Thank you for visiting Trinity’s Together page! Here you can check for regular updates on the current season of change in Pastoral leadership at Trinity. Our hope is that you will feel included and informed in these next months. Together we are reminded that we are rooted in faith, led by the Spirit, and move forward as an active community of faith. Together, we continue in our mission of Serving in Christ’s Love and Sharing the Good news.
August 7, 2018 Interim Pastor Update
Pastor Brian R. Mortenson
Pastor Brian R. Mortenson has been called to Trinity Lutheran Church as the Intentional Interim Lead Pastor. His ministry will begin on September 1, 2018. Pastor Brian will lead and preach for the September 9 Rally Sunday services.
Pastor Mortenson attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies; Luther Theological Seminary, receiving his Master of Divinity; and the National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors (NALIP), Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.
Pastor Mortenson has served as Senior Pastor and Interim Senior Pastor at churches in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota and South Dakota for 16 years, most recently at First Lutheran in Colorado Springs where he served as Intentional Interim Senior Pastor since January 2017. He was the Founder and Senior Chaplain for the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Department and Sioux Falls Police Department. Additionally Pastor Mortenson worked in Philanthropy and Development for 17 years.
Pastor Mortenson will serve as Interim Lead Pastor beginning September 1, 2018. His role is to provide leadership to the congregation throughout this "in between" time. He will help Trinity with everything involved in the process of calling the new permanent lead pastor.
Pastor Mortenson's personal calling and conviction right now is to be serving as a Transition Interim pastor. He has confidence that this is what he is supposed to be doing. He is delighted to have been called to Trinity and is looking forward to doing God’s work with the people of Trinity.
Pastor Mortenson is married to Sheri, and they have three grown children and three grandchildren and counting!
Ways You Can Help
Here are ways you can help as we enter our interim ministry and move through this season of change…
Commit to the Gospel by faithful participation in worship, learning, and fellowship activities
Recognize God at work in our congregation and share a heart of gratitude
Share your talents and time; look for ways you can serve
Support the ministry of the congregation through monetary gifts
Affirm and share a positive attitude, understanding and kindness
Accept the interim pastor, uphold him in prayer and accord him love, respect and good will
Expect the interim pastor to preside at baptisms, celebrations of Holy Communion, and other rites of the church.
Pray for our congregation, pastors and lay leadership, and for God’s guiding hand as we move forward together.
I pray that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him by the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Forums August 5, 2018
Presenters: Tami Satre, Congregational Council President and Mike Toutant, Chair, Financial Health Committee.
Council Members in attendance: First Service: Kristy Casto, John Konkel. Second Service: Kristy Casto, Peggy Larson.
Handouts: Pastor Brian Mortenson Bio
Thank you for your interest in Trinity and the work that Council is currently doing in preparation for our interim ministry.
Update on Interim
Previously reported concurrence process including Bishop’s Council, Interim Minister, and Congregational Council.
At this time all paperwork is completed and the Bishop’s Council has extended a call to Pastor Brian Mortenson to serve as Intentional Interim Lead Pastor at Trinity.
Pastor Brian to begin ministry on September 1. The initial plan is for a 10 month call. That call can be adjusted (longer or shorter) as needed as agreed to by parties involved. Role to prepare for and lead through the call process. Pastor Brian will also assume all responsibilities of lead until a new lead pastor is called.
Arrangements have been made through Karla Halloin at Landmark to rent a two bedroom apartment for the Mortenson’s. Furnishings have been arranged by Deb Tackmann. We still need a washer and dryer for the unit.
Grateful to staff for serving multiple roles and assuring that the ministries move forward.
Excellent week of VBS; more than 300 students and 150 adults; concurrent event at Jabneh in Jamaica led by 11 young adults from Trinity served 100 more.
Group preparing for the mortgage retirement event on August 26.
Property Committee: Consideration of projects will be prioritized. Immediate need: Hot water heater had to be replaced at a cost of just under $10,000. Funds available for the building maintenance.
What is the schedule for the call process and why wait? Work will begin on the call process with the arrival of Pastor Brian. Through his leadership and experience, and the support of Pastor Greg Kaufmann of the NW Synod, the council will select one of the following paths to commissioning a Call Committee:
1. Commission a Transition Team soon after Pastor Brian’s arrival, followed by a Call Committee some months later.
2. Have one group serve both functions. Commission them as soon as the council and Pastor Brian feel Trinity is ready to proceed.
Once path is determined, people will be selected to serve (as shared at the July 15 forum, this will likely be by application). Anticipate that this will take approximately 9 months.
Council understands the uncertainty of pastoral transition. Deliberation of the next steps that will best serve the congregation as a whole will be thoughtful and with consideration for the many positions we have heard and will hear throughout this process. The engagement of a skilled Interim Pastor with the training that Pastor Brian has will provide us perspective and direction as we move through this process.
