We’re in for a change!
After serving Mt Zion for over seven years, Pastors Deb and Steve Ohrtman have announced their retirement from ministry, and their last Sunday in the pulpit will be January 21, 2018. We congratulate them on their long careers as pastors, we share their joy as they look forward to spending more time with their grandchildren and traveling, and we rejoice thankfully for all the improvements that occurred at Mt Zion during their time with us:
We refinanced our mortgage, reducing our monthly payments from $26k to $7k, which greatly improved our financial stability.
We remodeled our classrooms and implemented a Rotation Sunday School, which is more fun for the kids and teachers alike.
We added an audio/visual system to our worship, installed air conditioning in our sanctuary, installed an LED sign out front, updated our website, and established a social media presence on Facebook — all of which are key features of a 21st century church.
We expanded our Tosa Cares distribution days to use more of the church space and address more of the needs of our clients, including clothing, personal care items, health care consulting, and one-on-one interaction. We also improved our presence in our neighborhood by starting a Live Nativity, repairing our bell tower, doing service projects for Operation InAsMuch, and working together with the Korean and Latvian churches.
Other improvements to our building included new tables and chairs in the Gathering Space, new stove and refrigerator in the Fellowship Hall’s kitchen, and new energy-efficient doors on the south side.
We have a strong congregation with involved members who keep all our ministries going, and now we look forward to welcoming a new pastor to guide us on our faith journey. The Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA has a well-defined process for this transition. After a few weeks of guest preachers, we will receive an interim pastor, who will serve us for some months while we work on calling a new, permanent pastor.
This call process will begin with Mission Exploration Teams (METs), small groups of Mt Zion members who inventory our strengths, weaknesses, and needs. Their reports will be provided to a formal call committee, who will work with the synod to prepare a list of compatible pastors, interview the candidates, and eventually propose one for congregational approval.
The process is long and involved, but we are blessed with a dedicated leadership board and a caring congregation, and we look forward to the great things Mt Zion will do! We continue to pray, waiting on God to bless with exactly the pastor we need at just the right time for us and them.