|Salem Lutheran Church||
|Salem Lutheran Church||
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a
future with hope” (Jeremiah 28:11).
I was ordained in 2001 and served my first call at Hope Lutheran Church in Annandale, Virginia for three years. I
served New Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Lovettsville, Virginia for twelve years, having spent the last year
celebrating the congregations 250 th Anniversary. In December of 2015, I shared at the Annual Congregational
meeting, that I was filling out my mobility papers making myself available for a possible new call, not knowing
what that might mean. This after a joyous anniversary celebration and a ministry that was at times challenging
but exciting, it was time for all of us to discern what the future might hold. For me personally it became a time
to reflect on what the second half of my pastoral ministry might be.
Now it’s becoming a bit clearer as I settle into my new office and our new home, what God might have in store
for us. Change can be strenuous and stressful while also filled with joy and blessing! That’s what God had in
store for Jeremiah and the people of Israel. For Nancy and I it has been all of that! After initial conversations
with Bishop Steven Ullestad and Assistant to the Bishop Stephen Brackett; meeting the Staff and Call Committee
of Salem, attending my first Council Meeting, being greeted by many helpful and giving members and now the
youth soon to be confirmed (yes I have my second Confirmation in just a couple of hours) this has been such an
affirmation of our move to a new call. We could not have orchestrated a better opportunity had we tried. So
God has plans for a future filled with hopeful possibilities!
On May 15, 2015 I will be installed as your lead pastor and God willing, will serve the second half of my ministry
at Salem. The Rev. Stephen Bracket will be here to preach and I will promise to be an example of faith active in
love, fostering peace, harmony, and mutual understanding in this congregation. Nancy and I have witnessed
that Spirit already active in those we have met, helped us find a house, offered hospitality and a warm welcome.
So thank you for all you have already done in preparation for the work we are about to begin.
I will promise to preach and teach in accordance with the holy scriptures and with the confessions of the
Lutheran church and carry out this ministry in harmony with the constitutions of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America. I will commit to being diligent in the study of the holy scriptures and in the use of the means
of grace. I will love, serve, and pray for you, God’s people, nourished with the word and sacraments, leading by
example, with faithful service and holy living. Centered in these commitments and acts of daily discipleship God
promises a future filled with hope.
Allow me to share a bit about my family. We came to Lake Mills with our twelve-year- old black lab, Gracie.
Nancy and I have been married for thirty-two years and have known each other for over forty. I moved across
the street from her family when I was sixteen years old and our families became very close. We have two
children Eric who is married to Andrea. They live in South Minneapolis and recently brought our first grandchild,
Odin Joel into the family. Our second son Daniel stayed in Virginia, closer to his girlfriend Angie and her family,
Angie is graduating from AMU and continuing her master’s degree while Daniel words for the Metro DC Airport
Authority and is pursuing a degree in emergency management.
I have four siblings and Nancy has five and I imagine you may have the opportunity to meet some them as they
come to visit or hear their stories in the years to come. Nancy and I also look forward to hearing your stories as
we share the ministry of Salem and discover what God is calling us to do as we give witness to his life giving
Spirit and saving grace. God has plans for us and may we together discover what they are and share them!
Pr. Joel Guttormson