Pastor Deb announces retirement

Pastor Deb sent the following letter to the congregation on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

Can it be that ten years have passed since you extended a call to me to serve as one of your pastors at Christ the King Lutheran Church? Can it also be almost 25 years since my ordination in this beautiful sanctuary, surrounded by the very people who had nurtured Dale and our three children in their faith, and cheered me on as I attended seminary? The years have passed quickly and have been filled with abundant blessings of grace, growth, and mutual love. I cherish each and every moment and relationship, and thank God for the joy we have shared in proclaiming the good news we have in Jesus.

My ministry with all of you has been a gift and a privilege, but now God is calling me enter a new chapter. March 31, 2016 will mark the conclusion of my pastoral ministry here at Christ the King. I will retire to spend quality time with my husband and family. The Easter season seems right for this transition and transforms the sadness of parting with the victory of resurrection promise that unites us forever in Christ.

In terms of our retirement plans, Dale and I have decided that the time is right to move into our retirement home on the North Shore of Lake Superior, and perhaps join some of our snowbird friends in the winter months. We will be gone for several months, but ultimately, we hope to worship with you on occasion when we visit our daughter in the cities, and we hope you will stop in to see us if you are traveling in our area. It is also important for you to know that I will no longer be available for official pastoral roles here at CtK.

I want to thank Pastor Peter for his leadership and support in empowering me to do ministries out of my strengths and passion for pastoral and congregation care. As I leave, I also give thanks for our many lay members who share this passion and have been equipped to actively provide visitation and care. This laity care comes through our Lay Shepherds, Stephen Ministry, Parish Nursing, Prayer Chain, Prayer Shawl ministry, Caregivers’ Support group, GriefShare, and Growing Through Loss programs, to name just a few. I am confident that this congregation has a deep capacity to care for and serve one another. I pray God will continue to ignite acts of compassionate, Christ-like presence to the precious souls in our faith community and extend His gracious love beyond our walls.

I also want to thank this congregation for your enthusiastic support of our outreach programs and opportunities over these past ten years. I will never forget how the Holy Spirit blessed our block party with nearly 1,800 guests, grew our local and global mission efforts into amazing channels of hope, and provided innumerable moments of worship, praise, growth, service, and joy. While it will be hard to step away from the vital everyday life within this body of faith, the memories and life-long relationships will be forever cherished in our hearts.

Blessings and abundant love,

Pastor Deborah Birkeland

Celebrating Pastor Deb's 25 years of ministry

Planning and preparations for a celebration of Pastor Deb's ministry is currently underway. Details regarding date and time will be communicated via email and Sunday announcements as it becomes available.