What St. Luke’s meant to me My name is Jessica Palys. I am an ordained UCC minister and solo pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Hastings, Nebraska. I served St. Luke’s during the 2012-2013 school year as a student at Chicago Theological Seminary – part of an intern team of four!
As the Diaconal Intern at St. Luke’s for the 2016-2017 school year, I inhabited a role that was largely created on-the-fly. At the start of my internship, many members of the community would come up to me and ask, “So, what exactly does a Diaconal Intern do?” And I would answer them honestly by saying,
There are more than a few pearls of wit and wisdom that have gone forth from the mouth of Pastor Erik Christensen over the years, and certainly quite a few that I was blessed to be present for during my time in Logan Square, but as I reflect on my time serving with the faithful
Often, when I take a breath before my sermon, I recall the calm that first came over me when preaching at St. Luke’s sometime ago the first time I realized without a doubt this is what I am supposed to be doing.
“Holding hands, looking in the face of your neighbor and speaking the benediction describe a tradition that could only have emerged from a community deeply committed to and invested in each other.”
“Maybe most importantly, I learned that I could be a pastor while remaining who I am—that faith and real life can come together, both in church and in me.”
“Pastor Erik once told me it didn’t matter where we went, God would always be there making God’s self known in the people we serve. I realize the truth of these words every day.”
But suffice it to say, my séjour with St. Luke’s is holy to me – not just as the place where I first ‘practiced’ being a pastor, but as a community which gave me full openness and full trust and full blessing – fully acknowledging my gifts to ministry, and fortifying my soul in ways that have sustained me through many a danger, toil, and snare.
Our God is not impartial to our struggles and anxieties, or unsympathetic to our insecurities and fears. Our God understands that our prayers and words don’t always express everything we feel, or encapsulate everything we want to say. …