A Journey Toward a Brighter Future
The Story of Joint Ministry
Beginning in January of 2010, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and Asbury United Methodist Church began exploring what it would mean to enter into a formal arrangement to share pastoral services between our two congregations. Building upon the ecumenical sharing agreement between our two parent organizations (the United Methodist Church – UMC, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America –ELCA), Our Redeemer’s and Asbury’s joint ministry agreement has both solidified the future for our two congregations and created new opportunities for mission and ministry. Together, the two churches will share not only a full-time clergy person but also seek to accomplish far more than they could apart.
Each of these congregations has a storied history of involvement and commitment in the Columbia Gorge area.
- Our Redeemer – just having celebrated its 50-year anniversary last summer – has long been a place that has supported such local outreach organizations as the FISH food bank, the Sunrise Organization and most recently AmeriCorps workers in our area.
- Asbury – a presence in Hood River for over 125 years – has also strongly supported the FISH food bank in addition to its regular commitments to advocate for the “least of these” within our midst including standing with those of Japanese decent after WWII when such actions were not a popular thing to do.
In addition to these activities and ministries, each congregation has been, and continue to be, a place where God’s light and love can be seen, felt and heard by their members and the community alike.
The two churches remain separate in identity but will share one full-time clergy person and join together in many ministry functions. The Joint Ministry Covenant states that “no changes in the organizational structure and process of the participating congregations, except that in parallel administrative structures, are linked for joint functions.”
The Rev. Andrew Wendle assumed the full-time clergy position serving both congregations effective July 1, 2011.
Therefore, it is with great excitement that we now move forward to see how the Spirit will lead us into this new day. We do not know exactly what that will be or how it will look but together, as Lutherans, United Methodists, and hopefully many others, we know that God’s promises will be as real tomorrow as they have been in our past.
We invite you to journey with us as we go forward!
We are not just called to be candles. Candles make for nice Christmas
services and for a nice peace vigil. They can remind us that God’s light
dwells within us and that we are to shine that light in this dark world.
But we are not just called to be candles. We are called to be fire. Candles
can be snuffed out by the slightest wind or by the smallest child on their
birthday. But it’s harder to put out a fire. We are to be fire, to weave our
lives together so that the Spirit’s inferno of love spreads across the earth.