Dear Trinity Southlake,
Greetings! I am so happy to be joining your community as associate pastor and am beyond excited about the opportunities to do ministry together and to discover where God is leading us in this time and place. I am eager to learn what you are passionate about, where you see God in your lives, and what your hopes are for the future. In this new and strange time for the church in the age of coronavirus, I may not be able to meet all of you right away face to face, but know that you are in my prayers and that I will be working diligently to keep the mission of the church on track. I am particularly optimistic about the ways we can creatively engage Christian education and discipleship during this time and will be looking for your input into this as well.
In lieu of a more in-person introduction, a little about myself. I originally grew up in various communities in South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota and attended high school in Hastings, MN. I graduated from Yale University with a degree in religious studies (with a concentration in African studies), and during this time directed a prison tutoring program, participated in the leadership of several campus ministries, and served as a crisis counselor. After college, I joined Teach for America and taught high school math for four years at Crazy Horse School on the Pine Ridge reservation of South Dakota. During this time, I also worked as a park ranger at Badlands National Park and led a tribal youth internship program, which included many of my own students. These were very formative years for me and they eventually led me to a call to ministry. I entered the pastoral candidacy process with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and completed my Master of Divinity studies at the University of Chicago Divinity School. The ELCA requires all candidates to complete a one year pastoral internship in addition to their studies and I was chosen to do mine in Geneva, Switzerland. I served as a pastoral intern at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva and helped coordinate morning worship at the Lutheran World Federation and with the World Council of Churches.
After internship, I was assigned to the DFW area for my first call in the ELCA and to be nearer to my girlfriend, Sarah, who is also an ELCA pastor. She currently serves Faith Lutheran Church in Flower Mound, TX. Due to a lack of openings in the ELCA, however, I was given special permission by my synod and Grace Presbytery to interview with PC(USA) churches, as we are ecumenical partners. I am so thrilled at this opportunity to join the Trinity community in this unique and exciting way and to engage and explore our ecumenical partnership in all its richness. In my free time you might find me reading, hiking, or watching Minnesota Twins baseball (or currently re-runs of past games – I miss baseball season!).
You will certainly be hearing more from me about the ways we can continue to engage ministry together in these new and unusual times. But in the meantime, I am so happy to be here and am grateful to Pastor Tim and the call committee for the wonderful welcome they have already shown me. I very much look forward to the day we can meet together in person!
Pastor Josh Menke