By Pastor Manda
This month, CGS will begin renting out its parsonage again. When Carden left in January it was the next step we had planned in repurposing our property usage. This vision and strategy began back in 2016 when we articulated our mission to Proclaim, Welcome, and Serve and chose to direct all our energies and resources to that mission. No longer was the primary purpose of our property to be an income generator, we were choosing to use it as a tool for mission.
So I want to take a moment to show you what it means to rent out our parsonage to a seminary intern.
As you’ll see in the video above, PLTS (Pacific Lutheran Theological School) is a seminary that is charged with the education of the future leaders of our Church. Some of the ways that they do this are obvious, through classroom education and theoretical instruction. But we all know that theory needs practice.
So seminaries partner with candidacy committees, other institutions, synods, and congregations to provide a contextual education. When future rostered leaders need practice in pastoral care, they partner with other institutions to do Clinical Pastoral Education. When students need practice in an area of specialty, often the candidacy committees and synods help to connect them with an organization that is already doing that work.
Likewise, before we send future pastors to their first call, they spend one year in a congregation learning, practicing, and discerning. This arrangement is called internship and is usually a partnership between the intern (future pastor), the seminary, and a congregation.
Unfortunately, for our LGBTQ+ seminarians, there aren’t always a plethora of congregations that are willing to have them as an intern because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This makes preparation difficult and is one of the many roadblocks the ELCA has to raising up LGBTQ+ leaders.
Fortunately, Advent Lutheran Church in Morgan Hill is delighted to have an LGBTQ+ intern and that is why Brandon was able to find an internship site in them – close to where his fiancée David lives and works.
The only hitch is that Advent and PLTS couldn’t find housing for the internship year. That’s not surprising because a lot of people have a hard time finding affordable housing in the Bay Area. When the council learned of this, we wondered if this might not be a way that we could fulfill our mission.
By partnering with Advent Lutheran and PLTS we are making it possible for future pastors to be trained and equipped. Specifically, pastors who have been historically marginalized. It means that for the next year we’ll mostly be giving and not receiving wealth. But it’s also not a completely negative financial equation. Between Advent Lutheran and Brandon & David, we’ll be receiving about $1,400 each month. This will cover our expenses for the house and its associated needs.
More importantly, we’re fulfilling the mission that we said we were called to: to proclaim God’s love to all – and specifically that all are worthy of proclaiming! We’re welcoming all – especially those who find it difficult to answer the call to ministry in the current state of the ELCA and Bay Area. And of course, we’re serving – giving of our time, our possessions, and our resources more than we’re asking in return.
So many people have already given of themselves to welcome Brandon & David and partner with Advent & PLTS. I don’t even know everyone who has contributed but I do know that without the leadership of Joe Shackelford and Theo Olson, it would never have happened. I hope that as the guys settle in this summer and become our neighbors that you’ll do neighborly things like drop off food, send a card, or wave hello from the parking lot.
I give thanks to God that I can be a part of a faith community that answered this call when it arose. It gives me hope that in the face of division and adversity, our future can be full of generosity and the grace of God.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.