October 20, 2021 Update
Pastor Unseth sent a letter of response that we received on October 16. He has declined our offer. Please continue to pray for the call committee as they continue the process to find Emmanuel's next pastor.
October 3, 2021 Update
On Sunday, October 3, there was a congregational vote to extend a call to Pastor Ben Unseth. The vote passed, so now we continue to pray as he does so also to determine whether to accept our call.
Call Process from NALC
[Excerpts taken from the Call Process Manual from the NALC]
“When a pastor resigns, retires, or a congregation experiences a pastoral vacancy for some other reason, the congregational lay leadership will immediately consult with the ABME (assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism), and inform their mission district (MD) dean. (Our ABME is Pastor David Wendel from Florida and our MD Dean is Pastor Christopher Staley from St. Ansgar).
Emmanuel elected a slate of six candidates to become the Call Committee on Sunday, April 25th, 2021. A meeting took place between the Church Council, Call Committee, and Dean Staley on May 17th, 2021. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the Call process. The Council’s duty is to find emergency Pastoral care until such time as an Interim can be found. Our Lay Ministry has lined up Pastoral supply until Labor Day. At the end of the meeting, the Call Committee met separately to appoint a Chairperson and Secretary and each member was given a copy of the NALC Call Process Manual.
The next step to the process was for the Call Committee to meet with Pastor David Wendel, via a conference call. This was done on June 3rd. “During this call, the ABME will provide orientation, explanation and training for the work of the call committee.”
Today’s Congregational Workshop is the next step of the Call Process. Based on the discussion and input from today’s workshop, “the Call committee is to complete the ‘Congregational Profile.’” Once completed, this is submitted to Pastor Wendel so that our profile can be added to the “Call Process Vacancy List on the NALC website.” The Call committee will also be creating a short video about Emmanuel to submit as well. After this is completed, it is our “Wait and see” step of the process, according to Dean Staley. Average time for a call is 8 1⁄2 months after the congregational profile is submitted.
A word to the Congregation: “...the call process is a spiritual process of discernment led by the Holy Spirit. It is God’s process, not the congregation’s. It will take whatever time God intends, so there will be no rushing to judgment...Calling a pastor is not the equivalent of “hiring an employee.” It is much more relational and covenantal. Calling a pastor is much more like a marriage, and the call process more similar to finding a mate for life...Ask that all members be in regular prayer for the call committee and congregational leadership. Ask all to pray that God will be working in the heart and life of the pastor He wishes to call as your next pastor, that the pastor be open to the working of the Holy Spirit. Prayer will be as essential a part of your call process as everything the call committee does! ...the call process is about “Waiting for the Lord.” “In Psalm 27, the psalmist writes, ‘Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!’”