Regular communication will happen to keep the congregation informed as the plans unfold.
Craig Olsen, Congregational Council Treasurer, was not available for this forum date.*
We have not spent over budget, but rather have not met our budgeted income.
Entered the summer running behind anticipated revenue year over year and to meet budget.
Summer giving has been down more than expected. As noted in bulletin we are approximately $75K behind. Certainly notable. Council is working on a plan that includes consideration of expenses, increased transparency around financial health, and strategies to engage more people in Trinity’s mission.
Short term: a special offering will be taken at the August 26 worship services to help close the income gap.
Financial Health Committee reinstated this past year. Working on recommendations for short term efforts to close gap, budget considerations for 2019, and long term strategy for stewardship. Mike Toutant is chairing that committee and shared comments at the forum.
What funds are available to assist in shortfall at year end? Short term loan or reserves?
Council and staff will continue to work on the expense side while working to shore up the revenue side. While reserve funds are available, congregational giving will be encouraged to close the gap.
Revenue budget is built to cover operating expenses for the church. The church is the conduit for many ministries serving our congregation, greater community, and a global community. In this case a “special offering” will help close the gap on the revenue side to assure we can continue to support all ministries.
With the retirement of the mortgage, people have asked if they may redirect contributions originally designated for the mortgage to fund operating expenses. The “Mortgage Fund” was a “dedicated” account outside of the operating budget. Mortgage contributors received a letter in June stating that those funds would automatically be re-designated to “Building Maintenance & Improvements Fund”, another dedicated fund, unless they requested the funds be directed elsewhere. If you prefer to have
the funds reallocated to “Regular Offering” in support of operating expenses, contact Amber at the church office.
Are we realizing any savings on the compensation expense side?
The net expenses in compensation will actually be over budget by approximately $8K. While we have some savings resulting from some staff turnover and reassignments, the lead pastor/interim compensation lines will be over budget considering a transition package including vacation payout for Pastor Peter. Pastor Brian receives the compensation package budgeted for the lead pastor. Additional expenses of the interim ministry will include the temporary local housing for Pastor Brian and Sheri.
*SPECIAL NOTE FROM THE TREASURER
As noted in the bulletin this week, Trinity is experiencing a shortfall of $75,673. Overall the expenses are slightly under budget for the year, and a significant portion of the increase in expenses over last year is related to two positions that were not filled until March and April of last year. As a result, we had a savings in 2017 until these positions were filled. Although current expenses are near budget, the income is well below budget. As of the end of July, our income is at 49% of our annual budget. In prior years, we were at 53%-55% of our budget in July.
The council asks for your prayerful consideration of a “Special Offering” on August 26 to help close that gap in revenue. We look forward to celebrating God’s many blessings on August 26. Together we can bring our offerings in line with our excellent programming and mission. -Craig Olsen, Trinity Congregational Treasure
On behalf of council, we are very grateful for our pastoral team, the staff, the people of Trinity, our conversations, your support and prayers help guide our actions. We will be hosting forums once a month throughout this interim. Stay tuned for dates. Working together with God at the center, we have opportunity to continue providing positive and life changing ministries.
Serving in Christ,
Tami Satre Congregational Council President
June 26, 2018
Where are we at, and how did we get here?
In January of 2018, Pastor Peter began to meet with a mutual ministry team, with the team’s goal being the support and encouragement of Peter in his ministry. Current and past council presidents were a part of this team which met with him multiple times over a period of several months this winter and spring. This winter and spring, Pastor Peter entered into deeper conversation with Bishop Rick Hoyme and the NW Synod of Wisconsin staff for support and discernment about his leadership role at Trinity. In late spring, he brought the Associate Pastors of Trinity into these discerning conversations.
After this period of discernment, Pastor Peter presented a letter of resignation to Executive and Council leadership the week of June 12, and the resignation was accepted. The following congregational letter went out to all Trinity members on June 13: Congregation Letter
June 24 was Pastor Peter’s last Sunday leading worship, and he was the preaching pastor. His sermon is available here: Sermon "Someone Looking Out For You". On that Sunday, we gave thanks for Pastor Peter’s service and for sharing his talents with Trinity over the last two years and lifted both he and his family in prayer. A reception was held for him in the Trinity Room following both worship services.
Currently, Trinity Council is working with the Synod office to appoint an Interim Lead Pastor. In the meantime, council leadership has worked with our Associate Pastors to ensure ministry coverage for the immediate future.
The Trinity Council invites you to forums after worship services on July 15 and August 5 at which they will update the congregation on the process and invite conversation and questions. Please look for regular updates on this page, in the weekly worship announcement page, on Facebook, and in Trinity’s newsletter.