Last winter, the bishop of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod contacted Carolyn about a church vacancy in the synod. He felt Carolyn might be the right person for the call. Not much happened for months. Carolyn’s name was sent to the church in May, with two others. She was interviewed by their Call Committee via Skype, twice.
We flew from Chicago, where Carolyn was taking classes for her Doctor of Ministry in Preaching program at LSTC, to Seattle on Friday evening, July 8, 2016. The Call Committee Chair, Jason Moos, picked us up at our hotel on Saturday morning and we went to Yakima, Washington, 2.5 hours southwest of Seattle, through the beautiful Cascade Mountains.
That day, we toured Yakima, had an outdoor lunch with many of the youth and their families, toured the church facilities, had an outdoor dinner with members of the Call Committee.
On Sunday, Carolyn preached and Dave delivered the children’s sermon at the 9:30am eucharist attended by much of the congregation. The nave was full. We all enjoyed lunch in the fellowship hall afterwards, followed by a question and answer session for Carolyn.
Later Sunday, we met with a realtor and looked at 6 area homes, not knowing if we’d need to buy something there yet or not. Then we had dinner with the Bishop and the combined Call Committee and Church Council, which Carolyn met with afterwards to discuss the weekend and the future.
It was a busy, exciting, anxious, full weekend. Jason took us back to SeaTac Monday morning, and after having lunch with Phil Nesvig, the current interim minister, we flew back to Chicago and then drove home to St. Paul.
The Call Committee recommended Carolyn to the Church Council, who in turn recommended Carolyn to the congregation, who met on Wednesday evening, July 13, and voted to call her to be Senior Pastor of Central Lutheran Church. Carolyn accepted the call, and it was announced in worship on July 16 & 17.
Our last day at St. Mark’s will be August 14th, and Carolyn’s first service in Yakima is August 21st.
On Friday, July 15th, we put in an offer on one of the homes we’d seen Sunday, and it was accepted.
Yakima is a city in south-central Washington State, east of the Cascade Mountains, with a population of 95,000. With suburbs and the surrounding valley area, the metropolitan area population is 250,000. Central Lutheran has a Senior Pastor, an Associate Pastor, which is currently vacant, and a Visitation Pastor, along with a Christian Education/Youth Director, and an after school program Director, in addition to the Secretary and Custodian. Membership is 800 with 200 average attendance Sundays. Photos of the church are below.