Bishop – Installing new pastor brings ‘great joy’

Rev. Erick Thompson talks with children about Advent during the Sunday, Dec. 9, service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. (Patrick Fisher Photo)

In a ceremony that brought "great joy," Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New Prague had its new minister installed.

Bishop Ann Svennungsen of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) performed the ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 9, installing Rev. Erick Thompson.

"One of the great joys of my ministry is installing pastors in congregations," said Bishop Svennungsen. "The mood is celebrative; and people are looking to the future with great optimism. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church has done much good work in self-evaluation and the calling of Pastor Erick Thompson. I look forward to our partnership in the Gospel."

During the service, Rev. Thompson called the children in the church forward. He quickly quizzed them on Advent before lighting the second candle of the season. Svennungsen, the first female bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod, gave the sermon. She pointed out how a person is associated with an event, such as Martin Luther King Jr. with the civil rights movement. She said that John the Baptist is connected with Advent, the time before Christmas. He had a message to convey that Jesus was coming.

"His sole purpose was to point to Jesus," said Svennungsen. She added that Pastor Thompson is to point to Jesus and to the life people are striving to live. "Sometimes we may stand out a bit, we may look a little foolish pointing out Christ, but Christ is the one who brings life to the world."

Svennungsen performed the installation ceremony of Thompson. Assisting her briefly was Church Council President Bret Cardwell. The church had put forth a pastoral call earlier this year. Thompson answered it and began his ministry at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in October.