Story Magazine - Spring/Summer, 2010

Paul Harrington, '71, returns to Luther Seminary as interim campus pastor

In his first years of ministry, just after graduating from Luther Seminary, Paul Harrington had a recurring dream.

"It was Sunday morning, and I had not a note on my pulpit, not a thought in my brain," recalls Harrington. "And in the first three rows were seminary faculty with their notepads. I would wake up in a cold sweat."

Now Harrington has returned to Luther Seminary in an entirely different--and far less frightening--way: as interim campus pastor.

"Just to come here and be a part of this community and bring what gifts I have to bear, this is such a bonus for me," he says. "Plus all the relationships I've made here over the years, it's a little bit like a homecoming 40 years delayed."

Harrington will serve the pastoral and worship needs of the community on a part-time basis through August. He also remains in part-time service at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley, Minn.

Harrington can't recall a professor he didn't like while a student at Luther but counts James Burtness, William Hulme and Alvin Rogness as major mentors in his life. He hopes to pass on that influence to today's students by being a trusted confidant and role model. He also preaches in chapel and seeks to just be around for the community before and after daily services.

"The comment (from those at Shepherd of the Valley) is, 'What a great opportunity to have some influence on the church of tomorrow.' And they'll influence me in some way, too," says Harrington. "It's an honor to be called here to work."