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Pastoral Vacancies

A pastoral vacancy is the term used when a congregation is without a pastor. Technically, a pastoral vacancy is when a congregation is without a “called” pastor, but this month’s newsletter is more geared towards a congregation that finds itself without any pastor at all.

Pastoral vacancies are never a pleasant time in a parish. Who will lead the service on Sunday? Who will preach and teach, and administer the Sacraments? This question needs to be asked every single week. Over time it will make any congregation weary. Imagine the child whose father leaves the family and his mother begins bringing a new date home every weekend. Transition in a Church is always difficult. Pastoral transition is also always painful. No matter how much planning a congregation might do, God’s plans are not their plans just as His ways are not their ways. With a pastoral vacancy comes much suffering. God will call a pastor through the Church in His appointed time. The congregation must be patient and trust their gracious Triune God to provide.

The pastor at St. James on the west side of town retired at the end of August. Despite efforts to call another pastor to replace him to make the transition smooth, quick, and easy, it did not come to fruition as they hoped and prayed. This is normal, by the way, but it does not mean it is easy; far from it! While St. James now seeks to get a transitional interim pastor in the meantime, such implementation takes time. For the months of September and October, St. James needs a pastor to fill their pulpit. This is where our Columbus circuit of pastors comes in. Whenever a vacancy arises, it is customary for the circuit churches to rally together and provide their pastor to serve the vacant congregation when they can. Since Zion has been blessed with a vicar, we are able to help. We still have someone to lead services here regardless of whether or not Vicar Schotte or I miss a Sunday or two.

Zion could find itself in St. James’ predicament at any time. The Lord places and removes pastors at His discretion. None of us ever know when that will be! While every congregation prays for smooth and easy transition when they find themselves vacant, every congregation should also pray for patience and perseverance. A congregation without a pastor is like a flock of sheep without a shepherd. This was what Jesus meant when he observed a great crowd gathering after going ashore: “He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things” (Mk 6:34).

Zion should also demonstrate such compassion on fellow sister churches that are without a pastor. It’s a great opportunity for us to teach “them many things” as Jesus did, such as Christian charity, hospitality, and also the encouragement of knowing their sister church cares about them. Again, it will – not could – be Zion someday.

The way Zion is going to assist our sister congregation, St. James, during this transition period is that I will fill in at St. Paul Chuckery on October 2nd so that Pastor Schlueter, who is our circuit visitor, can fill in at St. James. On October 16th, I will fill in at St. James. Vicar Schotte will lead Matins at Zion on both Sundays I am gone. While it requires you to sacrifice receiving the Sacrament of the Altar for two Sundays, your brother and sisters in Christ would otherwise have to go without the body and blood of their Savior for the forgiveness of sins at least two whole months. It’s truly a small sacrifice in comparison. Who knows what influence our love and compassion can have on a church who is seeking a new pastor. Zion has a LOT to offer!

Please keep the saints at St. James in your prayers, that God grant them wisdom and patience during the Call process, and that God would send them a faithful pastor who preach and teach the pure Gospel and rightly administer the Sacraments.

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Hromowyk

Sunday Services  8:00 AM & 10:30 AM
with Holy Communion
Midweek Services Wednesday 7:00 P.M.

Please visit our YouTube Channel or Facebook Page for links to recorded services.


Join us at OSU for LCMS-U weekly Vicar-led Bible Study!

Starting August 29th

Mondays, 4:30 - 5:30 PM

Meeting Location: Destination Ohio Room

Facebook Group is

Wednesday Night Service/Bible Study

The First Wednesday (September 7), Service, beginning at 7:00 PM, will be Divine Setting Three, with Holy Communion. On Wednesdays (Sept. 14th, 21st & 28th), the Service will be Compline, and will begin at 7:00 PM; there will be a Bible Study following the Services, in the Family Room.

Private Confession and Absolution will be available from 6:15-6:45 PM, in Pastor Hromowyk’s Office, these Wednesdays.