By Vicar Jonathan Petzold

Dear St. Luke Family,

Happy Thanksgiving! We certainly have much to be thankful for this fall, not the least of which is the continued encouragement and support we have received from you and others as we continue on this seminary journey.

I started my vicarage year in August, serving at Messiah Lutheran Church in Clio, Michigan.  It is definitely a change of pace from the academic life of seminary, but the new experiences have been very rewarding and formative so far.

I am learning so much as I dive into the life of pastoral ministry. I have the opportunity to practice my preaching skills with regular sermons. I get energized teaching confirmation and I love leading the adult Bible study. I get to bring Jesus when I make hospital and home visits.

I get to bring Jesus when I make hospital and home visits.

I get a little dizzy coordinating events for Jr. and Sr. High youth groups! It all keeps me busy, but there is nothing I would rather be doing!

I am blessed to have such a supportive environment in which to learn and grow as a future pastor. One of the events I coordinated here at Messiah was their annual Trunk or Treat, which drew over 1,500 members of our community this October.

It was a very busy night, with decorated trunks and candy, a packed parking lot, a bouncy house, hot dogs, caramel apples, donuts, cider, and other fun fall activities and games.

The weather was perfect, and everyone had a lot of fun! Our family dressed up as some of our favorite Star Wars’ characters. Our daughter, Chari, made an adorable Princess Leia. She enjoyed the evening and helped her Mom hand out candy to the other kids.

Last month we celebrated Chari’s’ first birthday! We are blessed to have a vicarage assignment that is only 80 miles from our hometown, so we enjoyed being able to throw a birthday party for Chari and have our family and friends close enough to attend.10604553_4666644920428_7219425018709104333_o

She thoroughly enjoyed her cake, but was only interested in the icing. Smart girl! It has been such a joy to watch her grow over this past year. She is communicating more and more, says several words, waves hi and bye, gets into everything, and is very outgoing.

She loves people, but especially babies and other kids her age. She could be walking any day now, but we are still waiting on those first unassisted steps!

2014-10-16 16.52.04As we enter Advent, we anticipate the Christmas incarnation of the Messiah just as our Old Testament brothers and sisters did, and we look forward to the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of His promises of the resurrection and New Creation. We are a people of certain promise.

We are a people of certain promise.

We look back at the certaiity of the Messiah’s incarnation, His death, and His resurrection. We look forward to the fulfillment of the promises our Messiah has already won. The very promises we look forward to are the ones rooted in the work Christ has already done.

We find our identity rooted in the past and promised in the future. I love that I get to proclaim the gospel of that certain promise in my professional vocation!

I consider it a wonderful gift that the church is supporting and training me to do that. Whatever our Master calls us to do, whoever our Master calls us to be, whether at work or at home, is for the sake of that certain promise!

Whatever our Master calls us to do, whoever our Master calls us to be, whether at work or at home, is for the sake of that certain promise!

Although we are away from the seminary this year, we still appreciate and are grateful for your generousity and prayers! There are still tuition expenses during vicarage year, but your support enables us to focus on the ministry we are doing here instead of on financial obstacles.

God is using you to bless us and others in the church in a very real way! In a time of year when we focus on gratitude and His certain promises, we praise God that He cares for His people and His church, ultimately through the death and resurrection of His Son.

We are thankful for your generous support! You are in our thoughts and prayers!

God’s blessings!

Vicar Jonathan Petzold and Family