In Touch – March 14, 2014
Posted on March 14, 2014 by under Touché,

Re: He’s My Pastor

Steve Dambra started at the Beacon Reformed Church last Sunday.  Monday night he was called to the hospital and the bedside of a member who had been taken to the emergency room.  As he walked into the room the guy looked at Steve and introduced him to the doctor saying: “He’s my pastor.”  Steve said to me: “That was really cool.”  I shared his joy for the start of this sacred relationship and all that the word “pastor” implies.

The Classis of Mid-Hudson did not want Steve to be called pastor until his commissioned pastor process is done.  He is technically a “preaching elder” at Beacon, but he was welcomed by the sign in front with the words: “Welcome Pastor Steve and his wife Jane.”  Pastor comes not as a title, but as a relationship between a church and its leader.

It is a relationship that I especially appreciate in this season of my life.  As we introduced the confirmands last week, I looked at three kids I had baptized as infants, Kayla Praino, Matt Warner, and Tyler Reschke, now getting ready to profess their faith.  I am the only Senior Pastor they have known.  This Sunday we will baptize William Christopher Cassaro at Gatherings.  Chris, his dad, was in one of the first confirmation groups I led at Hopewell, and I married Chris and Marlene about three years ago.  At Foundations we will baptize Michael Kyle Zingel.  He was born in August, a year after we buried his sister Emma. She died after a struggle that began in the womb and continued as she was born premature with too many challenges to survive.  A few years before that I was pastor at the wedding of Michael and Emma’s parents, Rich and Sarah (Barlow) Zingel.  Michael’s grandfather, David, will be the elder that leads the congregation in baptizing his grandson.  Being called Pastor for a while has allowed me to share in so many of these life-transforming moments.

Fifteen years into the relationship as pastor of this congregation, I rejoice as Steve concludes his first week as pastor at Beacon.  Whatever the classis wants him called, a church wants to call a pastor to be there at bedside and graveside, at weddings and baptisms.  It is a privilege that is humbling and profound.  I rejoice with him and I thank you for allowing me to be connected in this relationship as together we journey this life of faith, hope and love.

In Him,