Please join us Sunday afternoon, August 21, for a very special event in the life of St. Mark’s as we gather for the rite of installation of our new pastor, the Rev. Kelley Ketcham. The service, which begins at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary, is the culmination of three years of prayerful work and a day of great celebration for all.
Special guests include the Rev. Robin Simpson Litton, assistant to the bishop for leadership, who will preside over the service, and Bishop William Gohl Jr., leader of the Delaware-Maryland Synod, who will bring the sermon.
The St. Mark’s choir and “Souls on Fire” band will participate, along with guest musicians Maria Rusu (violin) and Genevieve Hahn (flute), led by John Lasher, director of music and worship arts.
Pastor Kelley wrote a wonderful description of the significance of this gathering for our newsletter, The Lion. We include that here for your benefit:
“During the rite of installation, I will make promises: To commit myself to this responsibility; to preach and teach in accordance with the confessions of the church and the constitution of the ELCA; to be diligent in my study of scriptures and the use of the means of grace; to love, serve and pray for you; to nourish you with the word and sacraments; to lead you by my own example; and give faithful witness to the world.
“This is a pretty daunting task and it is one that I’m sure I will fail more often than I uphold. And so my response to each of these questions will be: ‘I will, and I ask God to help me’ because it will only be with God’s help that I can faithfully carry out these promises.
“But I am not the only one that will make promises in this service. You, the people of St. Mark’s, will also be asked to receive me into this community, to pray for me and my family, to help and honor me for my work’s sake, and in all things strive to live together with me in the peace and unity of Christ.
“I know that there also will be days when this is easier said than done for you. And so, your response will also be: ‘We will, and we ask God to help us’ because it will only be with God’s help that you will be able to faithfully carry out these promises.
“It is also important to remember that my installation as your pastor is not the end of the journey; it is the beginning of the next part. The past will not miraculously disappear now that you have called me to be your pastor, nor do I bring with myself a magic wand to wipe away all the struggles ahead of us. But what will happen is that we will work together as pastor and people to better share the Gospel with our community and our world.
“As we go forth in this journey as pastor and people together, may we remember the promises we will make to one another, and that it is only through God’s guidance, love and mercy that we will be able to uphold them.”