Ministry in Context

Relaxing in the Easter pulpit

My first Easter sermon was long. It was very earnest. I was trying to explain the inexplicable and somehow make everybody (especially occasional attenders) realize how miraculous the whole Resurrection event and promise was.

It was an admirable effort, I guess. I don't think it was very helpful. I needed to relax a bit. It was important, of course, to prepare for such a sermon and to be as clear and insightful as possible. But the burden of explanation didn't lie with me. Easter is a story that tells

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Meeting Gustav Adolph Anderson

By Ben Hilding

Internship is a year to “try on the shoes” of being a pastor within a specific congregation. At the halfway point of my internship at Edmonds Lutheran Church in the Pacific Northwest, I have to admit that perhaps one of my greatest learning experiences has not happened within my internship site at all. Approximately three weeks before internship began, my grandmother informed my wife and me that we were not, in fact, the first people from our family history to spend time

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The view from the other side

In my “family of origin” we used one particular phrase to describe those people who went to church on Christmas and Easter every year. “C & E Christians?” “Christmas and Easter Christians?” No.

We called them “Religious Fanatics.” It was hard for us to imagine why anybody would go to church that often. Most years--most--we made it for one holiday or the other. That was plenty.

My parents did not dislike the pastors of the church we technically

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Photo Album

Systems Theory class


Julie Josund is leading a class on Family Systems theory this internship year. Participants shown are (from left): Malcolm Brown, Matt Maas, Julie Josund, Alicia Hilding, Ben Hilding.

The Sorting

All kidding aside, the annual internship placement meeting of the Contextual Learning staff does not involve a magic Sorting Hat, or the throwing of darts on a map. The staff is sequestered for three days to carefully consider the needs of students and sites, and to optimize the placements

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Spring Cluster Meetings

While these gatherings are still a few months away, it is a good idea to get them on your calendar now!

Oregon/Vancouver Cluster: Apr. 10-11 at Menucha Retreat Center, Corbett, Ore. (Julie Josund)

Southeastern Minnesota: Thurs., Apr. 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Our Savior's, Rochester, Minn. (Steve McKinley)

Minnesota Concurrent Interns: Tues., Apr. 17, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Luther Seminary (Steve McKinley)

Twin Cities West: Thurs., Apr. 19, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Prairie Lutheran, Eden Prairie, Minn. (Steve McKinley)

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Living Lent

Lent. We are in the season of Lent, a time of reflection and preparation in the church year. But you know that.

Lent was a paradoxical time for me as a pastor, and it may be that for you. It was a time intended for reflection, but I was busier than usual with additional worship services and other pastoral work. It was hard to find the time for self-reflection or any other kind of reflection. (In my first two years as a pastor, I thought Lent would be a wonderful time to add extra Bible studies and

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Mandatory Abuse-Reporting Laws

Did you know that 4 out of 5 states require clergy to alert authorities when they suspect a child has been abused or neglected? USA Today published a chart in their Dec. 16, 2011 issue showing which types of adults are specifically required to report abuse in each state, and whether failing to report it is a crime. Find out what the state law says for your internship site.

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Lay Committee at the Mid-Point

Having completed the mid-point evaluation (it is completed and submitted, isn’t it?), March is a good time for the lay committee to check back on some of the basics, the things we look at when the internship year begins, but might forget about later. Such as:

  • Learning Goals. While these are essentially worked out between the intern and the supervisor, it’s good for the lay committee to know what the goals are. You might have seen it at the beginning of the year.  Whether you did

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Don't be late for church

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 11.  If you are one of our perfectionist interns, you will set your alarm clock for 2 a.m. when you go to bed on Saturday night, then wake up and push the proper buttons to set the clock ahead one hour.  If you are a normal productive intern, you will set the clock ahead before you go to bed on Saturday night. 

If you are one of those I-do-my-best-work-at-the-last-minute (meaning I-only-work-at-the-last-minute) types, you might still be

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The glories of chaos

They were a little short on parent volunteers to help with the kindergarten Valentine’s Day party, so the lovely Mrs. McKinley and I volunteered to join the merriment in our grandson Luke’s room with the stipulation that I not be asked to help with a craft. I don’t do crafts, even at the kindergarten level.

So there I was, assisting at a Cupid Bingo game, helping the young scholars differentiate between the picture of the heart that said “Hug Me” and the picture of the

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