Bethlehem Lutheran Church and school welcomed a new pastor Sunday.
Pastor Christopher Michael Amen was ordained during a special evening service at the church, attended by about 150 people. Lutheran District Vice President Pastor Mark Kliewer, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Winnemucca, conducted the ordination.
"My goal right now is to reach out to the community," Amen said of his plans for the church, which has a congregation of about 300. "With two years without pastor (at Bethlehem Lutheran), that's kind of been lacking. I want to work with the school (Bethlehem Luther school) - we have a grade school attached to the church - to use the school to reach out to the community."
Amen, 26, graduated in May from Concordia Theological Seminary, in Fort Wayne, Ind. He grew up in Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
He was inspired to enter the ministry watching his grandfather, who was a pastor.
"He would let me come along with him when he visited people and help prepare things for services. That's what got me to thinking about that direction," he said Wednesday. "My home pastors also were very encouraging and answered a lot of questions when I was in high school, as I was thinking about it. They were very helpful in pursuit of the right education and where to go to school. They also helped me realize what the demands of the job would be, in being very realistic."
Amen and his wife, Rebecca, and son Zachary,
61⁄2 months old, arrived in Carson City late last month.
"Coming from the Midwest, things are a little different here," Amen said. "We want to become part of the community, living here and seeing where the needs are. I didn't want to come with preconceived plans or visions without knowing the actual needs."
Although Amen came with few specifics in mind, he has already seen that the church and school need to work more together.
"I want to maintain what both do well and see what they can do better together."
Ultimately, the big picture is the place of the church in the community.
"We're here to show mercy to people who are in need and figure out how best to serve the community and work with other churches and schools."
For additional information about Bethlehem Luther Church and school, contact the church office at 882-5252.