Pastor Emery to move in September

OSMOND — Parishioners of Immanuel Lutheran Church found out recently that Rev. Glen Emery will be leaving the congregation. Rev. Emery made the announcement during church services at Immanuel two weeks ago.

Pastor Emery moved to Osmond in December of 2013, starting out as a vicar and working alongside Rev. Gary Trowbridge. At that time, because of Rev. Trowbridge’s health issues, Emery said he was performing most pastoral duties. He was ordained in December of 2014 and officially became associate pastor, then took over duties full-time when Pastor Trowbridge died in April 2015.

Rev. Emery will become pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Fairbury in September. He explained that, in the Lutheran church, pastors are not transferred or assigned. They can either put their name on a call list if they feel it’s time for a change, or someone from another church might see them and submit their name on a call list, or the district president might even suggest they consider a change.

“So my name somehow got on their call list down there,” Pastor Emery said. It was possible that he could have declined the opportunity but, he said, “You always have to consider, does God have something else in mind for me? And it really causes you to evaluate your own skill set and decide where is it best to be used. And that’s what happened here.”

Pastor Emery said he definitely has the skills to continue to lead Immanuel, but he and his wife, Vickie, looked at what was needed in Fairbury and the skill set that he has, “and it just became pretty clear to us that God thinks that my skill set is better suited for Fairbury.”

“There wasn’t anything here that would push me away,” Rev. Emery said, but he looked at both positions and asked himself, “am I best suited for Immanuel or Grace Lutheran?”

One of the target areas for Grace Lutheran was a teacher, he noted, “and that’s who I am. That will be the primary focus for me. And of course, I’ll be preaching, but they really put the emphasis on teaching.”

As far as who will take his place at Immanuel, he said that the church body has a circuit visitor, Pastor Jerome Leckband of Foster, and it is his job to meet with the congregation to determine who will be the vacancy pastor.

“That could come from one of the pastors in our circuit,” he said, “or it could be a retired pastor who’s got the time to do it. They’re just beginning that search now. And I would imagine they would know in a few weeks.”

Rev. Emery explained that that will give him a chance to meet with the vacancy pastor, take him around to the shut-ins so they can become comfortable with him, and share some of things the church has been doing so that he is familiar with it.

Sept. 27 will be the date of Pastor Emery’s last church service here. He and Vickie have a house purchased in Fairbury, he said, but it’s a matter of getting all the paperwork in order.

Fairbury is a town of about 4,000, and Grace Lutheran has a congregation of about 760 members, “so a little bit bigger than Immanuel,” Pastor Emery said. He added that, at this time, they are more restricted than the church here, because their health district includes Lincoln. Right now, they have one service a week, but they normally have two, and they have a radio broadcast, he added.

There are some similarities in the churches, he commented. The church looks a lot like Immanuel, he said — long and narrow, and it is very traditional. However, Grace Lutheran does not have a school attached, he noted, whereas Immanuel has a preschool.

“We have loved living here in Osmond,” Pastor Emery said. “We’d just like people to know that we’ve felt their love and appreciation. What’s really amazed me more than anything is that it’s not just our church family but the community. It’s amazing how close we’ve gotten to members of the community who aren’t members of Immanuel. I think that’s small-town living. That’s been really precious for us. The love we’ve felt from everybody. We’ll miss that.”

He added, “As Lutheran school teachers, we’ve moved before, and the blessing that we have is that we have friends in many places. And this will be one of those places.”

Rev. Emery grew up just outside of Des Moines, IA, and his mother still lives there, while Vickie’s family is from Creighton. The couple has a daughter, Amanda Rose, who lives in Storm Lake, IA, and two sons, Brandon, who lives in Wichita, KS, and Nathaniel, who lives in Wasilla, AK. The couple has 10 grandchildren.

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