Dryden Area Lutheran Parish
Our Saviour – Dryden
Mark – Vermilion Bay
Pastor’s Report 2016
was a year in our parish where I can honestly say I felt the full weight of the
burden of the Office of Pastor, with tremendous concern for all our members, and
most acutely for our Board of Elders. Pastor Miller’s actions and subsequent
departure as our Associate Pastor hurt deeply. Strike the shepherd and you
scatter the sheep. Our board of elders wrestled through long and difficult
hours, forgiving with Christian love while remaining firm in doing what was best
for our parish and the Millers. It’s hard to remember that “we do not wrestle
against flesh and blood, but ... the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly
6:12). I not only gained a fresh appreciation
for the men who serve as elders, but my prayer life deepened and my time in
Scripture became richer and fuller. I am dependent on grace and Christ alone.
The future and growth of our parish is not about Koebernick, Wood, or Miller,
but rests completely in God’s hands.
Throughout 2016 the Gospel was proclaimed in our
weekly services, special events, weddings, Baptisms, and yes, funerals too. Our
youth retreat saw more Lutheran pastors in attendance and participating than
ever before as our youth explored how God re-sensitizes us to our need and His
rich supply. July’s VBS was complete with a BBQ and farm tour tractor ride at
Egli’s Sheep Farm in keeping with the ‘Barnyard Roundup’ theme; how God
continually gives to us through Jesus. Sports Camp came together for another
year salting basketball and cheerleading with the message of who Jesus is and
why He’s so important in all we do. I can’t even begin to express my awe and
appreciation for this parish and all our members who make it tick; who give of
their time, resources, and energies for the sake of the Gospel.
2016 saw a focus and growth in our Haiti mission.
For the first time in many years we now have a Mission Director. Terry Ollerhead
and his love for hands-on in mission work has guided the Haiti mission to new
places, and God has richly blessed that work. I’m excited as I anticipate God
opening up yet further mission opportunities for us.
This doesn’t mean all is peachy and that we can sit
back on our laurels; everyday brings new challenges. Our need to support one
another in Christian love and works of service continues to grow. The lengthy
prayer list in the weekly bulletin attests to our needs. Our parish continues to
need the healing balm of God’s forgiveness for us through Jesus Christ in Word
and Sacrament. I am confident that as we gather around these Gifts that God has
given us, we will be strengthened in faith toward Him and in fervent love for
each other. Many in our congregation need the reassurance of a pastoral visit or
are unable to get out like they used to. This is a very real and continuing need
in our parish; it’s not a burden, but part of the great joy of being a servant
for Jesus’ sake.
In response to the needs of
our parish, God in His mercy placed a young Vicar and his wife in our parish.
It’s a turn of events that I couldn’t have imagined. Their arrival on July 1st
was most welcome and refreshing. It is a blessing to be more connected to our
greater church body, our seminary, and to see God working in our midst to shape
and mould a future pastor for the Church. Kai’s many gifts and work here has
rejuvenated my joy in ministry, taking my thoughts away from my pain and
focusing them on where God is taking us now. Helping our seminaries in this way
is also a mission; part of our “To Know, Show, and Grow in the Love of Christ”
through which we not only give, but receive so much more in return.
I consider it a privilege and
a blessing to be your pastor and look forward to God’s plan and leading in 2017.
“To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen”
(2 Tim 4:18).
In Christ, Pastor James Wood
My name is Kai Buck. I have
been serving as Vicar at Our Saviour Lutheran Church and
Parish for the
latter half of 2016 and the first half of 2017. As a Vicar, I am a third-year
Seminarian training to be a Pastor in Lutheran Church-Canada. This means that I
have been assigned to Dryden from Concordia Lutheran Seminary to work closely
with and to serve Our Saviour Lutheran Parish for the greater purpose of being
formed into a servant for Jesus’ sake.
is a great deal of activity in both the Dryden and Vermilion Bay congregations.
This means that there is always something that requires the attention of either
the Pastor or myself as I serve in this parish. I serve the needs of the parish
as they arise. Thus far in my Vicarage I have been taking part in regular
services in both the Dryden congregation and the Vermilion Bay congregation.
Usually this involves either preaching or leading liturgy, but there are also
times where I do both. This includes midweek services in both Advent and Lent
and funerals. Recently Pastor Wood and I have begun working so that we can split
a Sunday so that both congregations have a regular Bible Study lead by either
the Pastor or the Vicar. Regular Confirmation classes are also taught in Dryden.
I have been given the opportunity to teach a number of these classes myself and
this will continue until April when the class ends.
I have also been involved in the youth events in the
congregation. Most recently Dryden hosted its annual youth retreat for Lutheran
churches in the greater Dryden area and also Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. I was
given the opportunity to lead one of the presentation sessions.
I spoke to the youth on the Lutheran
understanding of “Sola
Gratia” or “Grace alone.”
Overall, opportunities for service continue to
arise and I am keen to continue serving Our Saviour Lutheran Parish until my
time here comes to an end. It has been a great blessing to come to know and love
the people in Dryden and Vermilion Bay and I hope to continue to build on these
relationships in my time here. Working with Pastor Wood has also been a great
blessing as he is an excellent mentor and a highly capable teacher. So far my
time here has served to form me for a future in the Pastoral ministry and it is
my goal to continue to learn and to serve here for the remainder of this
Vicar Kai Buck