We’ve all heard it said that it’s a small world. But sometimes the world is smaller than at others. This was the case at our recent Northwest Washington Synod Assembly.
When visitors from our sister synod in European Russia were introduced to the assembly, I leaned over to Voting Member Ardis Pilz and said, “I think I had the two of them as students when I taught at the seminary in St. Petersburg in 2003.” I went home that evening and pulled out my scrap book. Was I ever surprised! The woman of the two-person delegation was not a student in the class; she was my translator for the entire two weeks that I spent there.
Here’s what I wrote about beneath her picture in my scrapbook:
Nothing could have been accomplished without the capable and selfless work of this woman, my translator, Lena. She was by my side for every moment of teaching and worship, and came to my aid in many social occasions as well. Her command of the English language, its idioms and complex theological terms, was amazing. Her work for me during these days in Russia helped me see in a powerful way the importance of a pastor’s work as a translator of the Gospel. Just as I depended on her for every word, so I have come to believe that many depend on the clergy for translation and interpretation of the Scriptures. Awesome, humbling task!
The next day at Synod Assembly, it was a moving experience to reconnect and to share these wonderful memories of time shared in serving the same God, but miles and cultures apart.
It was even more moving to hear the young Bishop Dietrich Brauer tell the story of the Lutheran Church’s growth across the vast territory that he serves. It was difficult to hear of how the Lutheran Church is suffering in poverty and, particularly, how many of its pastors serve for little or no pay. They are simply following Christ’s call to serve.
Then came the zinger—and the idea!
A solid paycheck for a pastor in Russia is 200 American dollars per month.
Our little group of Phinney folks looked at one another and all thought out loud: “We can do this. We can help. We must help.”
If 20 Phinney families (or more!) would commit $10 a month for one year, we could pay a pastor in our sister synod. Most all of us at the tables that day exclaimed, “I’m in! And we think lots of other folks at PRLC will be in, too!”
After discussing this with church council, we decided to put it in front of you and see if you’d like to participate. You can pay the $10 monthly via the offering or add it to your Simply Giving. Or, you can simply pay the $120 in a one-time payment. You decide. Actually, any contribution amount toward the project would be welcome.
There will be a table and some information along with a sign up sheet during several Sundays this summer. Or you can simply contact me, and I’ll get you all set up. Best way is by phone (206.783.2350) or e-mail (email@example.com).
Many thanks, in advance, for your loving support of those who need a helping hand. We’ve all heard it said that it’s a small world. But sometimes the world is smaller than at others.
Peace in Christ,