Monday, July 31, 2017
My 52-week service as the vicar, the intern pastor, of Hanover is now completed. There is so much I have learned, and there is so much I that has shaped me through this ministry experience. Much of it is done through the shadowing under my pastoral supervisor, the pastor of Hanover. Yet, at the same time, the people of the congregation also provide care and support as I serve them with the help of God. I could tell of all the fun and amazing things I have been a part of at Hanover, but I think you can get the idea through one example. That one example would be the Monday night Bible study.
On Monday nights during the school year we explored the Book of Acts. It finished off with a Kahoot. While eating chicken, snacks, and desert, the class used their cell phones to submit their answers with a fun online quizzing program called Kahoot. Pastor created a questionnaire from the slides presented in the Bible study, and for the last class, everyone at the same time was able to participate and submit their answer to each question. They all answered very well. The competition was tight to the end.
The whole journey of studying the Book of Acts has been quite captivating. There are so many interesting things in the book. All the people Peter and Paul met along the way and all the places he went to, he had so many amazing stories to share. We enjoyed hearing how God used this power to use people from all different kinds of back grounds to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. He used them in ways we would never have thought on our own.
When we were planning our Book of Acts Bible study, Pastor and I were trying to figure out, how to get through 28 chapters in the time of one school year. We figured we could teach about a chapter a week, but as we were unpacking each story, we found ourselves teaching each chapter over a time of two weeks. Then on the last day of lecture, we looked over ten chapters in one day just to finish the book and the Bible study.
We were also guessing about how many people were going to come to this event. Now that the class is over, we have some numbers to share. Our highest attendance was 60 people, and there have been 71 people that have attended this Bible Study. 59 of them were members, and 12 of them began as visitors. Now many of those visitors are now members, and one of them had been baptized. I’m excited to share with the seminary how this event has been a blessing to the community.
I’ll also quickly here share with you a few other things about what goes on at Hanover. There are the babies reach for communion because they want to be a part of it. There was a group of high school kids come out of a Bible study and were inspired to quickly generate a folk song about Nero. And also, I am amazed at how they love hearing the Bible stories. They enjoy learning all the stories that the Bible has to share. And even for the stories that just sound odd, they are interested in taking time to piece the story apart and understand why the author who wrote the story thought it was significant. I thank Hanover for the laughter, the heartfelt stories, and the outstanding friendship.
In August, I’ll be spending some time on the west coast with friends and family. Then I’ll go back to school for my final year. I thank you all for your support with finances, prayer and notes of appreciation. I knew this journey of becoming a pastor would be a long and intensive to prepare me for the journey that’s ahead. With a single year of school left, I’m looking forward to the things that are to come.
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” - Acts 1:8
Vicar Sylvan Finger