Shepherd of the Woods has had a long history of encouraging and equipping individuals for ministry. Over the years we’ve been host to many vicars who were preparing to serve as a pastor in a church. Candidates are generally 3 or 4 years into their master’s degree program at a seminary and require one year in a congregational setting, as a Vicar, prior to being approved to serve as a pastor. This is a crucial year when practical application is applied to their years of study and learning. They are, in essence, on internship.
With the blessing of our current and previous Vision for Mission funds we were hoping to return one day to being a vicarage site. With 4 pastors it wasn’t something we were actively pursuing, but did inquire about the process and future opportunities. We were informed a vicar would not likely be available until 2025 or even 2026. In our discussion with the national church office and the General Secretary, we were asked if we would consider fulfilling a need.There is a young man who has completed his degree work (M.Div) and is currently at a vicarage location in Tennessee through Easter 2024. He is in the Army Reserves with his home base being in Augusta, GA. He is seeking military endorsement to become an Army Chaplain. This requires 2 years of parish experience before he can be endorsed by the Army. We were asked to consider providing a few months of vicarage for him followed by a one year “contract term call”. We would be the ordaining congregation. Once that is completed, he can then be endorsed into the chaplaincy program and serve our Lord and our country offering Word and Sacrament to those serving on our behalf for years to come.The council has been working through this invitation to serve the national church and support those serving in the Army. While there have been phone calls and emails, conversations have led us to invite him for a site visit.
This is an opportunity for him to meet us and for us to meet him in person. This site visit will occur the weekend of January 13th & 14th, 2024 where he will be at all three worship services. I hope you will plan to join us in worship and welcome him in our midst. We are excited to see where God will lead. Please continue to keep this in your prayers.