Ministry in Context

More than a gateway to retreat

When Lutherans think of Chelan, Washington, most think of Lake Chelan and the entrance to Holden Village. But Chelan is also a community all its own, and home to Lake Chelan Lutheran Church, one of our internship congregations. Paul Palumbo is the pastor supervisor there, and Jeanette Clark the intern. We asked them to help us get acquainted with their ministry in Chelan.

First of all tell us something about yourselves; background, education, experience, family, etc.

Paul: I grew up in Bowie, Md., attended Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., where I met Virginia, my wife of 30 years. We have four children, ages 16 to 26. I attended Duke Divinity School and have been ordained for 22 years. I served my first congregation in Durham, N.C. for 10 years before coming to Chelan.

Jeanette: I grew up in Minnetonka, Minn. and I attended Hopkins High School and All Saints Lutheran Church. I attended Augsburg College where I majored in Youth and Family Ministry and Urban Studies and minored in Spanish. During college I was involved with a variety of campus and social service agencies, worked at Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Bible Camp and studied in Mexico. After college I participated in the Lutheran Volunteer Corp and worked with La Conexion, a Latino Referral Center in South Minneapolis. During seminary I lived in South Minneapolis with other young adults who tutored neighborhood youth through Project for Pride in Living.

Paul, how long have you served at Lake Chelan Lutheran? What are the unique characteristics of the congregation?

I have been in Chelan for 12 years. One of the interesting characteristics of Lake Chelan Lutheran is that we are politically and economically diverse and find our common ground in worship. In a time when political differences serve to divide and alienate, our congregation has found a way to live in mutual support, love and respect. In the strength of this mutual support we are able to extend love and service to the larger community in a variety of ways. Our congregation leads the Chelan Food Bank and has established the Lake Chelan Teen Center and Tutoring Program, Lake Chelan Land Trust for affordable housing, The Vigil for Peace, and, most recently is establishing a support and healing program for returning American Veterans.

Jeanette, what are your impressions of the congregation?

Lake Chelan Lutheran Church is a wonderful congregation of hospitable, welcoming people. I am so enjoying my time here. There is a great variety of people including elderly, adults, people who have grown up in the area, people who have retired in the area or come to the area due to Holden Village, youth, academic types, teachers, carpenters, musicians, etc. It is so great to learn from and be with such loving and gifted individuals. They also are a congregation that values reaching out to the community. As part of my internship, I have assisted with the Teen Center in town, helped with the food bank and tutored at the tutoring center. I am so grateful the congregation supports and encourages such work. They also model being "ministers in daily life" in so many ways. Lake Chelan Lutheran Church has shared the love and hope of Christ with me, and I look forward to continue to grow during my time with them.

When most Minnesotans hear "Lake Chelan," we think of Holden Village. Does that play into the life of the congregation in any way?

Paul: Insofar as several long-time members of LCLC first settled in the Chelan Valley after living and working at Holden, the Village has played a part in the life of our congregation. We also share in certain projects, (most recently, a Horizon Internship application), and we can count on one another for up-lake and down-lake support. On a day to day basis, however, Holden and LCLC are quite distinct. There are many members of LCLC who have never been to Holden and many visitors and staff at Holden would not know about LCLC.

Jeanette: Many in the congregation have come to the area through Holden Village. In this manner, Holden does influence the congregation.

Paul, how does having an intern fit into the life of the congregation?

In the past several years, we have felt that LCLC would be a great place to teach and encourage future pastors. Jeanette's arrival as our first intern and her work among us has confirmed that sense. Having an intern has brought us the joy of fulfilling that which we felt called and prepared to do. That Jeanette has been eager to work, willing to jump into all aspects of ministry and flexible in her perspective of what an internship should be, has added to the delight of the internship experience.

Jeanette, what is most exciting to you about your internship in Lake Chelan?

There have been so many exciting things about my internship in Lake Chelan. Perhaps, though, more than anything it's been nice to be "raised up" by my congregation. They have walked with me as I practice preaching, teaching and worked on getting to know them. Their support, encouragement, insights and guidance have been such blessings to me. Being supported so fully and unconditionally by a group of people who just met me a few months ago has been so amazing.

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