Dryden Area Lutheran Parish

Our Saviour – Dryden :St Mark – Vermilion Bay

 

Pastor’s Report 2016  

   2016 was a year in our parish where I can honestly say I felt the full weight of the burden of the Office of Pastor, with tremendous concern for all our members, and most acutely for our Board of Elders. Pastor Miller’s actions and subsequent departure as our Associate Pastor hurt deeply. Strike the shepherd and you scatter the sheep. Our board of elders wrestled through long and difficult hours, forgiving with Christian love while remaining firm in doing what was best for our parish and the Millers. It’s hard to remember that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but ... the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). I not only gained a fresh appreciation for the men who serve as elders, but my prayer life deepened and my time in Scripture became richer and fuller. I am dependent on grace and Christ alone. The future and growth of our parish is not about Koebernick, Wood, or Miller, but rests completely in God’s hands. 

   Throughout 2016 the Gospel was proclaimed in our weekly services, special events, weddings, Baptisms, and yes, funerals too. Our youth retreat saw more Lutheran pastors in attendance and participating than ever before as our youth explored how God re-sensitizes us to our need and His rich supply. July’s VBS was complete with a BBQ and farm tour tractor ride at Egli’s Sheep Farm in keeping with the ‘Barnyard Roundup’ theme; how God continually gives to us through Jesus. Sports Camp came together for another year salting basketball and cheerleading with the message of who Jesus is and why He’s so important in all we do. I can’t even begin to express my awe and appreciation for this parish and all our members who make it tick; who give of their time, resources, and energies for the sake of the Gospel. 

   2016 saw a focus and growth in our Haiti mission. For the first time in many years we now have a Mission Director. Terry Ollerhead and his love for hands-on in mission work has guided the Haiti mission to new places, and God has richly blessed that work. I’m excited as I anticipate God opening up yet further mission opportunities for us.  

   This doesn’t mean all is peachy and that we can sit back on our laurels; everyday brings new challenges. Our need to support one another in Christian love and works of service continues to grow. The lengthy prayer list in the weekly bulletin attests to our needs. Our parish continues to need the healing balm of God’s forgiveness for us through Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament. I am confident that as we gather around these Gifts that God has given us, we will be strengthened in faith toward Him and in fervent love for each other. Many in our congregation need the reassurance of a pastoral visit or are unable to get out like they used to. This is a very real and continuing need in our parish; it’s not a burden, but part of the great joy of being a servant for Jesus’ sake. 

   In response to the needs of our parish, God in His mercy placed a young Vicar and his wife in our parish. It’s a turn of events that I couldn’t have imagined. Their arrival on July 1st was most welcome and refreshing. It is a blessing to be more connected to our greater church body, our seminary, and to see God working in our midst to shape and mould a future pastor for the Church. Kai’s many gifts and work here has rejuvenated my joy in ministry, taking my thoughts away from my pain and focusing them on where God is taking us now. Helping our seminaries in this way is also a mission; part of our “To Know, Show, and Grow in the Love of Christ” through which we not only give, but receive so much more in return. 

   I consider it a privilege and a blessing to be your pastor and look forward to God’s plan and leading in 2017. “To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim 4:18).

 

In Christ, Pastor James Wood

Vicar's Report 

      My name is Kai Buck. I have been serving as Vicar at Our Saviour Lutheran Church and  Parish for the latter half of 2016 and the first half of 2017. As a Vicar, I am a third-year Seminarian training to be a Pastor in Lutheran Church-Canada. This means that I have been assigned to Dryden from Concordia Lutheran Seminary to work closely with and to serve Our Saviour Lutheran Parish for the greater purpose of being formed into a servant for Jesus’ sake.        There is a great deal of activity in both the Dryden and Vermilion Bay congregations. This means that there is always something that requires the attention of either the Pastor or myself as I serve in this parish. I serve the needs of the parish as they arise. Thus far in my Vicarage I have been taking part in regular services in both the Dryden congregation and the Vermilion Bay congregation. Usually this involves either preaching or leading liturgy, but there are also times where I do both. This includes midweek services in both Advent and Lent and funerals. Recently Pastor Wood and I have begun working so that we can split a Sunday so that both congregations have a regular Bible Study lead by either the Pastor or the Vicar. Regular Confirmation classes are also taught in Dryden. I have been given the opportunity to teach a number of these classes myself and this will continue until April when the class ends.       I have also been involved in the youth events in the congregation. Most recently Dryden hosted its annual youth retreat for Lutheran churches in the greater Dryden area and also Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. I was given the opportunity to lead one of the presentation sessions. I spoke to the youth on the Lutheran understanding of “Sola Gratia” or “Grace alone.”      

   Overall, opportunities for service continue to arise and I am keen to continue serving Our Saviour Lutheran Parish until my time here comes to an end. It has been a great blessing to come to know and love the people in Dryden and Vermilion Bay and I hope to continue to build on these relationships in my time here. Working with Pastor Wood has also been a great blessing as he is an excellent mentor and a highly capable teacher. So far my time here has served to form me for a future in the Pastoral ministry and it is my goal to continue to learn and to serve here for the remainder of this academic year. 

 

Vicar Kai Buck