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Goodbye from Pastoral Intern Elle Dowd

It is hard to believe that my internship year with St. Luke’s is coming to an end. Even before my start date, I knew that St. Luke’s was a special place. Your history, your support of students, your connections with the community, and your public witness have made you well-known within seminary circles and beyond. I was excited to get to know you, to discover more about my own sense of pastoral call, and to learn more about God and the world that God loves through our encounters with one another and the divine.

As I reflect back on the past year there are a lot of highlights. Every time that one of my colleagues asked, “How is internship going,” I would answer sincerely, “It is a dream come true.” St. Luke’s has given me the space to try out a lot of new things and to push myself to develop skills in a new way.  I am especially proud of partnering with you all during the Children’s Sermons series in Advent where several of you humored me by dressing up as various Biblical characters, helping us prepare for the birth of Christ in our own hearts by making old stories come alive in new ways. I was impressed by the way that St. Luke’s pivoted to online worship in the middle of one of the busiest times of the liturgical calendar, and pulled off some of the most creative Holy Week and Triduum worship I have ever been a part of. Somehow we were able to shift to a virtual Palm Sunday processional, venerate the cross by remembering the crucified in our midst, partner with the Logan Square Ecumenical Alliance to raise $5,000 during Holy Week with the #DecarcerateChrist campaign, and finish up with some silly, beautiful, strange mini-films interpreting the history of God’s salvation story at the Easter Vigil. I am also appreciative of the ways that St. Luke’s leaders have taken risks this year, including the members of the Public Faith team who have dug deep to uncover their own stake in justice work and develop their organizing skills in a time where it is harder – but perhaps more important – than ever. And I am excited about the new chapter that St. Luke’s is pursuing in regards to the location transition process. 

This year also had some challenges and surprises. When picturing what this year might be like, I did not predict a global pandemic. I did not write “video-editing worship” in my internship goals. I did not expect over a third of our time together to happen mostly online. In the midst of all of this, I am grateful to be with a congregation that cares deeply for one another and has courageous, innovative leadership.

More than anything, I feel gratitude to all of you for the support and care you have given me this year. I want to thank my internship committee for all the ways you invested in me as a person and as a pastor. You helped me feel known and appreciated. You advocated for me in a complicated candidacy system and loved me fiercely through it all.  I am also especially grateful for the staff of St. Luke’s. I have loved every moment of collaborating with each of you. Pastor Erin, you embody much of what I hope to be as a pastor. And at the same time, you have helped me discern what ways it looks like for me to be a pastor in my own way. Each member and friend of St. Luke’s, each family, each relationship, each interaction has left a mark on me. No matter where my future takes me, I will carry St. Luke’s with me in my heart.

I am praying for you and look forward to seeing the ways God will be at work at St. Luke’s.

In gratitude,

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