next year at Good Shepherd and preparing for Stewardship Sunday. Yet the mission of the congregation is strong and clear and your generosity is crucial in a time of transition.

Throughout this discernment, I’ve felt deep peace knowing that the Spirit is alive and at work in this congregation. You are a strong, vibrant congregation not because of your pastor but because of your commitment to love, welcome, and accompany others in Jesus’ name. I have never known a more generous congregation, never heard a congregation sing so powerfully, never experienced deeper joy in worship than I have with Good Shepherd. The Spirit of the risen Christ has brought you to new life for the sake of God’s world. 

I am so grateful for the call to be your pastor for the past eight years. I have grown so much as a person and pastor by sharing in ministry with you. Any gift that you see in me is one that has been strengthened by my time with you. Your patience, faithfulness, trust, and willingness to experiment have been instrumental in everything we’ve done together. The chief gift you’ve given me is your love. I cannot thank you enough for all your care for me and my family. I love you all and you will always have a special place in my heart. Even as I prepare to end my time as your pastor, I am grateful that I will always be your sibling in Christ.

Peace to you,

Pastor Amy