from our former Pastor Joe:
Dear Members of Clearwater Lutheran Parish,
It has been a great privilege and joy to serve as your pastor. Today was a very emotional day for me and my family. While I look forward to serving my new parish in Clara City, I want you all to know that we deeply appreciate the love, friendship, and unity in Christ that we have shared together.
I vividly remember the snowstorm that hit us while we were moving up to Clearwater back at the end of November 2001. Finally getting off the highways that were “closed” due to the blizzard, only to see a sign north of Erskine that warned us to beware the Moose! When we arrived all had been unpacked and dinner was ready. Mabel Hofstad greeted me with “Snakker du norsk?” And her delightful laugh when I replied, “Ja, jeg snakker litt.”
The years have flown by. We arrived with five children and doubled that while we lived here. We’ve been through many joys and tragedies together. And God has kept us steadfast in His Word and Sacrament.
We know that our life here is but temporary. And we thank our Lord Jesus Christ that He came down from His throne of Glory to serve us with His life, sufferings, death, and resurrection.
Clearwater is a big parish, spread over a huge area, with several congregations and many members. It is a parish that no pastor can serve efficiently or thoroughly the way he knows he should. I thank you for your patience and understanding over the years, for your kindnesses and support–both spiritually, emotionally, and materially.
Now you need to weather a vacancy while praying that God send you a shepherd to tend the flock. Please keep the vacancy pastors, Pr. Mark Faugstad, and Pr. Nick Proksch in your prayers. They already each have two congregations that they serve in their own calls. Please do what you can to help them serve you during this vacancy. And even though the service times are not what you’ve been accustomed to during the past 14 years, please make it a point to maintain good attendance during the vacancy. They are coming to serve you with the Gospel of repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, nurturing you with the Word and Sacrament until the time God provides a new pastor for you.
Please keep the pastor or pastors in your prayers to whom you have extended the Divine Call to serve you with Word and Sacrament. Do not grow discouraged on account of time. And do not grow discouraged if the called servant should decide not to accept the call you have extended.
And, God willing, the pastor accepts the call to serve you, keep him and his family in your prayers. I am confident that you will treat him and his family with all the honor, love, and kindness that you have shown to us. Attend services, grow in the grace of God in Christ. Hear the Law and Gospel. Bring your sin to the altar of Christ and receive His forgiveness, grace, and eternal life.
Today you showered us with many gifts, so many we cannot adequately give thanks to each of you. We were overwhelmed not only by this but also by the many neighbors who came from near and far to be here today.
We have both grief at leaving and great gratitude for the bonds Christ has built between us over the years through His Word and Sacrament in this short time we have had together.
God’s Word is our great heritage,
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way;
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure,
Throughout all generations.
God bless you all,
With all our love,
Pastor Abrahamson and Family